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Pet Daycare Professionals: Stay Connected During Difficult Times

When it comes to operating your pet daycare business during a pandemic, situations vary across the country and according to local guidelines. And whether you are able to reopen partially or have to remain closed, we know it’s tough. But what you choose to do during this downtime could make a positive impact on your business once it is safe to fully reopen. Let’s learn how pet daycare owners can stay connected to clients and focus on being helpful during difficult times.

Financial Flexibility

The current situation could leave business owners feeling hopeless, but it’s likely that customers are having a rough go too. So finding ways to keep your company relevant and essential to clients requires that you take their needs into account. The goal is to emerge from this trial with connections alive and well. But how can you stay in touch and retain customer loyalty when you can’t offer the same pre-pandemic services?

The basic answer is to think outside of your typical business model. Many companies have had to adjust services, position responsibilities, and even products offered. So while you likely can’t welcome customers to your pet daycare facility, what can you do? What needs can you fill? Here are a few ideas:

  • Inventory sale. If you have access to pet food, grooming products, toys, and accessories can you offer them for sale online? Add a retail section on your website or create a third-party, online store to make the process easy, convenient, and appealing. Avoid shipping issues and stick to local drop-off or client pick-up. If nothing else, feature items in a newsletter, blog, or social media post and encourage clients to contact you to purchase.
  • Branded products. Masks, sanitizer bottles, and wipe canisters are now universal. Coming up with a catchy slogan or design and ordering customized products to offer to clients achieves several goals at once and is a way to keep your company relevant that can even extend beyond pandemic gear. Just be sure not to oversell or push too hard. Interacting on social media and polling interest before going ahead with this idea is a smart move.
  • Discounted gift cards. Offering a small discount on gift cards or adding on services or perks with a purchase means that even though you might not be able to have customers onsite, they are still helping to keep your lights on. Be judicious in how you sell, always showing appreciation for clients’ loyalty and community spirit.
  • Modified services. If you are able to operate on a limited basis, curbside drop-off and pick-up is an option that many pet daycare centers are relying on right now. Kindly asking customers to keep their own leashes and collars and using store-owned, sanitized restraints can reduce the threat of virus transmission and keep everyone safe. And if you typically offer grooming but aren’t fully open, a drive-up nail trim or other quick maintenance service could be an option.
  • New services. If you have a certified trainer on your staff, could you work together to create online training courses? Pet owners are looking for help and many training professionals are taking things virtual. Consider doing a beta trial and tweak as you go – this could be a viable way to pivot your business model if need be.

These are just a few ways to share resources and stay connected while also aiding your business’s bottom line. Being inventive and keeping your mental gears moving means that you can find new and varied ways to serve your customers. In the end, these innovations born of necessity could become a fresh way forward.

Connected Community

During these hard times, folks often look for ways to stay connected with a like-minded community. Your pet daycare business can provide that sense of connection virtually, through live-streaming and online events that bring people together. Spend available time sprucing up your website, blog, newsletter, and social media posts to boost interaction, encourage engagement, and foster communication.

Digital connections can build a community.

If you are able to operate on a limited basis, keep those live streams going – owners love to watch their fur babies play. And finding ways to give back, even in small ways, won’t go unnoticed. Good deeds have a way of circling ‘round. Reach out to local pet food companies to see if you can partner with them to support families and pets in need. Local food banks may also be offering pet food – getting a hold of this type of information and sharing it on your various channels is a clear show of concern for clients’ and pets’ welfare. Keep those good vibes flowing and a strong, supportive online community should follow.

Using social media trends to your advantage can also keep your business relevant and trending in customers’ minds. Challenges, hashtag bandwagons, and other viral posts can be silly to some, but they can also provide a bright spot in a stream of negative news. Use discretion in what you choose to share or post and focus on bringing levity to an otherwise hard situation. Encourage customers to share their pictures and thoughts to keep the conversation two-sided. When you are able to reopen doors, you can trust that those engaged customers will be there to support you.

Considerate Communication

If you already have open and established communication lines with clients and time on your hands, it can be tempting to flood their news feeds, inboxes, or text threads. But remember that you aren’t the only company that’s struggling – they are likely already being bombarded. And you don’t want to appear desperate for clients’ attention or support.

Add value to your communications with pet care tips and links to resources that will ensure your messages don’t become a nuisance. Spending so much time with pets, customers could be realizing that negative habits are developing. Here are a few ways to help:

  • Share ways to keep pets occupied – recommend pet toys or enrichment exercises that are tried and tested by your staff and trainers
  • Create step-by-step video tutorials with in-house pet trainers – teach customers how to work with pets to modify behavior
  • Offer educational resources – customers may want to look into pet training, behavior, or psychology and you can point them in the right direction

Make digital communication and connections readily available to your clientele.

Keep communications measured and consistent and your concern and diligence will shine through. Serve as a valuable resource and clients will be searching out your emails, social media posts, and blogs. Vary your efforts to keep your company in front of your customers, and when they respond or engage, don’t leave them hanging – be quick to reply and build the relationship. Remember to include a kind word of support and in every way you can let your customers know that your concern for them and their pet runs deep.

Amped Up Downtime

Even if you can’t welcome guests into your pet daycare center, think of ways to improve your services and show your dedication. Deep cleaning your facilities and making improvements or updates might seem mundane, but that could be exciting news to customers. Get your social media followers involved and ask what improvements they would like to see or are most excited about. Take a video walkthrough once work is done and let customers know that you can’t wait to welcome them back.

Personalized connections keep your relationships with pet owners strong.

You are already catering to four-legged customers’ preferences, so why not take some time to create a pup profile for each one. Use technology to compile this information, even taking it as far as an online account that customers can access to purchase their pet’s preferred toys, treats, or accessories. Include informative write ups about why these products are beneficial to their favorite furries. Personalization is a solid way to add value to what you do.

Looking forward to reopening is another way to stay connected and busy. Thinking through your operations game plan now means that when that day comes, you and your staff are fully prepared. Sharing any new services, plans, or updated processes with customers keeps them involved and engaged and could even lead to new suggestions and opportunities. Playing up the need for registration and appointments and making that process easy means that when it is time to reopen, customers will be raring to go. Taking the time to work out bugs and streamline tech systems will pay off when customers come back.

Forward-Thinking Protection

Stressful times can create opportunities for innovation if you have an adaptive mindset. What you do now to stay connected and continue to serve customers can have a long-lasting impact. So keep your business moving forward and those efforts will set you up for success in the future.

While you work to adjust to ongoing business restrictions and a future in flux, know that you can depend on the pet care insurance experts at Zinc. Our team understands your niche industry and is dedicated to keeping you protected during these precarious times. We are also just friendly people who love our customers – feel free to chat us up if you need a listening ear. We’re rooting for you, and are confident that your innovative nature will see you through this dark time. Here’s to the future, may it be bright!