What To Do When New Pet Sitting Clients Call For Last Minute Service
Hi everyone! For those of you who don’t know, I live in The Northeast, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Well, we just had a crazy week of storms that left most people in our area without power for many days. Some are still without, including Pet Nanny’s Client Happiness Manager, Sue. I was lucky enough to only have lost power for about 12 hours, so I was able to pick up the office responsibilities for Sue.
Side note: this is something that I really like to do from time to time, because it gives me the opportunity to connect with our customers on a one-to-one basis, which I don’t often get to do. Anyhow, I’m writing today because I was reminded of a very good rule of thumb that I seemed to have forgotten. Here it is…
DO NOT jump through hoops for new pet sitting customers that call you on a weekend or after office hours.
I made the rule for myself when I used to manage the business on my own and I have communicated my strong feeling about it with my subsequent office managers. I have stressed the importance of them not wasting their time on these types of tire-kickers. Today, however, I didn’t follow my own advice.
This is what happened. I received an inquiry via email from a new prospect. He was in need of service starting tomorrow (Monday.) Since we had lost so much business due to the horrific weather around here over the past week, I decided to break my rule and try to make it work.
First, I mapped the distance from 5 of our sitter’s homes to this customer’s home. I then sent out a blast email to all the sitters explaining the situation and to see who would be interested in the assignment. When I didn’t receive any responses via email, I started calling the sitters directly. After I finally nailed down a sitter to take the assignment, I contacted the client to tell him the good news. He told me he could meet her at 3pm (it was 2pm.) I quickly contacted the sitter again and worked out the details, shortly after which, I received an email from the prospect telling me that he made “other arrangements.”
Of course he did! This is what they ALWAYS do and I know this. This has happened to me thousands of times. Why did I think this time would be any different? I ended up wasting a few hours of my Sunday afternoon that could have spent with my family, to try and accommodate a person who I pretty much knew would make “other arrangements.” I also became a pest by bothering valued members of my staff on their Sunday afternoon. Man! There was a little voice in my head saying, “Told ya so!”
My point in all of this is twofold…
- First, you MUST have Policies and Procedures in place for your pet sitting business and you MUST follow them! They are there for a reason.
- Second, a person that is going to expect you to jump through hoops on a weekend for a pet sitting service starting the following day will always expect you to jump through hoops and will certainly not appreciate your efforts or the efforts of your staff. They are not an “ideal client.”
In an upcoming post I’m going to cover the topic of designing your Ideal Client Profile and then creating a pet sitting business that is fueled by these awesome clients. Remember, there is no need to cater to the type of client that will make you crazy and not appreciate you, your service, or your sitters. I realize that this post may sound as a bit of a rant, but that is not my intention. What I hope is that my story will serve as a good learning lesson for all of those who own their own pet sitting business. Also, in the spirit of finding the silver lining… Sometimes an experience like this is good, because it reminds us of why we created our Policies and Procedures in the first place. Lesson enforced!
YOUR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: If you do not already have your Policies & Procedures written, sit down and start brainstorming what you would like to include. You can always modify this document, but you MUST have something in place or you will continuously be chasing your tail. My next post will cover some of the specifics of creating this document for your pet sitting business.
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