Miele Professional has released the results of some independent market research which shows that 72% of veterinary surgeons worry about the impact that a public complaint could have on their business, with 75% monitoring online review sites for comments about their practices at least every month.

For the research, Miele commissioned independent market research firm Sapio to interview 1000 pet owners and 100 UK-based vet practices.

Veterinary practices have good reason to worry about complaints: the research showed that 89% of veterinary clients would be quick to tell others if they were dissatisfied with any aspect of the practice or care received. 63% said they would air their grievances on an online review site and 60% said they'd share their views on social media.

Those figures appear to be borne out by the fact that only 10% of vets said they had not seen any negative comments online about their practice.

Interviews with pet owners also found that the top five factors to affect a practice's reputation were: standard of care, a clean and hygienic environment, good customer service, the cost of treatment and waiting times, in that order.

64% of vets agreed that practice hygiene has become increasingly important with cleanliness of staff uniforms and waiting rooms among the first things that customers notice.

The suitably spruce Sam Bailey (pictured right), Sales & Marketing Director for the Professional division of Miele said: "Vet practices are increasingly coming under the same online scrutiny as hotels and restaurants and are being judged on everything from customer service through to staff appearance and waiting times.

"As our research results show, vets are already concerned about their reputations and it’s not just customer service and care outcomes that matter to pet owners, they also have high expectations when it comes to the practice environment too and are looking at cleanliness, hygiene and staff appearance.  

"Through our network of approved partners we are working with more and more vet practices throughout the UK to ensure their on premise laundries not only meet WRAS regulations but also support their standards on hygiene, infection control and cleanliness."