San Diego, California
Not resolved
2 comments

So as someone who used to work for Banfield, I think a lot of the complaints on this website are unfair. HOWEVER...having close to 800 complaints says something about the company. One of the most common complaints I see if regarding the wellness plan - specifically, the cancellation policies and fees people pay on top of what is covered. I agree that YES, you signed a contract, making the consumer legally responsible for the consequences. However, this contract is not always thoroughly explained to the clients. I've seen my former co-workers do a less than perfect job at explaining what it is. I think that the company should either revise the contract, to make it more understandable and with less penalties to the customer, or implement mandatory training for how to explain the wellness plans. One of the biggest complaints is how people still owe money after a pet dies or they cancel their wellness plan. I think a better way to advertise the wellness plan is to emphasize that it's not some sort of membership. You don't pay $30 a month to get $30 of services a month. It's actually a way to FINANCE your pet's care for the entire year. Kind of like making car payments. Lets say you purchase a $25,000 car and pay $500 a month for it. If you crash it after 4 months, you can't just stop making payments. A $25,000 machine is now gone, and you only paid $2,000. You still have to pay for the purchase. It's kind of the same thing with the wellness plan. Lets say you get your pet's teeth cleaned 1 week after purchasing the plan. You can't just cancel it after paying the signup fee and $35. Teeth cleaning is a $300 procedure - so if you want to cancel the plan you have to pay for the full price of the services you have used, minus the payment you already made. I don't think that this is communicated to clients. They think of it more as a gym membership - pay $30 a month and get the same access to services monthly. I know that it is the consumer's responsibility to understand a contract before they sign it, but the company can do a better job explaining it before the consumer signs and then is unhappy about what they got locked in to.

Another complaint I see a lot of is that when people call/email customer relations, they say that someone will contact them within 72 hours. Most of the time, these people never hear back or it is weeks later. This, from a customer service standpoint, is unacceptable. Even if a reasonable compromise cannot be reached, the company should at least TRY within a timely manner. People like to be heard (even if they don't get their way), and ignoring the complaints of customers just contributes to the company's bad reputation.

One of the MAJOR problems with the companies is the way that the hospital managers are reimbursed. For example, for every refund that a hospital makes, it takes money out of the hospital manager's pocket. Returns and credits are monitored by the company, and the hospitals are dinged for every one. This leads some hospital managers to focus more on their own paycheck than on customer service. Now, you can't always refund money, but in some cases the customer should be refunded! One time a lady left our hospital with an e-collar for her dog that was too small. The dog could get to her incision site, opening up the potential for post-operative complications. She came to exchange it, but the manager refused, insisting that it was "used" and we couldn't resell it, therefore could not return it. I thought this was silly, as one of the techs had fitted the dog incorrectly. It was the hospital's fault, and the woman should have been given a new collar. This woman was so mad, she set her wellness plan for non-renewal and found another veterinarian. As another example, I've had several customers come in with coupons or vouchers, and due to some technicality, the hospital manager would not accept them. This is bad business. So what if that coupon for a free office visit expired 2 days ago, you have a stack of current ones under the cash register! Use one of those for the client instead of telling them that they have to pay for the office visit! You just drove away a potential lifelong customer. My family has owner a business for 30 years, and we ALWAYS honor coupons and promotions. It shows the customer we care more about meeting their needs than losing a few dollars.

As a former employee, I definitely don't think that the doctors are greedy. A lot of them are frustrated by the rules and regulations that the corporate office places on what they can and cannot do for clients. The vet techs aren't greedy either - we are paid dirt and don't make any kind of bonuses for selling plans. The hospital managers - well it varies from location to location. I've worked at a couple different locations, and some managers are so concentrated on customer service, they don't care if they get "dinged" for refunds, as they know it will increase revenue in the long run by making a client happy. Others don't care and will never credit a client, even if it is the hospital's fault. As for corporate - well, you can't deny that ANY veterinary hospital is a for-prophit business. However, the way that Banfield operates leaves a bad taste in consumers' mouths. Banfield is known by both the public at large AND other veterinary clinics for being too concentrated on profit and not concentrated enough on customer service. You can't eliminate all complaints - that will never happen. But improvements can be made.

My point in all of this is to point out that Banfield needs to focus more on customer service and resolving complaints. Complaints drive current customers away and scare away future clients, thus decreasing revenue. They need to do two things. 1. They need to revise their policies in order to reduce the number of complaints against the company. 2. They need to revise the way customer service treats clients who are dissatisfied. People should not have to think that Banfield is in the business to take advantage of the suffering of animals. I'm not saying that Banfield is evil or money-grubbing, but SOMETHING has to be done to change this common perception. After all, 800 complaints is a lot. Banfield, what are you doing to improve your image!

Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Customer Care.

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mistersunshine
#488037

Oh well excuse my typo. Heavens I'm so glad you pointed it out!

Anonymous
#487833

*root, you're welcome.