Bringing a customer file to life
Groomers still reticent to use computers, but anxious, however to monitor their clientele in a serious and professional manner, achieve this by means of a long and tedious recording procedure using cards, on the basis of one card per customer or, more reasonably, per dog.
Computers automate this work naturally and without any effort! You see, whether we use paper cards or digital records, customer monitoring is essential in our profession: when did we last work with the animal, what work was carried out, what products were used, what problems were encountered, what price and what supplement, if any, were charged... Can a truly professional grooming team seriously do without such or probably much more information?
And, paradoxically, this information is almost as useful for the customer as it is for the team: for example, owners who haven’t subscribed are almost invariably mistaken regarding the period of time elapsed between their appointment and the previous one and I’ll let you guess in whose favour this mistake always is... The fact that you can show them a dated record will often facilitate negotiations.
An outward facing customer file...
But, a customer file must not only live within a business, it must, on the contrary, explode outward, and there are many ways in which this can be done!
If you have been wise enough to note not only each customer’s telephone number but also their exact address, you are now able to produce correspondence allowing you to remain present in your customers’ minds between appointments.
Let us suppose that to liven up the point of sale you decide to run a monthly promotional event (which is generally recommended). The problem is that whatever the quality of the signage used may be, information regarding this promotion will only concern customers with an appointment during the promotion period. As you will agree, this limits the interest of such promotion policy, or makes the latter almost counter-productive; what is the point of offering a price reduction to attract customers who a... customers already?
To avoid highly expensive means of communication, such as press releases or advertising on local radio stations, the efficiency of which has not been conclusively demonstrated, there only remains direct marketing, in this case, personalized mail, which your manual or digital customer file precisely enables you to do.
A personalized letter can be sent also, as a friendly reminder, to customer whom you have not seen for a month or two: most of the time, as we have just said, memory minimizes the time elapsed since the last appointment!
Accurately completed record cards in which, for example, one has taken care to note (once and for all) the date of birth of each dog, is an opportunity to send birthday greetings at the appropriate time with, why not, the promise of a gift in the event of a visit (a toy, a price reduction, it is up to you to decide).
Easy with Check-in DOG
This of course is relatively fastidious work if carried out manually. These are merely mechanical operations, if one uses a software specifically designed for grooming parlours as is the case with Check-in DOG.
Cost of the operation
You will tell me, and rightly so, that personalized correspondence, albeit automated, is costly: apart from the cost of paper and the time spent inserting letters into envelope, postage (and unreliable postal services...) have to be taken into account also.
A first solution is that you can use the services of a specialised company for these time-consuming operations: thus, you (greatly) reduce the time spent, and also reduce (a little) the global cost of the operation.
With Check-in DOG: e-mails rather than letters
Now, if you have been wise enough to enter your customers’ email addresses at the same time as or instead of their postal addresses, and if your computer system is equipped for this (as is the case for Check-in DOG), you will be able, advantageously and as efficiently at least, to replace your paper correspondence with emails, thus reducing costs to an almost marginal level.
What if customers are not equipped?
You will object that all customers do not wish to entrust you with their email address, or that some do not have one: that remark is increasingly less valid as an observation of parlours which entrust that part of their work to specialised companies demonstrates every day.
Indeed, even when well equipped, in computer terms, the optimal operation of a file takes time, nevertheless, and all the more so since a grooming professional is not necessarily experienced in digital operations: that is so true that service companies offer to deal with these operations on your behalf at very competitive rates, as is the case, for example with Check-in DOG.
Tackling « forgotten » appointments
On that basis, several other possibilities exist: there is a tendency for an increasing number of customers to appear to «forget» their appointments, which unfailingly results in disorganisation and a loss of business for grooming parlours. There often appears an urgent necessity to refresh memories the day before an appointment. A good software, specifically designed for grooming parlours, can do this entirely automatically, via email or SMS: this is, at any rate, what a software such as Check-in DOG can do for you.
Now, if you have no competition…
Of course, if you are lucky enough to operate within a catchment area in which little or no competitive pressure prevails, the usefulness of such measures may seem to you to be debatable. However, if you face competition, take care not to ignore all these modern means of promotion and communication; if you persist in ignoring them, it is to be feared that competitors may not adopt the same attitude.
We wish you the best
On the other hand, with a little method and a good grooming parlour management software, you can multiply opportunities to be remembered regularly and fondly by your customers. That is the best we can wish for you!
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