Customer service is fundamental to success in the pet-care industry. Whether operating a pet grooming salon, a pet supply store, or a pet-sitting service, the way customers are treated directly impacts brand reputation, customer loyalty, and overall business performance.

Kevin Thackrah, Director of Petpals, emphasises the importance of exceptional customer service in pet-care business success. He shares insights from Petpals Romsey business owners, Matt and Louise, who have built a thriving enterprise by prioritising their customers.

Each pet-care business, especially in franchising, operates under a unique brand identity and set of core values. By adhering to these standards, businesses ensure that every customer interaction reflects the brand’s mission, vision, and quality expectations. This consistency strengthens the brand’s reputation, making it a trusted name in the industry and community.

Matt and Louise’s top tip is, “Familiarise yourself with the customer service standards set by your brand and understand its values and expectations regarding customer interactions. Our core values are reliability and trustworthiness, so when looking for businesses that matched our ethos, Petpals stood out. Aligning with a brand that shares your values ensures you’re on the same page, guaranteeing that customers and their pets are always well cared for.”

Customers develop expectations based on their experiences with the brand. By following brand standards, businesses can consistently meet these expectations, ensuring customers receive the level of service and product quality they associate with the brand.

Personalise the Customer Experience

Personalisation helps build deeper connections with customers. When pet-care businesses remember and acknowledge customer preferences, pets’ names, and past interactions, it shows that they value their customers as individuals rather than just transactions.

Matt and Louise’s top tip: “Strive to create personalised experiences for customers whenever possible. Remembering regular customers’ preferences or greeting them by name can go a long way in building rapport and loyalty. For example, we recently began offering an extra lunchtime walk for a client whose dog doesn’t fit well in group walks. Whether we’re overcoming obstacles like illness, a vehicle breakdown or extreme weather, we always find a way to ensure no client or animal is let down.”

Happy Customers = Happy Business

With many pet-care businesses offering similar products or services, outstanding customer service becomes a key differentiator. In a competitive market, exceptional customer service sets a pet-care business apart by building a positive reputation and fostering trust among consumers.

Matt and Louise’s top tip: “Your customers are the heartbeat of your business, so make sure to listen to their feedback. Actively seek their input and take their suggestions seriously. This valuable information can help enhance your service delivery and quickly address any concerns that arise. Also, encouraging customers to leave reviews demonstrates to potential new customers just how dedicated you are to providing exceptional service.”

Like any business, success in the pet-care industry thrives on repeat business. Happy customers who feel valued are more likely to return. By delivering exceptional service consistently, pet-care businesses can increase customer retention rates and build a loyal customer base that supports long-term success.

Follow Through on Promises

By fulfilling promises, businesses demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction, exceeding expectations and reinforcing trust. This dedication to delivering on commitments leaves a lasting positive impression, fostering strong customer loyalty.

Matt and Louise’s top tip: “Honesty is key. If we commit to something, count on us to follow through. We believe in doing right by our customers and going that extra mile. Of course, we don’t promise the world. If something’s not doable, honesty is always our policy. When you hide things, only to have them revealed down the line, your business quickly begins to look untrustworthy. Setting clear expectations is key, but surprising our customers with a little extra now and then? That’s what keeps tails wagging and customers smiling.”

Utilise the Support on Hand

Particularly in franchising, pet-care businesses often have developed standardised procedures and protocols that define the customer experience across all locations. By utilising the training provided, businesses ensure consistency in delivering the brand experience, which is crucial for maintaining customer expectations and trust.

Matt and Louise’s top tip is, “Before launching our own business, especially for Matt, we weren’t exactly seasoned in customer-facing roles. Shifting to a role where we are assessing clients, chatting directly with them, and handling those responsibilities was a big learning curve for us. Running a business means wearing many hats – everything from crunching numbers and taking care of customers to spreading the word through marketing and more. Luckily, a head office team is always there with solid support to help navigate these waters. When you lean into that support, regardless of your background, you’re ensuring top-notch service for your customers. Remember, you are all part of the same brand family, so delivering stellar service at your location boosts the reputation of the entire network.”

Pet-care franchises benefit from a wealth of experience and know-how in customer service strategies that have proven successful. The training and support offered provide businesses with access to these best practices, enabling them to implement effective techniques that have been tested and refined.

Without loyal customers, there is no business to talk about. As the most important stakeholders in any business, it is imperative to ensure customers receive top-notch service that will make them keep coming back. At Petpals, franchise owners like Matt and Louise are a testament to how fantastic service – for customers of the two- and four-legged kind – can build a business that stands the test of time.