Cats and Global Screening: Finding the Purrfect Vet


Cats and Global Screening: Finding the Purrfect Vet

Last month’s blog seemed to be very popular, so I’ll continue on with the theme of global screening and cats. Last month’s topic was written after some interactions with a client. This month’s topic revolves around some interactions with prospects.

As long as there is a good quality of life, there nothing I wouldn’t do for my cats. Seven years ago, we adopted an elderly and overweight Abyssinian cat named Tolstoy. No one wanted him, and we thought, who was better able than us to care for an elderly cat? We had experience with old, Abyssinian cats. Tolstoy wasn’t even with us a year when he tore a ligament in his leg. Good fortune rained upon us. Our vet’s practice had just been sold to another hospital, and the owner of that hospital was an expert surgeon who had done this type of surgery on cats ten times before. The experience of the new vet, Dr. Miller, his team, and a loving (two month!) recovery, tended to by my husband Bob, helped Tolstoy to a full recovery without so much as a limp. Towards the end of his life, Tolstoy was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. We were in the care of veterinary specialists now, recommended by Dr. Miller’s team. During these two journeys, the vets kept us informed and helped us make good choices, keeping Tolstoy’s quality of life in mind and our wishes. They gave us cost estimates along the way and listened when we listed our priorities (cost not being at the top of the list). When the time came, Dr. Miller offered to come to the house to help Tolstoy pass. This was no easy offer as we live an hour from the vet’s office.


What does this have to do with global screening? Many cats’ veterinary care is complex, just as global screening is. (Maybe that is why I am drawn to global screening and compliance?) And low price is not always the same as value, especially when the topic is complex.

Price and Value

When I was younger, I did not understand the relationship of price and value. I often made decisions based on price, thinking a low price was a good deal. Certainly, when budgets are limited, decisions cannot be made without considering price. Value, on the other hand, includes not only the tangible cost of the goods and services but also the additional services that come with it. Value looks at the continuity of care. Jumping around from vet to vet to take care of a pet may help you achieve a lower price for an individual service. But the vet will not know the pet, will not know when something is out of sorts, will not know your family’s preferences, and ultimately will not be as available to you in times of need.

Good is Not Always Easy to Get

Our vet had to drive an hour to come to our house with Tolstoy. That also means that every time we go to the vet with our cats, we drive an hour to get there (with a screaming cat). There are veterinary clinics all around our house that would be much easier to get to and many offer low prices. We have two cats now, Boris and Shackleton. Shackleton has very complex health needs and is frequently at the vet. Last year, he was critically ill, and I went to the hospital every day. That same one-hour drive there and back. They always had a room for us at the hospital where I could sit with him for an hour. Dr. Miller would come in on his days off to supervise his care. Was this worth a two-hour drive? Absolutely. Shackleton came home with a bag of medications and detailed care instructions that made my eyes cross. He’s doing great now.


Experience May Cost More and It Matters, and New Ideas Add Value

Every professional has a first day somewhere. One of the vets caring for Shackleton last year was fresh out of vet school. She brought some great ideas to his care and is his primary vet now. Although I was originally tempted to dismiss the newly graduated vet, I learned that her recent education brought a lot to the care Shackleton needed. But when it came time for delicate surgery, this was done by Dr. Miller, with decades of experience dealing with the issues we were facing. It wasn’t the recent education or the experience that made the difference, it was the combination of both.

The Global Screening Interviews

Let me bring this post back to global screening.

I have been interviewing background screeners around the world the last couple of months in order to better understand what they need and what they are getting from their current providers. The interviews I am having are with people I have strong relationships with, but they are not our clients. Ultimately, I do hope we work together, however that is not the purpose of the calls. I want to understand the needs of the market first and then I want to see if our company can provide something unique to this market.

Price and Value

One of questions I’ve been asking in my interview is how well their current vendor supports them. Things like offering training, guidance, or help with proposals. I have been baffled by some of the searches these companies are buying. Some make no sense. It would take just a few minutes to help them understand why a U.S. Federal Criminal search may not be the go-to U.S. search. Some vendors are great at providing extra client support. But I am surprised at how many companies work with vendors that provide little extra value. What drives this? Do they feel they are not worthy of asking questions and getting help? Is global screening so complex that it’s best to take it as-is and not dig into understanding it? Anyone who works with me knows I am not shy about asking questions about products. When we match suppliers to specific country searches, we do look at the cost of the service. But another very important factor is the ability of that supplier to support us with that search. There are many searches we offer that come from a higher-cost source. We judge the higher cost service to be the better value.

Good is Not Always Easy to Get

When I talk to clients and prospects, I’m puzzled when the decision to use a particular vendor is based upon how easy it is to order the global search. Just like the complex care instructions we had with Tolstoy and Shackleton, if we wanted a good outcome, we had to put in the difficult work. I have seen this recently with the change in the criminal record searches in the United Kingdom. For searches done on individuals who are working in England or Wales, the process has gotten very complex. The new source (Disclosure and Baring Service) is rigid and has warned of audits. They will not hesitate to cut off access. And yet I talk to screeners who are willing to use a vendor that has an easy process for these England/Wales searches. Yes, I will push back on an overly complex process, but sometimes it is that complex search process that will yield the best results. My message here is, push back if it seems too much but understand that sometimes it will be hard in order to be good. It’s also important to put some time into study. I realize that global screening is not the main focus of everyone’s business. However, if the service is provided, someone in the organization needs to have a level of understanding about the topic. I’ve written about this before, most recently here.

Experience May Cost More and It Matters, and New Ideas Add Value

Background screening is maturing around the world. We are seeing people with decades of experience, even in the global market. Our industry has been close knit. With the economies getting better worldwide, people are moving to different companies. This gives clients a great opportunity to work with new companies who have hired experienced people. New ideas plus experience provide great advantages for all clients.

The Takeaway

Take a look at what your vendors are doing for you. Consider the value your vendors are providing you, especially with the searches that come from outside your home country. Added help they provide may help you lower your ultimate costs and provide a better service to your clients. Get someone involved in understanding the global searches. It doesn’t need to be a full time position but it does need to be someone who is passionate about the topic. Help them get the experience and have them hook up with your experienced vendors to learn.


Kerstin Bagus – Director, Global Initiatives

Kerstin Bagus supports ClearStar’s Global Screening Program as its Director of Global Initiatives. She has more than 30 years of background screening industry experience, working for a variety of firms, large and small. Kerstin is one of the few individuals in the industry who is privacy-certified through the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) for Canada, the EU, and the U.S.

Kerstin is a passionate participant in the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA, formerly NAPBS) and is a current member of the Board, in addition to participating on several committees. She also participates on IFDAT’s Legal Committee, with a primary focus on global data privacy.

At ClearStar, we are committed to your success. An important part of your employment screening program involves compliance with various laws and regulations, which is why we are providing information regarding screening requirements in certain countries, region, etc. While we are happy to provide you with this information, it is your responsibility to comply with applicable laws and to understand how such information pertains to your employment screening program. The foregoing information is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes. ClearStar is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice and this communication does not form an attorney client relationship. The foregoing information is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of a lawyer knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice. ClearStar makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, or utility of the information contained in this publication. Legislative, regulatory and case law developments regularly impact on general research and this area is evolving rapidly. ClearStar expressly disclaim any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of the information provided herein.


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