As part of our commitment to supporting and educating entrepreneurs, we’re spotlighting 123Pet customers who have been impacted by the pandemic to learn about how they’ve adapted their operations to overcome resulting business disruptions. We hope their stories serve as a guide for those navigating similarly difficult situations.
We recently spoke with Gabriela Rudnick, Director of Operations at All Fur Pet Grooming, LLC, in Virginia, to learn about her experience running a business during a pandemic, and how software usage plays into her strategy.
Q: To start, we’d love to learn a little more about your business.
A: Our mission is to provide comfortable, high-quality service for all pets, though we specialize in grooming older dogs. We get a lot of PetSmart “rejects” that are deemed too old or difficult to care for, and we take them in and make them feel like family.
Q: What’s been your experience with 123Pet?
A: In January, we transitioned to 123Pet from Avalon, which we found to be too antiquated. Upon doing some research, 123Pet was the best-integrated system. We tested it in one of our locations to start, and the groomers really appreciated it, so we incorporated it into all three.
Q: Which features have been particularly helpful for running your business?
A: We love the mobile app because we can upload pictures of client preferences right into their profiles and better understand their expectations. 123Pet helps our receptionist too because she doesn’t have to waste time printing papers; she can look at all the customer information through a screen. We also use the texting capabilities to communicate with clients, which saves us time from having to call to confirm appointments and pickups.
Reputation management has also been the greatest resource. With it, we can send requests for reviews straight to clients’ phones and immediately learn if they’re happy with their experience with us. If it’s the case that they’re not, we then have the information available to understand the situation and better respond.
Q: How has the pandemic impacted your business? How have you adapted the ways you do business amidst the business closure?
A: Fortunately, we were only closed for two weeks, but then we were only allowed to reopen with three groomers per location. This meant we had to cut back on the number of clients we were able to serve so that we could maintain our certain level of quality.
To stay safe, we’re wiping down equipment with heavy-duty disinfectants every time someone touches a pen or a door to make sure there’s no virus transmission. All employees receive a temperature check in the morning, and if they display any symptoms, they’re off work for a mandatory two weeks. Additionally, we’re only allowing only one client in the waiting room at a time, which makes some people upset, but we have a lot of older clients and we’d never want them to feel like they can’t visit our business because there’s the risk of getting sick.
Q: Are there any changes that you expect to uphold after things settle?
A: We’re currently requiring staff to wear masks, which we want to keep going forward considering the safety issues that come with groomers’ lungs, like inhaling nail dust floating around. Now that we’re finally protecting ourselves from those particles, it’s made a huge difference for our health.
We’ve also found new ways to be more efficient with our time. Salon Iris has proven that we don’t have to be in the shops all the time to do our jobs. Because it integrates all our operations, from the Time Clock to payroll, we can finish up management tasks at home. Our groomers can also use the information stored in the app to plan for their appointments the night before, instead of spending time between appointments that could instead be spent with pets.
Q: Have you noticed any larger industry changes resulting from COVID-19?
A: The number of customers using our boarding services has decreased for the time being, but we hope that people know they have the option that, when they do go back to the office, they can trust their dogs to us. People typically drop their pets off just to do errands, not even for work, so we expect to get that business back.
We’ve also gotten a huge outpour of new clients from “coronavirus puppies,” so we need to make sure people will continue taking care of those animals once they return to work—and we hope our boarding options will be what people use to do that.
To learn more about how 123Pet can help with your business’ reopening—as well as other key tips for business owners during this time—visit our blog.
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