How to Choose Pet-Care Software for Your Small Business
If you’re running a small business, you may think that your operation is not big enough to warrant using software. However, that’s not the case. Software is not just reserved for large corporations and can benefit even small pet-care businesses serving their community. In fact, it can greatly improve the organization and efficiency of your business while helping you provide superior customer service.
But, not all software is created equal. First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure you choose software that is specifically created for pet-care businesses like yours. To make your final decision, you’ll need to know what features to look for.
To help you make the best decision possible, we’ll cover three crucial things to look for when picking out pet-care software:
- Make sure it meets your communication needs.
- Prioritize a client portal and payment processing.
- Consider scalability and price.
With these considerations in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to make a sound investment that will help you focus on what matters in your business—the pets! If you’re ready to start growing your business and improving your operations, let’s get started!
1. Make sure it meets your communication needs
As a business that is serving a community (and its pets!), keeping an open line of communication with your community and sharing important updates is essential to the functioning of your business. When you’re taking care of people’s furry friends, whether you’re grooming, training, or housing them, demonstrating reliable communication will go a long way in building trust with your customer base.
A few helpful communication features to look for in pet-care software include:
- Customer segmentation. Your customer with five cats is not likely to be interested in the new dog toys you bought! Customer segmentation will allow you to send relevant marketing messages to the right customers.
- Email and text messaging. While there is value to direct mail and you likely still call your customers, being able to also send marketing materials via email or updates about appointments via text will be much more effective.
- Customizable marketing. Being able to add your letterhead to every communication helps you keep your marketing materials cohesive in their design. Plus, you’ll look more professional and tech-savvy. Customization will also make it easier to keep up with pet industry trends in your marketing efforts.
As you know, the owners of the pets are just as important as the actual pets themselves, so you want to make sure they’re happy. Providing excellent communication and superior customer service will guarantee you some life-long customers.
2. Prioritize a client portal and payment processing
A convenient online platform where customers can pay for services and view documents, important information, and updates will really impress your clients. As more and more businesses step up their online presence and implement online portals and services, you don’t want to get left behind! And even if no one else in your community has implemented an online platform yet, being the first will set you apart from your competitors.
Here are a few things your customers could do more conveniently through an online client portal:
- Check and update their pet’s records. It’s important to always have up-to-date vaccination records and any other important medical information. Being able to update this information will be much more convenient.
- Schedule services. Online scheduling tools allow customers to schedule future services even when your office staff is not working, like after business hours or during holidays. This is a much more convenient option for customers who work during your business hours.
- Pay in advance for services. This can speed up wait times at your facility when customers don’t have to wait before or after appointments. It also reduces the paperwork and overhead costs at your facility
- Pay any outstanding balances. If you adjust or add any charges, this will allow them to pay without having to come in for a separate visit. Any payment errors can easily be resolved online.
- Indicate any preferences for their pet. Does their pet have a favorite food? Are they sensitive to being held a certain way? This information can help you more quickly bond with a new pet.
Additionally, finding software that allows you to offer a client portal to your customers will be easier for your customers and your staff. Whenever your staff needs to access information about a pet, they can easily find the most up-to-date information. And when it’s time to update a pet’s records or register a new pet and owner, your staff can easily and efficiently have customers fill out and upload any necessary paperwork before they even bring their pet in!
3. Consider scalability and price
Of course, getting every feature under the sun sounds great. However, we understand that you still need to consider your budget and business plan. Finding an affordable option for pet-care software is crucial, but so is considering the time and money that using software could save you. Automating some of your tasks can help you reduce the hours spent doing menial tasks and better organization can also make your staff more efficient. And that’s not to mention reduced costs when you no longer need to print out and store multiple copies of paperwork.
Another important consideration when picking out software is how well this software will allow your business to grow. More than likely, your goal is to grow your business. As you add more customers, the last thing you want is to be hit with surprise limits placed on your account that ask you to spend more for continued access. To avoid this problem, make sure you really understand the pricing model of the software you’re choosing. You want it to meet your needs now and the greater needs you hope to have in the future.
Whether you’re just now deciding that the pet-care business is right for you or you’re an established small business, understanding how software can help you and how to identify what’s worth the investment is a crucial component to growing your business. Keep the features we outlined in this article in mind when you’re shopping for pet-care software. Good luck!
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