S1 E1 Short On Staff Concierge Elite Has The Perfect Solution
Updated: Jan 12
Swop Cast with I Vet So Hard
Melissa Brown is the Chief of Staff for Concierge Elite, a service that provides remote staffing solutions to veterinary practices. Melissa recently spoke with I Vet So Hard podcast to discuss how her company helps clinics keep their staff levels high and provide quality animal care. Melissa discusses the challenges veterinary practices face when it comes to hiring and maintaining a strong workforce. She also talks about some of the structural issues that have led to an increase in burn out among veterinary staff, especially among receptionists.
During the interview, Melissa shared that many small veterinary clinics are struggling with staffing shortages due to high demand or limited resources. She explained that Concierge Elite is an ideal solution for these clinics as they can access highly skilled and experienced professionals without having to make a long-term commitment or invest in costly hiring processes. Melissa also shared that, during the last few years, Concierge Elite has seen a significant increase in demand for its services. We have seen a lot of growth over the last few years and it is great to see that our mission resonates with so many different people. We are committed to providing a solution that allows veterinary clinics to grow while retaining their current staff.
Furthermore, Melissa noted that Concierge Elite allows veterinarians more time for patient care by taking on administrative tasks, thus freeing up clinic staff members to focus on what matters most—providing excellent medical treatments and customer service. We are truly excited about the future of Concierge Elite, which is why we have great plans for it.
00:03 Dr. Stacee Santi Welcome to I vet So hard. Technology and workflows that really work. The Not So Serious podcast for seriously busy veterinary teams brought to you by. 00:12 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde Vet to pet listen for quick, fun interviews with veterinary professionals who have retrieved and actually held onto their sanity, happiness and success by learning a few new tricks and embracing efficient processes that act truly work. 00:26 Dr. Stacee Santi I'm Dr. Stacee Santi. 00:28 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde And I'm Dr. Caitlin De Wild. 00:30 Dr. Stacee Santi And this is I vet so hard. Hey, everybody. Welcome to this week's episode of Ivet so Hard. I am joined by my colleague, Dr. Caitlin De Wild. Hi, Caitlin. Word up. 00:44 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde How's it going? 00:45 Dr. Stacee Santi Pretty good. Today we have a very important guest. You're going to die when I tell you about Melissa Brown, she is a new friend of mine. We recently connected because I was working with a veterinarian in California that uses Melissa's company services, her company's, Concierge Elite, and I had to meet Melissa immediately. 01:11 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde Just because you needed to geek out with somebody else? 01:14 Dr. Stacee Santi Yeah. 01:15 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde You're cheating on me. What's happening here? 01:17 Dr. Stacee Santi She's our people. Let me tell you about Melissa and then we'll bring her in. Melissa Brown is the chief of staff for Concierge Elite. Her educational background includes a Master of Arts degree in Business Management with a specialization in Human Resources. She has several certifications in remote staffing, which we love, adult education, which we love, and training development, which we love. Melissa has over 20 years experience sharing her expertise that is deeply rooted in lifelong learning and her devotion to growing and developing people. She enjoys finding creative solutions to business challenges, innovating new products and developing processes and efficiencies within organizations. In her personal time, which I don't know that she has much of, Melissa enjoys camping and planning events, so she's totally our people. Melissa, welcome to our show. 02:12 Melissa Brown Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Yes, I'm excited to be here. 02:16 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde So, Melissa, we are excited to learn more about you and what you do. Maybe tell us about how you got into the veterinary industry and how you realized there was an opportunity here. 02:30 Melissa Brown Sure. Melissa B Conciergeelite was burst out of a need and desire to staff the front desk. In training and development, we're continually hearing our practices say, well, that's great that I have staff or that I don't have staff, that I have all these extra tools and things, but I need people to manage them. My phones are ringing off the hook, but I have no one to answer them. While business was going great, pre covered, people needed help. There's always that need to find help. Pre COVID we really found this niche within the market that we could help people answer their overflow calls. We could do that remotely and we could do it just as well as they could do it in the office. From that came out of this need came this innovation of really creating this remote front desk staff. COVID hit and it redefined how we look at the industry, redefined how we look at how we staff our offices and our practices. 03:37 Melissa Brown Really that became the driving factor in what we do. It's not a temporary solution, it's a permanent solution to staffing issues within the veterinary scope as well as the other medical industries. 03:51 Dr. Stacee Santi It's so amazing. I am so excited for your business. Melissa, bravo to you for getting the inspiration to kick off your new company because I think a lot of people would say that's a great idea, but they wouldn't necessarily have the gum to go for it. So good job. 04:10 Melissa Brown Thanks. It's been a fun ride. 04:14 Dr. Stacee Santi Tell our listeners, how does it actually work? Like if I'm a veterinary practice and I'm listening to this podcast, what do I get if I sign up with Concierge Elite? 04:26 Melissa Brown Yeah, so if you don't know Conciergely, really our goal is to bridge the gap between the home and office. Really take those two factors and bridge the gap and bring that staffing together. And we do it at zero cost. That means we don't charge like a staffing agency or a hiring agency typically would. You think of that, you think of these hefty fees on top of paying the employee. So that's not us. We really can get your team member up and running in as little as 2 hours of the practices time. 2 hours. We have it down to a science. What we do is we take care of everything. We take care of that hiring for somebody, the payroll, the training, everything that you don't like doing as a practice owner, practice manager, we're going to handle for you filled for the entire time that employee works for you. 05:13 Melissa Brown And so how do we do it? Well, we have an amazing training program where we're able to train people to be medical receptionist. Again we take 2 hours of the practices time to get it set up and get the details ready and running. 05:28 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde The practices have the ability to kind of customize what they want. Let's say somebody's calling in, right? And do they have customizable phone scripts? I want my clients to get this answer right. That something that you guys build into your process? 05:46 Melissa Brown 100% customizable? We use the practices protocols, their processes, their procedures, their software. Everything is integrated. There's things that we bring to the table. Like we have certain scripts that we can use and they can choose to have use them or not. We're using your software. Our team learns hundreds of softwares. It's just one of those things where we become integrated in your practice. We do it exactly like someone who's sitting in the desk chair would do. 06:18 Dr. Stacee Santi I am still trying to get my head wrapped around this. Your people, your employees that you are bringing to the table, to the veterinary teams, your remote employee, their new best friend will know their own software. 06:33 Melissa Brown If you're using a software such as your guys'our team is already pre trained in that, we do as best as we can. Of course there's sometimes when we come in with the software we haven't heard of and that's fine, we do all the training. We dive in, our team of trainers go in, learn that software, we teach it to that employee and we get them up and running in that software. We do have a software meeting. That's one of the biggest chunks of time. It's the 1 hour that we take and that's where we really go through the practice of software, what they're using, how they use it. We've got it down to a science. We really have fine tuned what we can do in terms of training and how our teams work. 07:14 Dr. Stacee Santi How many softwares do you typically find, Melissa, that practices are using? 07:19 Melissa Brown I think there's a good five to ten softwares out there, those systems, but generally each practice has between one and three that we'll learn. That can be anything from their main practice management software, their customer service software, and then if they do anything like this, insurance, certifications or things like that, billing, taking deposits, we'll learn those as well because we want to do that. Prescription refills too. Could be another software that they potentially have if they have a pharmacy and we learn all of those. 07:55 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde We do it all super cool. What do you think, when you are working with practice, what do you think are the most common skills that they utilize your team members for? 08:07 Melissa Brown Really it's going to be answering the phone calls, booking appointments, because one of the biggest things that I hear from the front desk or in house, they would rather spend more time with the patients who are there. That's really what they're great at, right? We want to be able to allow them to spend that time with them, increase how much money that they may or may not spend while they're there, but really have that quality time with their patients. That after care, if the phone is ringing off the hook, they can't do that and they can't do it well. We take the majority of the phone calls by booking appointments, rescheduling appointments and doing that thing. From there, the second kind of things we do is reactivation calls. Clients who haven't been in a while, that's the number one thing that people never get done in a day. 08:52 Melissa Brown You just run out of time. All those people who haven't been in, who are due for vaccinations, who are due for upcoming checkups, our team can call them, remind them they have an appointment, get them on the schedule. 09:03 Dr. Stacee Santi I mean, I can't see why every veterinary practice in the United States doesn't. 09:08 Melissa Brown Use your services honestly. It really takes a huge load off, allows everybody to focus on really what's important. Prescription refills. Too that is another big time waster. We can do that. We can get in and get it done. When you hear what we charge for it, you're going to be blown away too. It's one of those things where I think the hardest thing to kind of understand is the remote. People really worry that a remote person may not fit with what they're doing. When you think about it in terms of let my team focus on the people who are here, the people, the pets that come in, and then let that team really handle all those other tasks, it really begins to make sense. That's what our customers are finding, is that once they get this in place, it's like, oh my gosh, this works. 09:58 Melissa Brown And it works amazingly. 10:02 Advert Have you heard of Vet To Pet? It's the only customizable all in one client engagement and communication platform in veterinary medicine. Vettopet's loyalty program is proven to increase practice revenue. Their robust reminders mean that practices can stop paying for multiple communication platforms. Vettopet manages it all. Visit Vet to pet, I vet so hard. That's vettopet.com I vet so hard. 10:38 Dr. Stacee Santi Too. I hear practices say things like, well, we want to have a small town feel. We want that mom and pop feel. Or Our customers would know if we had a remote employee that isn't one of us, they would not be happy. I think you have to start now asking yourself the question, how happy are they now when you can't get them in and you are short staffed? I think too, the world is a little more open minded to having remote employees even working in another country. I know I have employees working in other countries. Zoom and the Internet and the new way of the world has really opened up opportunities for us to expand our service model to be more inclusive. 11:29 Melissa Brown Yeah, I absolutely agree. We do a lot of things too to help bridge that gap. Some of those things are having those team members on the daily huddles. If they have huddles or sit in on the meetings, the weekly meetings show up via Zoom, do those types of things really be included? We send some their picture and we send a why we chose remote and we have them put their picture at the front desk so they can meet them. Because I think when our practices feel like they want to keep that small town feel, let's do it. Let's introduce them to your clients and say, listen, we hired this amazing person who's got great talent and we've made them part of our team. So welcome them. When we think of it as, oh, this is just this outside outsourced person. That's kind of the mentality that our then customers will have. 12:18 Melissa Brown Just welcoming them as part of the team really makes it inclusive. 12:24 Dr. Stacee Santi I know at my old practice, we were part of a corporation and we had a call center that was off site and they would do the reactivation calls. The problem I experienced with that is there was a whole slew of people calling my clientele and my team didn't know those callers at all. What you've done that's unique and I think so awesome is you give the practice to a dedicated person and that's their person. It's not like it could be one of ten people calling the person. I worked with Dr. Costco's practice is Christian, and he's been fabulous. So responsive on point. I can't say enough nice things about him. I think that's also a really key point here is you're getting a dedicated person. 13:19 Melissa Brown Yeah, that's absolutely right. You're getting a team member. They're not an agent. They're not a call center person that you would get. There are a team member, and that's what we like to call them and that's how we like to add them to the team. 13:33 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde What about the practices that don't have, say, a cloud based system? What are some of the workarounds for that is that I assume a slight struggle that you guys encounter. 13:44 Melissa Brown No, it's not a struggle. What we do require is a dedicated workspace for the team member, just as you would in house. If you don't have that, we also allow you to rent some equipment free of charge, actually. We'll send you a laptop and we'll have that set up in the practice. We have a technical team that will help you, and we install a software on there that allows us to access your in house software. So simple. We have really perfected this. That's why I take my background seriously, because I really work with efficiency. How can we make practices efficient? Nowadays, with the great Recession coming, how do we cut and reduce overhead and not sacrifice service and not sacrifice the feeling that everybody who's built their business is for? I think this is the solution for sure. 14:36 Dr. Stacee Santi What does a practice pay for their own assistant? I'm nervous to ask. 14:41 Melissa Brown Well, I know we're working on a special deal with you and your clients for sure in terms of that and joining our services together. I know we're going to mention that, but $2,400 a month, that's for 120 hours a month, 40 hours a week, so you can hire for less than I think that's something like $11 an hour for someone who specializes in the medical field. I don't think that's the going rate. We'll be able to do that and then handle everything, the taxes, the overhead, the workman's comp, the Social Security, everything that you don't want to do within your payroll system, the training. That's a huge added as well because that employee will be in our continuous training programs as well. They will be continually trained over and more and more so growing as well. 15:38 Dr. Stacee Santi Caitlin, can you see why I was so excited for you to meet Melinda? 15:42 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde Yes, for sure. It makes a lot of sense now. I guess I'll let you cheat on me with her. It's fine. 15:50 Dr. Stacee Santi Melissa, do you ever get any weird requests from the veterinary teams? Like they want coffee delivered or anything like that? 15:59 Melissa Brown Not too many weird things. One of the biggest things we hear is, how can I incentivize my team member? They're doing an excellent job. I want to give them stuff. I want to give them a coffee gift card or I want to give them money for booking all these appointments, whatever. We found some creative solutions to be able to incentivize their team members. That was one of them that came up in the beginning, but nothing too weird. 16:23 Dr. Stacee Santi And Dr. Costco is telling me recently that she has even elevated her services with you guys to get basically assistant. 16:33 Melissa Brown A personal assistant. Personal assistance. Those doctors love those. 16:40 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde Okay, so tell us more about that. What kind of things are those people doing? Interested? 16:46 Melissa Brown The personal assistants work directly with the doctors and they can do medical transcription, they can book personal appointments for the doctor, travel arrangements, all of that thing, and handle their personal email. They just work more directly with the doctor and whatever they need them to do. 17:02 Dr. Stacee Santi I'm getting one. I just have to. I can't be signing up with you soon. 17:07 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde Melissa, is there anything like that? Where do they take them? In the room? Like, virtually take them in the room so they can do notes as they're going or anything like that? 17:17 Melissa Brown Actually, they haven't yet, but that is definitely a possibility to be able to do. We have the software and the technology to do that. 17:25 Dr. Stacee Santi Super cool. Well, this has been so enlightening. I can't wait for practices to get to know your company more. You've just been a delight to work with. Everyone on your team has been super pro. I work with a lot of veterinary people, so I feel very confident in saying you guys are awesome. Where can practices go to learn about your services? 17:48 Melissa Brown Sure. We will obviously provide them a link, a booking link, because we want to make sure that we give listeners a special deal. You can go to a concierge elite.com and you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, all of those social medias as well. 18:07 Dr. Stacee Santi Great. A practice can be up and running with a new team member in as short as a couple of hours. 18:13 Melissa Brown A couple of hours? 2 hours of their time and a maximum of two weeks. 18:17 Dr. Stacee Santi Yeah, guys, your future looks pretty bright. If you're listening to Melissa and thinking about taking on her services, you can get the help you need without having to even interview a person. It's awesome. 18:30 Melissa Brown Absolutely. Thank you guys so much. 18:33 Dr. Stacee Santi All right, guys, we appreciate you joining us for this week's episode of Ivet So Hard, and we look forward to seeing you real soon. If you have a second, please give us a rating or a review wherever you listen to your podcast. You can also download the show notes by visiting ivetohard.com. If you're interested in the special booking link, we will stick it in the Show Notes. Guys, thanks again for being here, and we'll see you real soon. Thanks for joining us for today's episode of Ivet So Hard. 19:05 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde Don't forget to head over to Ivet So hard.com to download our top five takeaways from this episode. We'll see you right back here, same. 19:13 Dr. Stacee Santi Time, same place next week. 19:15 Dr. Caitlin DeWilde Until then, here's to putting your technology to work for your practice.