February 15, 2011
Being the founder of Toa Payoh Vets, I do not wish the company to create unhappy customers. A Malay couple came in with their cat to see Dr Vanessa. I asked them to wait as she was busy in the operating room. I quickly cleared the laptop and other things of Nat on the table in the waiting room. I put their cat's cage and cat on the table to avoid another incident of Dr Vanessa's dog sniffing the cage and creating another unhappy customer.
I have to decide what to do with Dr Vanessa and her dog today. A good vet is no good if he or she creates unhappy customer. It is better to have a top team rather than a top vet if the practice is to survive and be around in the long term. I have made no decision yet but if there is a need, I will rather fire the top vet rather than create unhappy customers.
The dog was confined to the receptionist area when the door of the counter was closed. However, he again sneaked out. I noted that he was quiet and had not barked at anybody. He was confined by Dr Vanessa in a crate at the back yesterday for frightening the rabbit owner by sniffing the crate with the rabbit inside. I had to told Dr Vanessa to take him away from the waiting room. I had not specified banning of this dog from the Surgery yet as I would wait to see what she would do.
I presume that the Malay couple would prefer a cat's clinic but there is none in Singapore. The man went outside to answer his phone call. The lady sat at the corner of the waiting area where the table with her cat's crate is located. The cat was brought in for a spay and the couple had specified that they only wanted to consult Dr Vanessa.
Suddenly the lady shrieked. I was at the waiting room instructing my two interns what to do and teaching them some cases. I turned around and saw the dog going under the legs of this table. He did go under the table earlier when there was no people. But as Dr Vanessa opened the door to go to the back of the surgery, he followed her but now he had come out when Michelle opened the door to get to the waiting area. He must have decided to go under the table.
A few seconds more and he would have contacted the Malay lady and in her religion, this was not acceptable. As the dog wanted to bite Michelle the intern yesterday, I did not want to be heroic. I called Dr Vanessa to come out of the operating room and get the dog in. She would have heard the shrieks too.
Now, I need to decide what to do as I don't want to create unhappy customers who will go to the competitors. I will wait and see. I can see the humour of the situation but it will not be humourous to owners who are worried about their pets being "attacked" by Dr Vanessa's medium-sized dogs. Customers are what make a practice and if the founder cannot get his priority right, he deserves to lose his shirt and go bankrupt. It is not a guarantee that a veterinary surgery will be successful and be in existence if it is poorly managed and creating unhappy customers is no joke.