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Never Miss a BONE.
how to help clients cope with pet loss with kennels software

The death of a pet is hard on any owner. Make it a part of your customer service plan to prepare for this situation because it’s inevitable and you don’t want to be caught off guard. It’s not easy to know what to say or do when one of your clients is grieving over a pet, but all of your customers will appreciate your time, comfort, and support through this hard time.

Our own ways of mourning tend to seep into the ways we help our clients deal with death and grief, but you will be a better support system for any client if you understand that people grieve in different ways. There is no “right” way to express emotion because everyone is affected by their own experiences, cultural backgrounds, and religious beliefs.

Here are a few things you can do to comfort your client to the best of your ability:

1. Validate their grief. Non-pet owner friends and family may make your customers feel as if they are overreacting in being emotional over a lost pet. Let them know that you understand how important their pet was to them and that you can sympathize as a pet lover and owner.

2. Send a sympathy card that’s personalized and signed by you and your staff. Let them know that you care on a personal level and that they can lean on you for support.

3. Have a tissue box handy at the front desk. This may seem like a small detail, but this minute gesture may be a saving grace for a customer that unexpectedly falls into tears. Available tissues will also reassure them that they are not the only ones who grieve so they don’t have to worry about publicly showing emotion.

4. Provide them with an outlet for their emotions. Let them talk, express anger, and do what feels right to them at that moment. Dealing with grief comes in different stages, so it’s best to be prepared for any ways your customers will act.

5. Share stories that you remember about their pet. Refer to your kennel software for their Pet Profile to make it easier to keep track of specific details. Any client would love to hear that their pet was remembered in positive way!

6. Send a donation in their pet’s name to an animal charity. This is a grander gesture that you can save for your loyal customers!

7. Give them ideas as how to organize a memorial service for their pet and recommend contacts that specialize in funeral service, pet urns, cremation, etc. If you don’t have these contacts in mind, look them up now!

8. Give them the numbers of support groups just in case, but let them assess their own need for it. Here is a website for looking up a support group in your area:

9. Know how to remove their pets from your customer records. Here’s how to do it in PawLoyalty kennel software:

Go to Customer Management.

Type in the pet’s name or the owner’s first or last name.

Hit Find.

Find the correct pet and hit the green Remove button.

Now you won’t make the mistake of sending automated emails associated with an owner’s deceased pet.

Go Above and Beyond

Don’t be caught off guard when it happens! Create a specific customer service plan for helping clients cope with pet deaths. Writing down specific steps to take will make the process a lot easier for you and will help you to train your staff in assisting customers.

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What does your facility do to comfort pet owners who are dealing with their loss?

keep dogs calm and collected with kennel software

“Dogs are people too!” is a commonly heard amongst the canine-loving community. Dogs do feel the same stress response that we humans feel when we are put into uncomfortable situations. When welcoming a new dog, most facilities require a temperament test to see how dogs respond to humans and other dogs. If you find that a dog is skittish about staying the night then you’ll want to make sure you know the basics to easing their discomfort.

Stressed out dogs cause other dogs in close proximity to be stressed out as well. You don’t want one dog’s anxiety to create a domino effect with the rest of the pack. Solving the problem upfront and comforting a dog from the start will nip the problem in the bud before a single dog’s problem turns into a multi-dog one.

Here are a few things you can do to welcome a nervous dog into your facility:

1. Maintain a routine

It may take some extra effort to make sure you follow a dog’s home routine, but you want your business to be a home away from home rather than as temporary storage. Customers are always on the look out for facilities who are flexible enough to pay special attention to their dogs.

At the time of check-in, make it a habit to ask the pet owner for any special instructions such as specific feeding, medicine, nap, and play times that you can note in your kennel software. Recreating a dog’s home schedule will reinforce familiarity and help anxious dogs to adapt better to new surroundings. You’ll also receive reminders to administer medications once you add the dosages into your Pet Health Record. A printable Room Card will also help you keep track of these important feeding and medicinal times. Relieve a pet parent’s burden of guilt by providing an environment that is as close to comfort as a dog can get.

If a dog has a bed or home food that they prefer, especially during an overnight stay, then make a note of it in your PawLoyalty kennel software for your employees to reference later. Don’t be a “one size fits all” facility. Making small adjustments to customize a dog’s stay will prove to customers that you provide genuine care for each dog that comes in.

2. Recommend extra playtime.

Some resorts may be all-inclusive, but we recommend you have “extra playtime” or “cuddle time” as an add-on activity, especially for skittish dogs that need more affection. Some dogs are adverse to anything new and hesitant to adapt. The extra playtime can help them familiarize themselves with your staff and other dogs and allow them to enjoy their stay.

3. Do not reinforce anxious behavior.

It’s not recommend to give a dog a treat when he or she is scared or acting aggressively. Treats are seen as rewards for good behavior, therefore you will only want to give a dog a treat once they have calmed down.

In PawLoyalty kennel software, you can look up a dog’s behavioral habits and social history in the Pet Health Record. On your end, you can add special notes about a dog’s stay or change in behavior to share privately with your staff members or publicly with pet owners so that owners can check in on their dog’s social progress.

4. Distract them with toys and activities.

Take their mind off of their stress levels with a game. If you can get a dog to have fun, they’ll forget about all their worries. Start them off with one-on-one playtime with you. A game of fetch or a Sniff N’ Seek scent exploration activity should do the trick. Gain their trust and then slowly integrate them with the other dogs. Try putting them into a playgroup of dogs preferably with relaxed temperaments, or at least similar size.

Kennel software should help you get to know your customers. Once you give your dogs a temperament test and find out their likes and dislikes, you can store all of that valued information in your dog daycare software. That way, the next time your regular customer comes in, your employee can do a quick review before check-in so that they know how to best accommodate your customer and how to note any changes in behavior.

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What special procedures you take to welcome a nervous dog to your facility?

thank you to customers through kennel software

As a business owner, you know that your loyal customers are what make your business. You literally could not do it without them. They allow you to do what you love and it is important to make a point to share with them the gratitude you feel.

People like to feel appreciated and and your customers come back because, alongside your amazing services, is a warm and welcoming attitude. Trust is a foundational component to any customer-business owner relationship. No loving pet owner would leave their furry family member in a foreign environment unless they truly believed their pets would be in good hands.

Genuine gratitude through “thank yous” and small gestures of kindness can help to build that trust. This is why we want to stress that it is important to invest in your customers because they will keep coming back and telling their pet owner friends about how wonderful your company is.

Here are a few ideas for ways that you can show your customers appreciation:

1. Customer Appreciation Event

Have a customer appreciation event. Highlight that one of the great joys of working in this industry is the community you create around you. Often the best gift you can give your customers is to allow them to share in that community and meet other like-minded, animal loving people. It could be a "yappy hour" where people come for some appetizers and mingle or it could be a week long event where you give everyone who visits a little something special like a homemade dog treat or polaroid of them and their dog.

2. Hand-written greeting cards

Send out cards and emails during the holidays. Hand-written ones are the best, especially for your regular customers. Bonus: Buy dog treats in bulk and tie them to the cards with ribbon. Written well wishes to the owner and a small gift for their pet is sure to win over your customer!

3. Discount Cards & Family/Friend Referral Specials

Any holiday can be made into something special, especially when you are running a small business, which means you know each and every one of your customers. Run a discount special, like 30% off one night boarding for current customers or 20% off for their family and friends. This will make the current customer feel appreciated, give them an incentive to come back, and give your business a list of prospective clients among their family and friends. Make sure your customers know about your referral program, so that they will have more of an incentive to tell their family and friends about your business. A free daycare or night’s stay for each referral should do the trick! Market any promotion with the PawLoyalty email marketing kennel software feature so you can conveniently send one email blast to all of your current customers.

4. Useful Merchandise

For marketing purposes, you should be thinking of handing out freebies so that loyal customers can tote your logo around. Just make sure you are giving away useful items that won’t just end up in a junk drawer or as a chew toy. A few things might be a tote bag or a water bowl for the dog on-the-go.

And who doesn’t like a free Starbucks card? Did you know they have desserts for dogs too? It’s called a puppacino! This is basically whipped cream in a small cup that Starbucks employees give out to dogs. Ask for it the next time you need a sweet treat for you and your canine companion.

5. Photos of a Dog’s Stay

Snap a few photos of the dog’s day and share them privately with your customers or ask them for permission to post on Facebook. Even just a quick text or image sent to a customer while their dog is in your care will brighten their day. Customers will love seeing pictures of their dogs, which they can also share with their friends as well. This is a great way to market your business on social media and keep pet owners knowing that you are giving special attention to their dog!

6. Extra Time & Advice

Customers may want advice on products, tips on training, or just to chat about their dog’s day. Encourage your employees to share something meaningful with at least one dog owner a day - that is a business practice that just takes a minute or so a day but will have a huge long term impact on your company’s reputation of really taking a moment to show you care.

If you like to write, you may also consider starting a blog that you can update with information your customers care about whether it is at home grooming tips or what the coolest new puppy merchandise is. You could also ask a knowledgeable employee to answer questions that they frequently hear asked by customers.

There are many special occasions which you can use as inspiration to send gifts of appreciation:

When a new dog is adopted or when a mother has just recently had puppies.
Congratulate these pet parents! This is a chance to say “Here’s a free stay to welcome your new pup to our family too!”

When a dog has fallen ill.
Your Pet Health Record will come in handy when a customer reports that their dog feels sick. You can keep record of their illnesses for their parents to be able to review and through your dog daycare software you can send out “Get well” emails!

When a family has just lost a pet.
Give condolence cards to families who have just suffered a loss. This will especially be hard on the kids so you may want to send a card to the parents and if you have pictures that you’ve taken of their dog at your business, send them over as well. Take time to let the family that you understand the pain of their loss and that you are available for support.

When a dog has a birthday.
If you don’t host birthday parties at your facility, you can still send a birthday note via email or snail mail. PawLoyalty kennel management software makes it easier for you to keep track of your customers’ birthdays and automatically sends out a greeting email to them on their special day.

When it’s their anniversary at your facility.
It’s a big deal of a dog has been coming to your facility for a year! Thank them with a free stay, a gift card, or a doggie bag filled with merchandise and treats.

When there is a holiday.
Holidays and peak seasons are times when most facilities increase their boarding prices and set a minimum amount of days. This is a time when customers will pay more for your services. With your increase in revenue, use a portion of your budget to say “This holiday season, we’re thankful you chose us!”

  • Halloween - Send your pups home with their own jack-o-lantern pails filled with treats. 
  • New Years & Fourth of July - Owners want to have fun, but their dogs are feeling tense and paranoid. Have a plan to keep dogs feeling calm and happy like hosting a scent-hunting activity that will keep them occupied. 
  • Christmas & Thanksgiving - These are times when customers will be expecting a treat or two from you. Don’t leave them disappointed. Bring homemade cookies with dog-safe icing! 
  • Dog-specific Holidays - From “Take your pet to work” day (usually falls anywhere between June 20-24 annually) to National Pet Week (first full week of May), be sure to be aware of any special occasions that you can plan for something special or even to wish your pet owners are happy holiday through Facebook! 

Overall, it really is the thought that counts. It doesn’t matter how much your gifts cost or how often you send them, but that once in a while you take the time to send kind words and a gifted reminder of how thankful you are for your customers.

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What are some creative ways you thank your customers?

The Senior Citizens of the canine world are undoubtedly troopers! But as strong as they are, their fragile states should always be given special attention during their stay.

Vets classify a dog to be a “senior” when he or she is about 7 years old, but depending on the dog’s size, smaller dogs have shorter life spans and their senior years hit a little earlier on.

From alleviating joint pain to administering feedings, seniors need to be prioritized in your daily routine. Here are a few ways to make sure they are happy, feeling at home, and completely comfortable at your facility:

1. Separate them from other dogs.

Most facilities separate dogs through size and temperament. If you haven’t thought to separate senior dogs into their own playgroup, then consider it! As if you were running a care home, keep them in one place away from hyperactive dogs to ease their moods. Have one employee in charge of all senior dogs so that they will receive all the one-on-one attention they need.

2. Give them a comfortable outdoor experience.

While playtime may be at specific times of the day for more active dogs, recommend a purchase of extra playtime to pet owners so that their dogs can combat any joint pain. This is where comfortable flooring is also a necessity, especially outdoor. While concrete is a durable surface, senior dogs may not find it so appealing when they want to lie down on a soft area. But even if you do have concrete floors, you can always tuck blankets and extra cushioning in a shaded area for dogs to relax on.

Go the extra mile by being a doggie masseuse. A massage treatment would be a helpful service to add to your menu. When you massage a dog’s joints, make sure they are lying in a position that won’t strain them. Check on them from time to time to see if they need help to change position or to give one side of their body a break from their weight.

3. Feed them as they would be fed at home.

Try to keep older dogs on their same at-home feeding schedule, as well as with the same type of food. Recommend to your customers that they should bring their own food from home so as not to disrupt their dog’s diet or eating habits. Seniors tend to have more sensitive digestive tracts and can be prone to diarrhea.

Ask pet owners to fill out their pet profiles with diet information in PawLoyalty kennel software. This will allow you to print out a room card with a feeding chart and check off the times the dog was fed and how much food was eaten.

4. Stick to their medication schedule as prescribed.

Being responsible for dozens of dogs at a time can make it difficult to keep to tasks that don’t flow with the regular facility routine, but having a Pet Health Record to keep track of medical information and to send you reminders will be a huge help.

Alongside the feeding, your kennel software will allow you to take note of when you administered the medicine and how much of it was consumed.

5. Be aware of their reduced physical senses.

If a dog cannot see you or hear you, your approach may be surprising, which might cause them to see you as a threat and react aggressively. Hold them gently and let them adapt to your presence before trying to move them. Make noise on your way as a warning so that you don’t startle them. Be patient if they tend to have the attitudes of grumpy old men.

6. Every dog has his time to pass.

If a senior dog passes away during their time at your facility, then make a plan of informing their owners and knowing what you will do with the body for the time being. It’s a disheartening part of having a pet in your care, but accepting it and training your employees on how to deal with death and the deceased pet owners will help. Make it a part of your plan to also remove a deceased pet from your kennel software so that their owners will not continue to receive notifications from your email marketing campaigns.

Throw Us a Bone!

Do you have any insights and tips on care for a senior dog? Share them!

dealing with difficult pet owners with dog trainer software

At times, human customers can be more difficult than their canine counterparts. All customer service situations are different, but whether you are on the phone or in person, it’s always helpful to have a plan in mind just in case your customers are on their worst behavior.

Hopefully you won’t run into this issue too much with your kennel software to help you out, but just in case, we’ve listed a few tips you should remember when dealing with difficult customers.

1. Understand the problem.

Don’t just simply nod your head and agree with them, or even worse, disregard their frustrations. Listen and then let them know you are listening. Their problem may be an issue with you, your services, or a specific employee. You won’t be able to help your customer if you cannot fully grasp why they are upset. By first relaying that you understand and being able to paraphrase the customer's problem, you are equipping yourself to handle the situation.

2. Be aware of your surroundings.

There may be other customers listening in and your employees will surely be watching. Remember that as the owner, you should set an example for the rest of your staff—and the dogs. The canines in the room are sensitive to tension and you don’t want them to start adding their two cents in by barking and raising frustrations. By giving yourself a wider perspective, you will able to manage a clearer assessment of the situation and be less likely to give into any negative emotions.

3. Maybe it’s not you.

This customer may have been having a streak of bad days for reasons unbeknownst to you and they see you as an easy target to growl at. Maybe you should even feel sorry for this person because they most likely have no outlet for their stress or anger.

A good tip to remember when dealing with these types of customers is to wait a moment before speaking (or risk getting your head bit off). When they have paused between their complaints, try to decipher whether they are waiting for your answer or are trying to collect their thoughts because they are not yet finished. Sometimes the escalating anger is inevitable and unfortunately you will just have to be the bigger dog and take their barks with your head held high.

If you can no longer feel sympathy for your customer, then feel sorry for their dog! That little guy is the one that will have to endure a car ride home with their angry owner. This customer’s bad day does not have to be yours, and feeling sympathy instead of anger will help you to not take anything personally and give you more clarity on how to respond.

4. Know when to offer their money back.

If your customer seems like they just want to blow of some steam rather than find a solution, you should just offer them a refund. This is more ideal than offering a discount for any services because you probably don’t want to have to deal with this customer again. Sometimes stressing out over a difficult customer is not worth the money. You have other customers to tend to and there is no point spending too much time on a customer that you simply cannot win with. 

5. You do this for the dogs.

Difficult customers may get you upset, but lighten your mood by thinking about the perks you provide for the canine customer. Even if their owner did not like something in particular, hopefully their pooch did! Did the canine client make new friends? Did he have a great afternoon nap? One mistake should not detract from the all the other excellent ways this pup has enjoyed your facility.

At the end of the day, this difficult pet parent provided you with feedback that you can use to make your pet business better! Even if their feedback may not have seemed constructive, you can refer to this instance as an example to train your employees on how to deal with future difficult pet parents. Learn from all the negative feedback and over time you’ll be seeing less difficult customers and more happy-go-lucky dogs.

To try to avoid the occasional run-in with a difficult pet parent, read our other Customer Service article: 7 Ways to Improve the Client Experience.

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How do you deal with difficult pet owners?
improving the pet boarding client experience with dog trainer software

Happy clients are more likely to refer your business and keep your customer retention levels high. Keeping clients satisfied does not have to be strenuous or demanding of your time. PawLoyalty kennel software provides you with simple features that assist your staff in running your work day smoothly. You’ll have more time than you did before to actually enjoy your business.

Here are 7 simple ways to improve the client experience while simultaneously making your own business processes easier:

1. Provide an Easy Booking Process

Happy Client: An online booking system lets customer book appointments when it’s most convenient for them. This makes a big impact, especially if the most convenient time for them to book is after-hours when you are closed.

Happy You: You don’t need to worry about being by the phone when a customer calls. You don’t even need to be in the office! Cloud-based software allows you to check customer reservations online, which means that you can monitor automatic confirmations or confirm appointments yourself when it’s convenient for you too!

2. Send out Automatic Alerts

Happy Client: Customers, like most of us, are very busy and appreciate you reminding them of upcoming appointments and reservations. Your kennel software automatically generates and sends email reminders on your behalf. The software can customize the amount of days you prefer to send a reminder before an appointment and any vaccination expirations so they don’t get turned away when they show up. You can also contact them through both phone and email to ensure that they receive the message and add a personal touch.

Happy You: Sending out reminders will seem thoughtful. Reminding customers of their arrangement lowers no-show rates and prompts customers to communicate with you in case there are any issues. This helps you to plan and optimize your time by confirming the appointments and gives you an opportunity to up-sell activity packages with the emails.

3. Provide a Quick Check-in

Happy Client: Customers are often in a hurry during drop offs and don’t want to spend the first 10 minutes of their appointments waiting in line while you take care of other customers. Don't make customers wait any longer than they need to. Customers will be happy and maybe even surprised at how your system only takes seconds to confirm their arrivals.

Happy You:
The drag and drop feature of PawLoyalty kennel software is an extremely user-friendly feature that will ensure a quick check-in, a shorter wait time, and an on-time appointment. 

4. Update Clients throughout the Day

Happy Client: You can update pet owners about their dogs’ well-being in several ways. Snap a quick picture of their dog sleeping, eating, or playing and send it via email or text. You can also send them a list of their dog’s activities as well as a food and medicinal report. When customers cannot be with their dogs, it will be a nice surprise to receive a “pupdate”.

Happy You: Updating owners gives your business a personal touch and this will save you time during the check-out process. Customers won’t have to take up time asking you what their dogs did or have to confirm they were given their medication.

5. Provide a Quick Check-out

Happy Client: Customers may have more time at the end of the day to pick up their pups, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t tired from work or traveling. Pet owners with separation anxiety will be even more eager to be reunited with their furry companion. Lessen the wait time with the same drag and drop feature for the check-out process. Your dog daycare software is what’s going to trade in the time that might have been spent in the waiting room for time with their dog instead.

Happy You: Check-out is at the end of your work day as well. You don’t want to be at work overtime because customers arrived five minutes before closing and you still have to get through each one. The drag and drop feature makes the process run smoother and any fatigue you have at this point will not have time to affect your customer service.

6. Follow Up

Happy Client: After a new customer visits your facility for the first time, go the extra mile by following up with a tailored email asking them to rate your service or check in on how they thought the dog’s service was. Make sure to let them know that you appreciated their business and hope they will stop by again. If the experience was good, ask them to tell their friends. You might want to add a small tag line to do this, such as: If you enjoyed our service, please tell your friends. If not, please tell us why.

Happy You: Customers like to feel special and receiving a personal email is likely to gain returning business and referrals. Both wins for you! PawLoyalty kennel software integrates with your website and with Facebook. Providing follow up increases the chances that the next time a customer books an appointment with you online, they won’t have to think twice about sharing your business with their network and following your social media sites.

7. Share Quality Content with Your Pet Parent Customers

Happy Client: Once a month, share content that pet parents will love through a newsletter, blog post or email. These can be in the form of articles, pet products, training tips, and health information. Extra credit is if you do not not send the same information to everyone, but rather sort the content you send to your clients by grouping them. Categorize pet parents into the types of dogs they have, for example sophisticated dogs, active dogs, lazy dogs, puppies, or by breeds.

Happy You: Your clients will recognize you as a knowledgeable source of pet information and they will be more likely to follow you on your social media platforms, which will help your marketing strategy and builds customer loyalty.

Throw Us a Bone!

These features are all-in-one, which means that you only need one resource to enhance several areas in your business. What is your favorite kennel software feature?
pet professionals loyal customers with kennel software

While we advocate that marketing your products and services is important to a growing brand, providing a great customer experience to returning pet parents should come first!

For pet care professionals, word of mouth referrals account for more than 60% of new customers. Your amazing customer service is the best way to ensure that pet parents will want to recommend your business to their friends. Here are 6 reasons why you should invest your time in developing customer loyalty:

A Loyal Customer…

1. A loyal customer will spread stellar testimonials to their pet owning friends.

They will become advocates for your brand with their pets as evidence of a job well-done. Their testimonials can be quoted on your website and the direct referrals will turn into more revenue for your business.

2. A loyal customer’s reviews can trump a critic’s negative review.

Loyal customers are known for comprehensive experiences. They are seasoned customers that will have multi-layered insight on your operations and therefore are more equipped to write an all-inclusive review than a pet parent who just drove by or a 1st time customer.

3. A loyal customer will have no problem following and engaging with your social media pages.

They will be happy to “Like” your Facebook will boost your exposure in the online community and enhance your credibility with potential customers because they will be able to quantify by the amount of “Likes” how much your customers love your pet business.

4. A loyal customer will help you improve the quality of your service.

Loyal customers will be a regular source of feedback on improvements because they are familiar with how your facility operates. This has dual results because not only are they going to be making helpful suggestions, but they will not need much assistance. This frees up your time to get to know new customers and their furry counterparts.

5. A loyal customer will spend more than the average customer.

Their visits to your facility will feel so routine that they will convince themselves that your services are worth the price even when times are “ruff”. They won’t have to think twice about the new services and promotions. They will probably be excited to treat their dogs to something extra and be the first to tell their friends about it.

6. A loyal customer can turn a staff error into a positive.

If one of your new employees makes a mistake, loyal customers will not hold that against the brand in its entirety. They are more understanding than other customers because they have already been impressed by your facility’s performance level in the past. These customers are less likely to complain because they will not want to ruin the routine. In fact, they are more likely to rave about how well your business handles a bad situation.

Many pet resorts will use their kennel software to enrich the pet parent experience. They give them the ability to book online, provide Pet Health Records customers can access from home, share notes about the pets’ stay and even use it to remind staff members about the pet parents’ preferences. Using pet grooming software or dog daycare software is like feeding two dogs with one bone; it engages customers and keeps staff informed.

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Still using kennel connection or kennelsoft? Kennel software has come along way since 1990… get a FREE evaluation account with PawLoyalty and see why pet care professionals are making the change.