Customer service…what does it mean to your biz?

Customer service…what does it mean to your biz?

In the pet industry, the majority of us are super friendly, happy, helpful and kind people.  (The Pet industry ROCKS if ya didn’t know!).  Being at Global Pet Expo in Florida last week, that verberated throughout the event, and that’s with 3,000 booths, 4 miles of trade show floor and nearly 6,000 buyers in attendance.  I can honestly say 99% of the people I met there were incredibly nice, helpful and just happy to be there and be in the pet industry.  Tons of smiles, introductions and infectious camaraderie throughout the 3-day event which was crazy inspiring!

(More to come on that soon!)

While there, I was impressed with the customer service in all areas of the event.  From the GPE staff in the press room and how helpful they were, to the friendly smiles from the front desk staff when you walked in, to the servers providing food or drinks during breakfast and the happy hours, even down to the shuttle bus drivers  – the customer service was outstanding.  Something you didn’t even think about because it was all running so smoothly.  And that is how it should be.  Leaving from a show you should be thinking about the experience, who you met, who you can’t wait to follow up with, what you want to do next in the industry and how you look forward to coming back.

When you go somewhere, even if it is to your local market, if the customer service sucks – do you go back?  Chances are you don’t after a few bad experiences, and maybe you tell your friends and family how bad the customer service was or dog forbid give them a bad review on Yelp. (Yikes!) Customer service is such a HUGE part of your business or rescue group – and it is one area of running your business that you should never ever let slide.

If you or an employee are in foul mood, believe-you-me your customers notice.  Yes we are human with good and bad days, but if you are in the business of running a superb pet business your customer service should be your first priority.  Can the customers be wrong, a pain in the neck – sure they’re human too.  But if you always try to ‘under promise and over deliver’ to them, they are more than likely going to be impressed and tell everyone they know about how great their experience was.  Which of course equals more customers.

Whether you have a pet supply store, vet office, dog training service or facility, or are a solo pet business owner.  I double dog dare you to STOP, whatever it is you were doing, and think what could you be doing better to better serve your customers?

When a customer walks into your establishment are they greeted with a smile and hello from your staff?  Or are they waiting around to be helped and are starting to look annoyed?

When a new customer calls or emails to find out more info about your services, do you get back to them in a reasonable time?

If you’re a rescue, do you really go out of your way to help potential new adopters feel welcomed at your facility (or adoptathon), and give them as much info as possible to help them make the right choice in adopting their furry new friend?  Or does your staff just ignore them or worse give them an attitude when they enter your facility?

Customer service in this day and age often seems to get lost in the shuffle of your iPhone.  However when you are greeted with a smile, ‘can I help you find anything,’ or ‘how can I help you?’  That still goes a long way.

There was one booth I stopped at Global on the 3rd day, and yes I get everyone was tired, including me, exhausted was more like it.  But this booth had a pretty interesting pet product that I wanted to learn more about.  Both of the people in the booth were sitting right in front of the booth up on bar stools, and both were completely ignoring me and glued to their phones.  I started to walk away, but then I decided to go back and stand in front of the booth for a good minute looking at the brochures on the counter, expecting one of them would look up and help.  Nothing! Not even a flinch.  I was about 3 feet from them.  So I walked away.

That is the last thing you want – a potential customer walking away whether it is from your business or booth at a trade show.  Having outstanding Customer Service from the moment someone walks in, from your employees and yourself is key to continuing and growing your success.  In my opinion there are no ifs, ands or BUTTS (haha) about it.  Whether it is you running your entire business/rescue or you have employees – they should be reflecting your brand’s outstanding customer service at all times.  Most likely the outstanding customer service is probably one of the many reasons that Global Pet Expo was ‘TOO Big to Miss’ this year and brought in people from around the globe.

So what is it you can be doing better to serve your customers?  (Your homework for the week, and don’t tell me your dog ate it!) 🙂

Pictures here from Global Pet Expo

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