A Powerful Tool to Crush Your Competition
By Laura Laaman
This industry is now swarming with competition. The number of competitors in the pet boarding and daycare industry has been growing by leaps and bounds. To make matters worse, these days you’re also competing with massive corporate conglomerates. Some you can see on your way to work and others you can’t (unless you do a Google search). With the rise of game–changing competitors like Rover.com, DogVacay.com and WagWalking.com, it’s more important than ever to set your company apart.
So, what can you do to stand out from these very smart and deep–pocketed competitors? If your answer is providing great pet care, that’s unfortunately not enough in today’s fiercely competitive environment.
By nature, this is a very personal industry. Therefore, pet parents are likely to respond most favorably to companies that offer personal, human connections. If we try to do too much electronically (email, website, online forms, etc.), we’re inadvertently saying pets are just numbers to us. Most pet care providers I meet and work with feel pets are all very special and unique. Assuming you agree, carrying over that feeling into your communications can help set you apart from your powerful competitors.
The Phone is a Powerful Method of Personal Communication
Instead of thinking of the phone as a nuisance or distraction, pet care business owners can leverage the phone to their advantage in many ways. As detailed in a previous article, tapping into the power of the telephone begins with measuring and ensuring strong conversion of initial prospective client calls into reservations.
Also powerful, although unusual, is reconnecting with the pet parents who’ve already done business with you. Making outbound calls is a great way to do that. Just as with initial client inquiry calls, outbound calls need to be handled with extreme care. With the right approach and execution, outbound calls are a valuable tool for your company to connect with pet parents. Generally, receptionists or other front desk staff think of outbound calls as “cold calls”, but they can be utilized to carve out a place above your competitors.
Set Yourself Apart by Making a Connection
In this industry, you’re providing care to someone’s cherished furry family members. Emotion is close to the surface here, so magnifying personal connections goes a long way. When your client picks up their pet from an overnight stay at your facility, the pet can’t tell them how much they enjoyed it. You and your staff can lend a voice to these pets by informing the parent of the many activities their pet enjoyed. Another way is to make phone calls to follow up on the pet’s visit.
Calls made shortly after a pet’s visit deepen the human connection between your company and your client. You’re showing an active interest in both pet and pet parent, and your clients are likely to appreciate a verbal description of their pet’s experience, what activities their pet enjoyed and how much fun their pet had at your facility. Fully customized for the client on the other end, these calls demonstrate a level of warmth your competitors may not have. Similarly, calls can be made to existing clients who haven’t been to your facility in a while.
Follow-Up Phone Calls Are Golden Opportunities
The mobile phone industry is also very competitive. I’m sure that’s why one customer–centric company has their managers follow up to thank the customer for their business and to offer resources on technical support when they sell a new phone. This simultaneously shows warmth, keeps their company at the forefront of the customer’s mind and introduces the customer to their other services. When it comes time to buy a new charger or a memory upgrade, the goal is for the customer to think of their company first.
Pet care facility owners can use these calls to touch base with existing clients, follow up on a new client’s experience and promote their other services. However, the approach will change the results so it’s important to outline a plan and ensure proper training to get the most out of your outbound calls.
A Good Strategy Will Pave the Way
Many pet care facilities allow all members of their staff to make and receive new prospect phone calls. The truth is, not everyone is naturally skilled in handling these important and expensive phone opportunities. The saying is true; you only have one chance to make a positive first impression. As the owner or manager, you need to carefully determine who among your staff is most adept at promoting your company positively. These are the people you should train to make the outbound calls.
Some of the hallmarks of good phone finesse are:
- Positive attitude.
- Enthusiasm, both in conversation and in general character.
- Good grammar, demeanor
- Politeness and professionalism.
- The ability to maintain control of a conversation.
Once you’ve decided on your best phone candidates, it’s important to train them on exactly how to make effective outbound calls. You might even consider following a script. A new customer is potentially worth tens of thousands to even hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, should they become an ongoing, returning customer. By using a good outbound phone protocol, you can more easily turn first–time visitors into regulars.
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 growing your revenues, 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.