Consultation Communication Intelligence

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Customer service is an important skill not only for those on the practice’s reception team, but equally for all team members interacting with your clients. It is for that reason that we’ve developed the Consultation Communication Intelligence Program, a tailored customer service training program designed specifically for Veterinary professionals in-practice.

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This comprehensive, online, 6 module program will guide your Veterinary team through the fundamentals of customer service and ensure that they have the soft skills to match their clinical capabilities.

  • Downloadable notes for each module
  • Certificate of Completion
  • AVA Continuing Education Points
  • Program duration: 6 months
  • Enrolment access: 9 months

This program is eligible for 12 AVA Vet Ed points.


1. Introduction to Client Communication

Whilst patient care is obviously a priority for all veterinarians, a key factor to success is to combine good communication skills with good clinical skills. To ensure that patients receive the standard of care they deserve it is imperative to establish a relationship between the veterinarian and the client. This relationship needs to be built on trust, integrity and mutual respect – and it all starts with effective communication.

Upon successful completion of module, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the value of the pet-owner bond in client communication
  • Utilise non-verbal skills to increase communication effectiveness
  • Overcome challenging communication styles in consult
  • Identify the relationship between perceptions, expectations and service delivery
  • Understand the Calgary-Cambridge guide to the medical interview

2. Initiating the Consultation

Clients begin to form an impression of your standards of care based on the appearance of your practice and team, communication styles and how you make them feel. For that reason it is vital to master the fundamental skills required to make a great first impression.

Upon successful completion of module, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the importance of effective preparation for undertaking a consultation
  • Utilise personal recognition and acknowledgment to greet clients
  • Apply advanced questioning and listening techniques to establish and build relationships

3. Examination and Recommendations

As a veterinarian you already know how to perform a full clinical examination, but you can help your clients see the value by explaining what you are doing and why. Ask any veterinarian if they examine every patient prior to administering a vaccination and they will answer ‘yes’. Ask any owner the same question and a percentage of them will tell you ‘no’. Not because the examination wasn’t carried out but because the client was unaware that it was being done. This module will explain the importance of communication in the examination process, as well as practical tips to ensure your client feels satisfied with the consult process. Also covered in this module is how to effectively make clear recommendations to your client. The language that we use to communicate with can have a profound impact on the response we receive in return. Appropriate use of specific language to make your recommendation can result in a pet owner agreeing to proceed with your treatment plan and ensuring your patient receives the care it needs.

Upon successful completion of module, participants should be able to:

  • Guide the client through a structured consultation, using signposting techniques
  • Communicate the physical exam to ensure understanding
  • Deliver strong, clear treatment recommendations

4. Gaining Client Commitment

One of the most effective things the veterinary team can do to increase compliance is to empower the client in the decision-making process. By involving the client in decisions, you are empowering them to take control of their pet’s treatment.

Upon successful completion of module, participants should be able to:

  • Confidently discuss financial matters with clients and gain consent to proceed with treatment
  • Understand and overcome financial objections
  • Utilise alternative payment options where applicable

5. Farewells and Follow Ups

Final impressions are equally as important as first impressions in ensuring that each client leaves your practice’s care feeling valued, and of course, wanting to return time and again. This module will cover your role as veterinarian in finalising your recommendations and farewelling the client.

Upon successful completion of module, participants should be able to:

  • Deliver a clear consultation summary to the client
  • Undertake a reception handover
  • Understand the importance of forward scheduling,follow ups and progress updates
  • Answer the telephone with confidence

6. End of Life Communication and Self-Care

As a professional, helping your client manage the euthanasia and grieving process is always going to be part of your role. These interactions are pivotal in maintaining a long-term client bond and it’s important to maintain awareness not only of your own speech and actions, but also those of the grieving client. Knowing how to appropriately communicate with clients during the euthanasia process can be difficult, but this module will equip you with the skills needed to navigate these conversations, while protecting yourself from compassion fatigue.

Upon successful completion of module, participants should be able to:

  • Utilise a structured process for delivering bad news to clients
  • Recognise signs of compassion fatigue in self and others
  • Implement personal and team care strategies to minimise stress and compassion fatigue impacts

12 AV VetEd

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