2020 Pet Business Customer Loyalty Survey Results
By Jeff Dickerson
As we all navigate the pandemic and the current economy, an age-old truth has become even truer: customer loyalty is the lifeblood of the American small business—especially in our industry. Many pet boarding and daycare businesses are still recovering lost revenue from state-mandated closings and consumer hesitance. To restore financial stability, business owners must do everything possible to encourage repeat business and referrals.
Building customer loyalty has never been an easy task, and it certainly hasn’t become easier during the pandemic. Pet boarding and daycare businesses must go above and beyond to make consumers feel safe, excited and willing to visit their business again and again. How? Start by listening to their needs.
Before the escalation of COVID-19 in the United States, DaySmart Software surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers who frequent small businesses to understand what they want from their go-to professional service providers. These findings are the keys to unlocking customer loyalty. As small pet businesses get back on their feet, they should follow these three steps to reengage and grow their customer base:
1. Deliver High-Quality Service Consistently
According to the report, 62% of respondents believe quality of service is a pet business’s most important trait, followed by cost (40%), convenient location (32%), and trust and reputation (each 31%). While quality service may seem like an obvious priority, pet boarding and daycare businesses should pay special attention, knowing consumers may be hyperaware of any changes since the pandemic.
Pet business owners should invest in the resources needed to deliver a reliable, premium experience—starting with talent. Sixty-one percent of respondents expressed that trusting a business’s employees and their capabilities is the number one benefit of being a “regular.” Owners can equip employees to build this trust by offering training opportunities to keep their skill-sets competitive. It’s also important to provide them with modern tools that make their jobs simpler and satisfying.
If pet boarding and daycare businesses don’t mitigate workplace frustrations, they risk their top talent walking away—and taking their customer base with them. Forty-eight percent of survey respondents say they would follow an employee if they moved to a new company. So, retaining employees can translate directly into sustaining repeat business.
2. Create a Personalized Experience
Pet boarding and daycare businesses can show customers they value their business by personalizing their experience; in fact, 72% of consumers say they enjoy getting personalized promotions and/or messages from the businesses they visit. However, personalization is quite a broad concept that can vary from industry to industry. What should it look like for small pet businesses?
According to our survey results, 57% of consumers believe that, for an experience to qualify as “personalized,” the business should make them feel like their preferences are known without having to ask. It’s also important for the business to offer specific recommendations based on customers’ needs, according to 53% of respondents, like recommending a pet food based on a pet’s dietary needs. Another 48% believe personalization includes getting offered coupons for products or services the consumer has purchased before.
3. Identify Customers’ Dealbreakers
While customer loyalty can take a while to build (between five to 10 visits, according to 51% of respondents), it can also be broken with one bad experience, like being overcharged for a service (40%) or not being reminded of an upcoming appointment (27%). Pet boarding and daycare businesses can prevent this from happening by investing in tools that lower the risk for mistakes. Seventy-seven percent of respondents also say they are less likely to revisit a business after receiving lousy customer service.
Every customer is unique, but there are common threads for building and growing customer loyalty—delivering quality and considerate service. As customers’ specific demands and needs continue to evolve during the pandemic, those universal truths will remain. Pet boarding and daycare businesses just need to continue eliciting feedback, using reputation management tools, and equipping employees to cultivate meaningful experiences and relationships.
For the full report of survey findings, visit www.daysmart.com/loyalty2020/
Jeff Dickerson is CEO of DaySmart Software, the makers of 123Pet Software, a leading pet business management software for appointment booking, staff management, payment processing, marketing and customer communications for pet professionals worldwide. Thousands of grooming salons, mobile groomers, daycare and kennel businesses use 123Pet Software to run and grow their business. Jeff has 25+ years of experience building software companies and developing technology that empowers and drives real business results for customers. www.123petsoftware.com