How Practice Manager Grace Grew Her Career
I started working at Animal Emergency Service in 2016 as the Client Care Manager for the Underwood hospital. Initially, when I applied for the role I wasn’t optimistic I would be successful, given I had no experience working with animals. I quickly learned that Animal Emergency Service is not just a team; we are a family, and true to our core values, we are all self-motivated and learn together. With no experience in the veterinary field, my work family taught me the fundamentals of understanding our procedures, enabling me to confidently talk to owners and assist them at their greatest time of need.
I soon learned that Client Care is the administrative arm of our animal hospitals and makes a massive difference to patients and pet owners experience. What I love most about my job is that no day is the same, alongside being able to work collaboratively with a group of people to achieve a goal in providing emergency care in time of need – because pets are a valued family member. I love seeing patients reunited with their families, including strays that come into our clinics we find new ‘forever’ homes for. We are a tight-knit community in Brisbane and have a number of ways of finding pet’s homes, including social media groups and local Facebook pages.
While working at the Underwood hospital, I developed a new role called the Concierge – a staff member dedicated to looking after owners and the vital connection between the owner and the pet patient. The inspiration came from being in a human hospital, where the lack of connection between the patient and the administrative team after triage was most evident. A waiting room can make the time lapse faster for anyone, so having our concierge to talk to helps anxious clients and is crucial to the success of our animal hospital. I am proud of what this has achieved for us in being able to provide an extra level of customer service that we would other wise not have had.
In 2017 we opened up our another practice at Jindalee, and I commenced the role as the Client Care Manager for the Brisbane region. During this time, I completed my Diploma of Business Administration and a Certificate III of Customer Engagement with the support of my own team and the Jindalee leadership team. I then completed a further Diploma of Leadership and Management. I’ve also been very fortunate to be able to assist our marketing department in coordinating events and functions such as the Dog Lovers Show. Blogs like this are also something I contribute to regularly, as well as writing feedback to responses we receive on our Google and Facebook customer reviews for both our Jindalee and Underwood practices. These are two very crucial parts of my role, as they impact directly on the quality of customer service as the Client Care Manager I am able to provide.
In 2018 I wanted a new challenge and started questioning what I wanted to do. Talking through my career aspirations with Animal Emergency Service’s HR Team to become a Practice Manager was the next step in my career. In December 2018 I changed roles and am currently working as the Practice Manager at our Jindalee hospital.
As a Practice Manager, it is essential to learn about each area of our business and have an understanding of the equipment used and expenses associated within a veterinary clinic. These expenses are something rarely seen from an outsider’s perspective; really making me appreciate everything we have in our clinic to ensure we are equipped for any emergency that comes through the doors. Even though I’m a Practice Manager, I still collaborate with the Brisbane Client Experience Team to put in place new initiatives to create the best experiences for our clients under any given circumstance.
Grace with Dr Alex Hynes
The people we see in our hospitals are genuine people who love their pets, and I love being there to support them in their time of need. Most recently I helped a family write a bucket list for their pet, as their fur baby only had a few weeks of precious life left and they wanted to make the final weeks very special. This also made me reflect when I went home that night about what I would do if that were my furry or feathery family members. Our pets at home belong to my daughter, and at the moment we are learning about responsible pet ownership as she want to introduce another pet into our family. We already have a Maltese Shih Tzu called Phoebe who we adopted from another family (she also has a bigger wardrobe than me!). We also have a green tree conure named Massala who we adopted through the RSPCA. Teaching my daughter to save for her pets is really important to me. I want to have the understanding that pets are a lifetime commitment and not just a purchase, with ongoing costs she also needs to prepare for.