by Jennifer van Garderen
Before you know it, the holiday rush will be over and a new year will be upon you. It sneaks up quickly! But that sneaky new year also offers an opportunity for change. Are there changes to existing procedures that need tweaking or new procedures that need to be created? Have you thought about ideas to promote business growth? Have you made safety as much of a priority as it should be?
Now is the time to start planning for changes and improvements in 2018. Having a clear game plan going into next year will kick things off in the right direction. Implementing change during lower volume time periods, like January and February, will also help your staff transition into the changes much more easily. The kinks will be ironed out and the staff will be ready when spring break arrives.
Five things to consider when planning for 2018
1) Safety: Safety should be priority number one in a pet care facility environment. The safety of staff and pets should be the first thing considered in all decisions. A great safety initiative for the new year is to provide pet CPR training and certification for all key staff. This will not only be helpful in an emergency situation, but existing and prospective clients will love knowing their pet has an extra layer of safety.
2) Up-sell Program: Maximize the most out of every check-in interaction by coaching your staff to sell the extras. Make sure your staff understands the benefits and value of each extra product and service offered in your business. Having cheat sheets close by for staff is a handy sales aid. Pay attention to your staff’s sales opportunities and provide coaching in the moment. Creating goals and staff incentives are a great way to keep staff motivated to sell more. Before you know it, your staff will be expertly recommending your extras to every client.
3) Marketing: How are your social media accounts performing? To increase engagement, be sure to provide content that is actually engaging. Posts that include photos of pets enjoying services at your facility are sure to be popular. Let your clients know to keep an eye on your social media accounts throughout the day for a chance to see their pet in action. Chances are they will share their pet’s photo on their personal social media accounts, which allows your post to reach even more people. You just might get a new client or two this way.
4) Know Your Clients: It is time to start looking at what you offer from the perspective of the millennial generation. This generation is going to be the majority of your newly acquired clients. Millennials seek out businesses that are easy to interact with. To appeal to millennials, provide the option to schedule appointments online, allow text messaging to check on their pet, and provide video access to view their pet while in your care.
5) New Services: Are you offering all of the services to clients that have proven successful at pet care facilities nationwide? New services do not necessarily mean new staff and more labor. Treats, such as frozen yogurt, a vegetable medley, or catnip tea are examples of services with low labor costs that are also popular with pet parents. Treats are a great way to add an additional revenue stream while enriching a pet’s stay at your facility. Treats can be offered to pets that are staying overnight or just visiting for the day.
Proper planning is the key to making the new year exactly what you want it to be. With planning, you can be more proactive and less reactive. The pets in your care - and their parents - will thank you.
Jennifer van Gaderen is the Chief Operating Officer for Kennelwood Pet Resorts in St. Louis, Missouri, where, since 2001, she has worked with pets and staff in many departments including day camp, customer services, marketing, and pet training products and services.
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