Since the dawn of pet care businesses, there have been blotter calendars at the front desk (with plenty of pencils!) but as with most other areas of life, tech is taking over. Pet businesses managing their clients and appointments by using paper calendars & files makes it tedious, time-consuming, and more than occasionally, frustrating. Imagine spending more time searching for information than actually using that information – does this sound like an efficient use of your time?
There are things that technology will never replace. For example, even if a robot could be trained to look after dogs many clients would still prefer the personal touch and security that comes from leaving their dog with a real person.
This does not mean that technology doesn’t have a place within all pet businesses, in fact, modern clients are starting to demand apps, 24/7 schedule access, text reminders, and other tech perks. In an automated app-happy world, pet businesses need to keep up with the times or get taken out by their competition. Here are a few real reasons why it might be time to take tech seriously:
Old School Appointment Books Just Aren’t Cutting it Anymore
There’s one truth when it comes to providing pet services – time is money. This means that every minute spent on anything other than your pet services is actually costing you in the long run. But ignoring “administration” (from payroll to client tracking to appointment reminders) can spell disaster for your business. So….
Either allocate part of your day to managing the business (hopefully not at the expense of servicing your clients!) or hire someone to manage the business, track your appointments, and file your taxes.
Regardless of how well you execute either approach, you’re pretty much-losing money either way. If your new assistant makes a mistake (doesn’t everyone?) or late hours and constant multitasking lets someone fall through the cracks, now in addition to losing money, you’re losing clientele as well!
Look, there are only 24 hours in a day, and even you can’t work all of them. Years ago, there simply weren’t other options, but times have changed and technology has infiltrated every aspect of modern life – including pet business operations. Simple, affordable software can grow your business, save you money, and attract new clientele.
The Benefits of Software For Pet Businesses
Freeing yourself from blotter calendars (which are really hard to read when you’re anywhere but at your business location) is not the only advantage of digital business management solutions. Incorporating pet software into your operation can reduce scheduling mistakes, save you money, automate your client communications, re-engage dormant clients, speed your payroll processing or tax reporting, simplify your inventory controls, even earn you more money!
The fact is people feel busier than ever (spoiler alert: we’re not), and taking the time to stop and schedule a dog grooming appointment or doggie daycare visit simply may not make it onto the daily to-do list, especially if that requires a phone call.
Now, you may have a handful of clients that have their standing appointments on the same day and time every month. Those clients are great to have, and we all wish we had more of them. But what about new clients that are just visiting for their first or second time?
Are they really going to remember that follow-up appointment they booked? And if you say that you’re going to remind them, isn’t this more time that you have to spend outside of providing your services? Are they then going to take the time to call and rebook?
Fortunately, the right pet software program will handle this for you. It will send out an email or text message directly to your client, reminding them of their upcoming appointment and even update your online appointment book when they confirm from that message. This simple reminder can dramatically reduce “no shows”, which in turn, means more revenue.
Data Don’t Lie
Staying ahead of the competition means offering new services to your clientele. But how do you go about this? Well, to start, you’ll need to know what your clients already love. This means knowing what your high-value services are – the ones that sell every month without fail.
There also may be services on your menu that simply aren’t priced correctly, and are costing you more than they are earning you.
The ability to analyze your margins and give you the visibility to pivot and create new and better offers is dependent upon you having all the data in front of you. Which traditionally is something small businesses just didn’t have.
Pet software means you can now tap into that business management capability. Now you can know in minutes which services are the best ones to run a sale on (and how much of a sale you can afford) which are the best sellers, and even the time of year when they’re most likely to sell.
A database of client activity (like you get with pet software) also means you can target your marketing. You can send a promotional offer to everyone who bought a certain product and offer a limited-time discount on their purchase of it with their next visit. You can create new offers and send them to your best customers. You can even create these “campaigns” and they will run automatically! Create a campaign that goes out to every client you haven’t seen in 9 weeks (we haven’t seen you in a while”), or send a campaign to everyone who received a dog grooming service with a polite reminder that, in order to keep your pet looking great, they should return every 8 weeks.
It’s also worth mentioning that pet software is a great place to store your client contact data – every phone number and email address, accessible from any internet-enabled device, anytime you want.
Moving client data into a database makes it searchable, accessible and actionable. Data becomes mobile-friendly, which means faster response times. Your business data is also more easily “backed up” when digital, easily safeguarding your business records.
Pet Businesses Finding the Right Software
So are you ready to say goodbye to your old appointment books and index cards? Congrats! Now it’s time to find the right pet software to fit your business needs.
We know all of the ways the right software can help you build your business which is why we’ve incorporated them into one platform.
Set up appointment reminders, manage payroll (including tiered commissions), offer online booking, and manage your online reputation (get better reviews by asking for them) from within one seamless experience, whether you’re on your phone at home, on a tablet at your chair or at the front desk computer.
Connecting your business to your phone (through Apple or Android) means you can manage your business from the palm of your hand. It also means your staff can check their schedules (without calling in) and get automatically notified of cancellations.
Want to learn more about how 123Pet can help your business? Download a 14-day free trial today and see for yourself. Once you appreciate the impact of software on your small business, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.