4 Powerful Strategies to Connect & Reengage with Clients
By Laura Laaman
Compared to other industries, the pet care industry has always required extra TLC. We’re not just fixing a car; we’re caring for someone’s furry family member. But right now, the human TLC is more important than ever.
Pre-pandemic, you and your business likely took customers for granted. This statement isn’t meant to be critical; it’s a natural side effect of a business with a high volume of customers. Just like a coffee shop wouldn’t miss a regular customer or two, you may have assumed that if a prospect didn’t book with you, it was ok because you’d have lots of other opportunities.
Now, since business is likely slower (at least in boarding due to reduced travel), I hope you have a new appreciation for any new prospects, as well as your existing and past clients. If you do, does your staff? If so, what are you doing to stay connected to your clients going forward?
Here are four powerful strategies that you should be implementing to make sure you are reengaging and connecting with those precious clients and prospects:
1. Make Outbound Calls
If you’ve read any of my articles before, you know how important I believe the phone is to your pet care business. Since almost all your revenue comes through the phone, having a well-trained, skilled and consistent team answering calls is critical to your success. The unfortunate truth is, right now, your phones likely aren’t ringing as much as they were before the pandemic. But your phone team is still your revenue ace in the hole.
During more “normal” times, making outbound calls is a meaningful way to stay connected to clients and generate more business. But in this time of social distancing and self-quarantine, it’s even more significant. Even if fewer people are traveling, your other services (daycare, training, grooming) are still in high demand. Now is the perfect time to reach out, say hello, and remind your customers you’re open and eager to provide your services. Not only does this keep your company in touch with its customers, it also elevates you above your less proactive competition.
What kind of outbound calls should your team be trained to make?
- Reconnecting with customers who haven’t visited in a while and asking if they need your services
- Offering to make grooming or daycare appointments
- Providing a coupon to a service they haven’t tried yet
- Informing them of a fun event you have coming up
Your current receptionists may be reluctant to make these calls. If so, have an open conversation with them and talk through their apprehensions. They may misinterpret these reengagement calls as cold calls. But, they’re not. They’re an act of reaching out, welcoming back a past customer and ideally offering them an incentive.
Even with these insights and tools, many receptionists won’t make outbound calls. They may agree to make them, but in reality, they won’t. What is an owner or manager to do? Hire someone with a different skill set. This competitive industry needs proactive people and strategies to thrive. The days of waiting for the phone to ring are gone.
2. Host Fun Events
Many pet parents have been working at home, so your boarding business is likely not thriving. But many facilities are enjoying even better daycare numbers than before COVID-19. Why? People still want their dogs exercised and entertained during the day—and let’s not forget the huge number of new adoptions last year.
Parties are a fun and novel way to attract new dogs and delight your regulars. Many first-time daycare event attendees will come back for more. These events should be easy to run and profitable in the short and long term.
3. E-mail Marketing
Since COVID has severely interrupted clients from doing business with you, it’s important to try to stay connected with your database. Phone calls are best (as discussed above), but emails are an efficient way to reach your database. You hopefully already collect your clients’ email addresses as part of the reservation process, so you can quickly reach your entire client database with news, event announcements, photos and special coupons to draw pet parents back.
They don’t have to be long emails—in fact, short and sweet is best due to how many emails people typically get. If you have a fun event coming up, or if a certain service needs a boost, write up a promotional e-blast and send it off. Pick appealing photos, colors and subject lines to motivate more interest. Don’t forget to encourage an action—like calling to register for your event or claim a special offer.
4. Social Media Presence
Most people are even more tuned in to the digital world right now in the absence of traditional socializing. Social media is an excellent way to reach huge numbers of people at once and generate engagement with your company and brand.
Who doesn’t like looking at pictures of dogs? Facebook and Instagram are perfect places to showcase all the fun your furry guests are having at your facility. Pick active and cute pictures to share. Customers love to see and share pictures of their own pets, and prospects will take notice of how fun it looks.
Another good way to draw in new customers is by posting about any specials you’re having or spreading the word about new services. And if you’re having daycare parties, you can promote them on social media to drum up attendance.
Enliven your social media posting by engaging your audience directly. Encourage them to share pictures of their dogs in the comments and ask them questions about their pets (e.g., What is the funniest thing you’ve caught your dog doing?) People love to talk about their pets, and rightfully so!
Many pet care facilities already have these strategies in place, and they’re effective no matter the time of year, but they’re even more important as we emerge from the pandemic and do our best to recover. Pet parents will always need your services, but sometimes they just need to be reminded!
Laura Laaman is president of Outstanding Pet Care. Outstanding Pet Care guarantees to substantially increase the revenues of its clients with its proven services. If you’re interested in significantly growing your revenue, schedule an individual consultation with Laura Laaman or one of her team members. Call Outstanding Pet Care at 1-888-735-5667 or go to www.OutstandingPetCare.com/get-in-touch/ .