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Where Have All the Counters Gone?

Where Have All the Counters Gone?
hand holding crumpled money here's your change

While it has become increasingly easier to pay with Debit or Credit Cards, there are still clients that pay with check and cash. There are those that still pay with checks and who seem to be able to do so as if they are having a shoot-out at the Okay Corral. You know who we’re talking about. That nice, older lady from “The Silent Generation” and “The Baby Boomer Generation” that always wants to make sure her Senior Citizen Discount is included with her invoice, but the one who gets offended when you ask her about her senior status to verify it should be included.

Inevitably, she finishes up the check just as a technician comes up from the treatment room with that last minute item the Doctor meant to include on this visit. Or, the client herself, remembers she needed to get a bag of food for fluffy while she was in. Not to worry, she’ll be back next week anyway at her scheduled, weekly visit. She can just pay for it then. Let’s face it, she just had a credit on her account anyway because we missed the senior discount last week, so carrying a balance isn’t that big of a deal for her.

Back to the subject of our story…

Where Have All the Counters Gone?

Then there are those that still pay with cash. While we personally pay larger balances with credit or debit cards, we do still pay cash from time-to-time. For example, if we stop and pick up lunch at our favorite restaurant or stop by the store to pick up a few things we forgot when we got groceries a few days ago, or even stopping at our local convenience store or Snow-Cone Stand. These are all great instances of times we use cash. *Although we have read stories of business that say they no longer accept cash, it still king in our household.

Often times, when the total bill is under about $40, we pay cash. We often pay with a twenty-dollar bill that has been kept nice and neat, and in order in our wallet or purse. However, our change is often given to us by the young cashier in a wad of bills scrunched nicely around whatever coins are included. No “thank you”, no “here’s your change”, often times there is almost no acknowledgement that we are even there. During these times, we often wonder if they could even provide the correct change if the cash register or computer didn’t tell them. If you really want to have fun, give them $10.01 when the total is $9.76. Often times, mass confusion ensues. It’s always good for a laugh. If that doesn’t do it, try paying a $13.51 bill with a twenty, four ones and a penny. :o. Change should be a ten and two quarters.

Note: that is usually not what you’ll get back.

Unfortunately, this trend is spreading and often times even business owners are just crumpling up change and shoving it into client’s hands. This is not good customer service. This is especially disturbing for those O.C.D. type people who really want their bills all facing the same way and in numerical order (by denomination not by serial number).

Veterinary receptionists should take the time to count back change for clients. It is great customer service and shows that we understand and appreciate the money they are spending in our place of business. It also doesn’t really take long to count it back. If the bill is $48.54 and someone pays with three twenties. It will really go a long way to count it back. Okay, you total was $48.54, (start with smallest denomination of coins and count it back) and fifty-five, sixty, seventy, seventy-five, forty-nine. Then you move to the bills. Fifty and one ten makes sixty. (you can just put all the loose change in and say what the dollar amount it takes you to is).

You have just counted back change and the money is in order (for those that want it this way) and there is no confusion as to whether you gave back the correct change or not. Makes it real easy if you happen to have a video camera somewhere over the counter to verify as well should someone claim you gave them the incorrect change. You also don’t have to wait for them to count it themselves and hold up whatever line now exists. It’s just a good habit to be in for a number of reasons.

Take Action

Take the time to go through scenarios with your receptionist just to make sure they know how to, and can correctly count change back to a client.

Consider providing short math tests for anyone applying for a receptionist position with your company. Setting the expectation at an early point is a great way to insure they will follow through during their employment.

Counting back change to a client will make your business stand out because so few do it these days. It’s really worth the effort.



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