Aug 7, 2018

How First Impressions Play a Role in Your Dog Boarding Business

We think it's safe to say that first impressions play a big role in any aspect of your life. It could be a job interview, a first date or opening your doors to a new potential client. No matter the scenario, first impressions play a huge role in the success of your endeavors.

But, let's talk about your dog boarding or dog daycare business. Whether you have a pet or not, it's common knowledge that pet owners treat their pets as their precious babies. They'll do whatever it takes to ensure that they are in the best care possible.

Pet owners want a boarding kennel who will treat their pet as if it was their own. They want someone who will keep their pet happy, safe, and healthy while they're away. So, they're going to do their research before choosing a boarding business!

Here are four questions a customer typically asks when investigating your business:

  1. Can I find out the information I need on their website?
  2. Are they reputable?
  3. How easy is it to book my pet?
  4. How clean is the facility?

Is Your Website User-Friendly?

Before potential customers call or book an appointment, 81% are going to research you online. Your website is a huge part of your first impression, so make it count. This is often the first opportunity to build trust with a prospective customer, it is your first chance to inform, delight, and engage.

If your website is hard to navigate, they may give up and move on to the next. Here are a couple of ways to make your website easier to navigate.

  1. Ensure that your content is legible and straightforward. Don't use hard to read fonts or colors that don't work with your website background.
  2. Make your pages easily scannable without an overload of text. Break information into small chunks with headings to separate them. Essential information like your hours, rates, and contact information should be easy to find. And don't forget to make sure your content is up to date.
  3. Enable your search bar. Even if your website is easy to navigate, sometimes it's easier to go directly to the search box to save some time.
  4. Branding. Branding. Branding. Make your page heading titles clear on the topic and be consistent. Make it clear who the website belongs and what your business stands for.
  5. Include a clear Call-to-Action and/or contact form on each page. This makes it easy for your customers to contact you without having to look for your email or phone number and open up an additional application to contact you.

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

Having a mobile-friendly website is part of a good user experience. After all, 63% of website visits were from mobile devices in 2017. If your website is hard to use on a phone, that's going to create a bad first impression.

And it's not just customers that care about it—mobile friendliness also impacts where your website shows up on Google searches.

Google has an algorithm that chooses which content pops up on a Google search. There are many different factors that decide where your content pops up, with mobile-friendly being one of them. Page ranking is important: 33% of people click the first result, 15% click the second, and 10% click the third—and it goes down from there.

Google is starting to implement a mobile-first ranking. This means that Google will crawl the mobile version of your website before the desktop version. So, if the mobile version of your website is out of date, your website may come up later in search engine results—essentially giving away business to your competition!

Are People Saying Good Things About You?

Bringing their pets to a complete stranger can cause a lot of anxiety, so they want to make sure that you're reputable. Once a potential client discovers you and is considering you for your business, they'll want to check out what people are saying about you.

Believe it or not, 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don't even know according to research done by Nielson. You want to make sure that you showcase all of the good things are people saying about you and acknowledge the bad.

No matter how great your product or service is, there will always be the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you're lacking customer reviews, try asking for them in your monthly newsletter or in a 'Thank you for your visit' email.

How Easy is Your Booking Process?

Ease of use is the new competitive advantage. You want something that is not only easy for you but makes the booking process easier for your customers.

Having kennel management software allows your customers to book online anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

ProPet Software is a cloud-based kennel management software that can make your booking process simple and effortless. It's one click away for your customers to book with you directly from your easy to navigate, mobile-friendly website. You will stand out among your competitors and put yourself in the number one spot as the best kennel in town.

How Clean is Your Facility?

You can have an above average website and an easy streamlined booking process, but it all comes down to the cleanliness of your kennel. When it comes down to it, your clients trust that their dog is in the best care possible and it goes without saying – that cleanliness is one of their number one priorities.

How clean, is clean? Cleanliness is more than just dusting and sweeping – you want to make sure you implement a disinfecting schedule. With every facility being different in size and the difference of extent of dog traffic, each cleaning schedule is different.

Wysiwash makes sanitizing easy, safe, and fast, so it's easy to sanitize your kennels daily. Plus, it's biodegradable and pet safe formula is effective against parvovirus, Bordetella, canine flu, and many other viruses and bacteria.

Having a clean kennel is not only beneficial for the pets that stay with you, but it leaves a lasting impression on your clients. Smell has the unconscious power to drive human behavior, so having a kennel that's unclean and has an unpleasant smell can send off a customer with a bad long-lasting impression.

At the end of the day, exceptional first impressions are essential for your dog boarding business – but you have to make sure you follow through with those expectations. Constantly monitor your website for new and improved tools you can use to ensure easy navigation and ease of use for your customers and keep up to speed with the cleanliness and maintenance of your kennel to gain approval from your current and potential clients.

Guest post by ProPet Software

ProPet is full-service kennel software that streamlines the day-to-day operations of a pet business with our clean and intuitive user interface. Learn more and read more business tips for pet businesses on their blog.

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