Take your business to the next level
By Kathy Hosler
People really love their pets, and whether you operate a boarding kennel or a doggie daycare, you know how difficult it is for some of them to part with their pets when they come to your facility. What if you could make it possible for the owners to stay connected with their pets and to observe what they are doing at any time? Installing webcams in your business provides live streaming video to every one of your clients. More and more pet care facilities are finding that webcams have become an indispensable part of their business.
“Today’s pet owners do their research when looking for a doggie daycare or boarding kennel,” states Kelli Gapski, owner of HostaCam, a webcam hosting company. “Just the fact that your facility offers live webcams may convince the first time customer to try your establishment. When pet owners discover that they can keep in visual contact with their pet, they are instantly more receptive to the idea of leaving the pet in your care.”
“One of the biggest benefits of having webcam systems in your business is to help drive customers through your door,” says Blake Walliser, president of Online Doggy, a webcam provider for the pet care industry. “When a customer walks into the lobby of your business and sees a monitor displaying all of the play yards and the rest of your facility, it gives those customers instant peace of mind. It opens up your facility and shows them that you have nothing to hide.”
It really is pretty easy to add live streaming video to the services you offer. You don’t have to be tech savvy or a computer genius to put a webcam system in your building. Most of the webcam suppliers offer complete packages that include all the hardware and software that you need, and most of the webcams are already programmed before you get them. You install the equipment wherever you want it in your facility, plug it in, and the companies provide the support to keep your system up and running smoothly.
“If a camera ever goes offline, a text alert is immediately sent to our tech support phone,” says Ms. Gapski. “Often we have the camera back online before the facility owner even knows that there was a problem.”
Your customers can view the live streaming video of their pets by going to your website. If you don’t have a website, some of the webcam providers can give your customers access to your facility through their own websites.
Another great feature that many webcam systems have is the choice of public and private viewing capabilities. Public viewing is the usual choice of the doggie daycare owner. When you have public webcams, anyone can watch the streaming video. Private viewing is often the choice in a boarding kennel situation where the camera is usually located in a VIP suite with the boarded pet. The pet’s owner can be assigned a user name and password, which ensures that the owner is the only one who can view through that camera.
Your setup can be quite simple, or you can add many extra features. Most webcams deliver a high-quality picture in full color. Some webcams not only give you the live streaming – they also have the capability to record and play back video. With some, pet owners can even take a snapshot of their pet and print it out or email it.
“Cameras that record can become a fantastic tool and training device,” explains Mr. Walliser. “For example, if a dog gets sick in the play area and you don’t know who it was, you can back up the video, see which dog it was, and remove that one from the play group. If there is a dog fight, you can review the video and see how your staff handled the situation. Then you can archive the videos and create a training library for current and future employees.”
Webcams can also be installed in your facility for business and security purposes. You can have one trained on your cash register and others strategically placed in your building. They can be setup so that only the owner can view those webcams.
Most webcams are viewable by computer, smart phone, or tablet. Pet parents absolutely love being able to see what their pet is doing while they are on the go. Whether they are at work, in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, or vacationing on a tropical beach, they can see that their pets are being well cared for and having fun. Of course the pet owners will share the webcam feed of their pets with everyone around them. That creates constant positive advertisement for your business.
It’s said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” For the pet owner, live webcam viewing of their pet is priceless. For you, happy, satisfied pet owners make your facility the place where everyone wants their pet to stay. Take your business to the next level. Installing webcams in your facility could be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.