Client experience can be tricky. We all want to impress potential clients in order to show them we’re professional, excited to work with them, and of course, that we’re legit and capable of delivering the highest quality service we can offer!
Client experience is also something I love to nerd over. I was lucky enough to learn so much more about it during my time brainstorming and recording videos for the onboarding section of the Unleashed Website Academy (the course that comes with our Wix website templates for pet businesses).
During that process, and also in chatting with several of our students regarding what they were struggling with in their pet businesses and what was taking up most of their time, I realized some common mistakes were being made that were leading to overwhelm and burnout.
And we know burnout is huge in the pet industry.
By taking the time to improve and optimize your client experience, you can not only avoid the burnout that’s so real for so many of us, but you can also convert more clients into your business and bring in more money (which is the bottom line goal, right?!).
So… more money, less burnout, more freedom. Who’s with it?! **my hand is in the air!!**
Let’s dig into the 3 mistakes you may be making with your current client experience and see what you can do in your business’ backend to solve these mistakes and make for a healthier business!
Mistake Number 1: Not having automated systems and strategies in place.
This is the biggest and most important thing you can do to save yourself from burnout in the pet industry - I’m telling you!
By implementing strategies and systems into your business, you’ll save yourself SO much freakin’ time that I can’t even explain how different you could feel by implementing all you can into your business. I’m talking… more freedom in your schedule, less time at your desk, fewer nights and weekends spent working instead of resting or spending time with loved ones, more vacations, more confidence in what you do and what you offer, and more fulfillment in the business that you created!
I wanted to share with you some of my best tips and resources for implementing this into your business:
1. Utilize email templates! You can purchase our Email Templates for Your Pet Biz or once you’ve written the email once to a client, save it and reuse it as a template. Gmail allows you to save templates, so when you go to respond to a client, you can simply pull the template, customize what’s necessary, and hit send! It’s really that easy.
Here’s a tutorial on how to set that up in your Gmail account right now - it’s super fast and simple!
Here’s a list of essential email templates to have for your pet business and why.
Here are 9 tips to manage your pet business email inbox for time savings!
2. Outline your onboarding system, step by step. That’s right—Create a workflow or flow chart or checklist to make sure you’re hitting all the steps for each client. In our Unleashed Website Academy, we create blank and examples of complete flow charts for you depending on your type of pet business (pet sitters, dog trainers, and pet photographers) so you can see what this can truly look like for you as you implement it into your website and business process. The point of writing down your entire process is:
So you can see what’s unnecessary
Remember each step without having to use your memory
Save time by optimizing what can be automated
Have more support in the future - It’s easier to onboard someone to a system when it’s outlined and ready to go for them!
3. Create an info or welcome packet. We have some right here in the PMU Shop, or you can create your own! This can allow you to outline your process, go over pricing, services, introduce your team, go over expectations, etc. all without you having to do so over the phone with the client 1:1.
Talk about time savings!! You can save yourself SOOO much time by avoiding non-essential questions from potential or new clients. Not to mention… people don’t want to go into business with someone they have a bajillion questions for. It takes up time for them, too, and they’re busy! Imagine being able to answer questions before they even think to ask - Now that’s a great client experience!
4. Set up your website to run as your virtual assistant! That’s 100% and totally doable for all types of pet businesses. Most people don’t realize the power that your website can hold for business… from scheduling calls, booking appointments, and getting people set up in your system to answering frequently asked questions, speaking to ideal clients for you, and resonating with those who are a great fit for your business!
Here’s an article we wrote on how your pet business website CAN work as your virtual assistant in more depth.
Here’s a great post on why people may be leaving your website without booking (and how to fix it!)
Want to learn how to funnel in only dream clients for your pet business? Here’s a great post to make that happen!
If you haven’t yet watched our FREE Masterclass, this is another great resource for pet service business owners (like dog walkers, pet sitters, trainers, and pet photographers) to learn how to use the power of their website. We go step by step over essential shifts that need to happen to seamlessly onboard your dream clients without adding to your plate. Let’s REMOVE the burnout, and add more freedom in your day-to-day life, shall we? Watch the free masterclass here.
Mistake Number 2: Overdoing it with manual tasks in the name of offering ‘personal touches.’
Personal touches are so essential for the pet industry, but unfortunately, many pet business owners take it a bit too far in the name of having a great client experience. But the thing is, you can have the automated systems and strategies in place AND offer personal touches at the same time.
You don’t need to sacrifice the personal touch of your business if you don’t want to - and I wouldn’t want you to do that either!
So, how do you go about it?
Well, the first thing to know is… you don’t need to do everything in the world to have an amazing, personal, elevated client experience! In fact, just because you add more awesome steps does not make your process more effective or better than another pet business that does less!
So the first suggestion here is to comb through what’s really important to you when it comes to offering that personal touch. What’s essential? What means the most to you and your clients? Start there!
My second suggestion is to see how you can automate SOME of these personal touches to free up more time for either more clients OR to serve them in another special way. Not all personal touches need to be manual tasks! If you’re:
Sending welcome gifts
→ Can you… have your VA help you with this? Can you bulk set up the gifts so they’re ready to go with each new client?
Scheduling check-in calls
→ Can you… Have an automated email go out X amount of time after their first service? Can you use a call scheduler for this so you don’t have to go back and forth via email to find a good time?
Personally attending all meet & greets
→ Can you… start training someone to come with you who can eventually take over? Can you check in on the client after the meet & greet to see how it went instead of going to all of them individually?
Sending personal emails
→ Can you… still create email templates and then customize what’s needed to be customized before sending rather than custom drafting every single email from scratch? (Our email templates can help with this!!)
Start to take stock of everything you love to do for new or prospective clients and see how you can cut back on the time spent on those tasks. Which of the touches are necessary? Which of them can be automated or assisted rather than done from scratch every time?
That’s a great way to save you some time so that you can truly focus more on clients when you want to because you have the freedom in your schedule to offer that headspace for them!
Mistake Number 3: Not setting proper boundaries with clients from the beginning.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read in Facebook Groups or heard from clients about how frustrating it is when clients:
Text them at odd hours of the night
Take up so much of their time it feels like it’s not worth it to work with them
Don’t understand the new processes you may be trying to implement
And soooooo much more!
But the thing is (and this may sound a bit harsh)... 99% of the time, these boundaries and issues happening are our doing, not the clients. Obviously, there are exceptions to that rule, but time and time again, it’s because we’re not setting proper guidelines and boundaries for our clients to follow from the very beginning.
Are they not listening because they’ve walked over your toes successfully before?
Are they texting you at odd hours because you gave them your personal number and told them you’re here for them?
Do they take up so much of your time because you give them your time whenever they ask for it?
Do you just cave when they don’t understand the new process on the first go-around?
Sound familiar? Well, the good news is you can change this moving forward! Here are some suggestions for setting proper boundaries with clients:
Note: These may not be as applicable for you depending on your type of pet business, so select the options that can work for your business and get it implemented asap to save yourself some headache and burnout!!
1. Don’t give out your personal number.
Or, if you do in cases of emergencies, consider creating an auto-reply or using Google Voice to keep it separate from your personal phone number. An auto-reply can let them know that you’ll get back to them if it’s an emergency, but for regular scheduling questions or requests, please use the booking software to contact you (or whichever mode of communication you prefer).
Remember that even though you may be okay with clients having your personal number right now, as your business grows or you begin to hire staff to handle scheduling and other inquiries, you may run into a harder transition with your clients and your team! The more you can set boundaries upfront, the better!
2. Create a Boundaries Document for them to initial.
This is not a mean thing to do! It sets everyone up for success when working with you and allows them to know what to expect, what to do when they need to get in touch with you, etc. That way, everyone’s on the same page and you can always reference it when needed.
This sort of information you can add to a welcome packet, an automated email that goes out to new clients, or your CRM system if you have one! I add a boundaries document to my CRM system, Dubsado, before every web design project begins just so it’s made clear what to expect in terms of communication, what systems we’ll be using for their project, etc.
See an example of this document below! I have section headers that go over: client responsibilities, our responsibilities to the client, communication, and payment information. This helps them fully understand how the project will work and other important information that perhaps they didn’t read as closely in a longer contract!
3. Create FAQs and blog posts to address common concerns or questions.
This is such an easy way to save time. If you get questions over and over again, it’s time to write a blog post about it, so you can add that blog post link to your welcome packet or emails that go out to new clients! Just that one blog post can save you SO much time in the future, let alone can help with your SEO by adding content to your site. So many benefits here!
4. Remember, if someone crosses one of YOUR boundaries, make sure it’s clearly stated somewhere and improve your client experience for the next time! Don’t blame your client!
This needs to be clearly stated to your client in the form of your welcome email, a welcome packet, a CRM system form/contract, etc.
Other things that can be helpful for them to know:
What is your typical response time?
What to do in different X situations?
What your photo turnaround time is (pet photographers)
How long does it take to get a visit report? (pet sitters)
What’s the support in between sessions look like? (dog trainers)
What do they do if they have general questions?
Client experience can make ALL the difference when it comes to pet industry burnout and let me tell you, you can absolutely save SO much time by implementing processes and systems into it. You can keep the personal touch of your business while doing so, and most importantly, by setting proper boundaries into your business, you can have yourself a fulfilling and stress-reducing work environment for yourself and your team.
May seem impossible now, but you can 100% make it happen. It’s not about your capabilities. It’s just a simple shift in strategy.
We walk through all of this in that free masterclass I mentioned earlier, but if you want to dig in even deeper and learn how to ditch the burnout for good, our Burnout Guide for Pet Businesses may just be the key. It helps pet business owners like you implement proper boundaries, learn to say no, and establish systems of self-care in your daily life so you can thrive in your pet business again. Check out the guide here and get rid of that burnout petpreneur!