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How to communicate with your pet business clients during the Coronavirus Crisis

by | March 15, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic is causing so much fear and anxiety not just for people but for our pets too.

Pets are part of the family and many owners are concerned about how they will get the care they need – particularly if they have to self isolate.

At the time of writing, people over 70 living in the UK were being advised by the Government to stay at home.

Many will be pet owners who will be concerned about how this will impact on the wellbeing of their animal.

So how can you help your clients during the Coronavirus crisis?

Below is a video of a class I did on Monday March 16th about ways to communicate to your clients about what you’re doing to support them.

You can watch the video, and I’ll summarise the key points covered here.

In the bullet points, I refer to some templates which are:

Coronavirus statement

Coronavirus procedures

Advice for you and your pet

‘I can help’ printable

How are your clients feeling about Coronavirus right now?

  • Scared about money/jobs
  • Scared about not being able to go out
  • Worried for the health of their pet
  • Fearful they might need to give their pet up

How can you help them?

By responding with reassurance, empathy and understanding and explaining what you can do to help them in the current situation.

I’m going to go through each scenario listed above and make some suggestions of how you might want to respond.

Scared about money/jobs

Explain what options are available for the services you provide.

Are they employed and will be getting paid regardless?

If they’re going to be working from home, can you continue to care for their pet?

Does their pet have a routine? Do you offer training walks? Is them missing walks going to be disruptive/unsettling?

Once this is over, they will need the service you give them and that they have come to rely on.

But without regular income your future is at risk.

If they’re self employed and WON’T be getting paid how can you deal with this?

These clients will be considering cutting back on paying for services they can do themselves.

What can you do to try to retain that relationship?

Can you offer meet up walks as a package?

Could you create a keep in touch/maintenance package with reduced services or  a retainer to keep their space?

These clients rely on you but are in a difficult situation and this needs understanding.

But they will also appreciate that as a small business you are in the same position and if you can’t earn a living this could lead to you having to close. 

Scared about not being able to go out

What happens if your existing client falls ill?

What can you offer to do to help them?

Are you prepared to go to their homes?

If so what steps will you take to protect yourself?

Create a ‘Coronavirus processes’ PDF and leaflet to explain this.

Scared about not being able to go out

People aged over 70 face being on lock down for four months.

Your existing clients and contacts will know people in this situation.

They are vulnerable and will be feeling isolated, fearful of falling ill and worried about their pet.

What can you offer them?

  • Walks
  • Visits (if not ill – this can help tackle loneliness)
  • Pet food collection
  • Shopping

You can provide:

  • Tips on exercising pets at home.
  • A free training challenge – check out this one by Claire Lawrence at High Peak Dog services https://3sts.co.uk/
  • Advice on brain games, feeding from Kongs/Lickimats.
  • How to monitor their pet’s weight.
  • How to stop their pet and themselves getting bored.
  • See the Coronavirus UNITS tab in my Facebook group for inspiration.

Join my free Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/publicitytipsforpetbusinesses

People remember acts of kindness in times like this…..

Worried for the health/wellbeing of their pet

As a pet professional you are a trusted source of information, the person they will turn to in times of crisis.

Create a ‘Advice for you and your pet’ PDF or leaflet for your clients so they have the advice to hand.

Also refer to your  ‘Coronavirus processes’ so they  know how things work if they want to book in a walk.

Going the extra mile in a crisis means you’ll make an impression for when things settle down…

Fearful they might need to give their pet up

This is a heartbreaking situation and sadly it is something people will face.

How can you support them?

Do you have any contacts who offer fostering services or is this something you provide?

Can you provide contact details, so phone number, website, e mail address for the local rescue centres in your area?

Add these to the ‘Advice for you and your pet’ PDF or leaflet.

Use what’s happening to create a caring community where people feel supported

Along with Alison Price from House of Henry I’ve created some free templates.

They are:

Coronavirus statement

Coronavirus procedures

Advice for you and your pet

‘I can help’ printable

They are free – put the code CVHELPFREE and you can download here:

https://www.houseofhenry.uk/coronavirus-comms-templates

Each template is self explanatory, with prompts for you to follow – of course you can amend these and make it your own.

The prompts are there to ensure you consider the different things your clients might be thinking about.

Further tips:

Embrace Community Spirit

People are really pulling together to support each other and as a business owner you can do your bit.

What can you give back? Can you do add-ons like pet food delivery or shopping? Use this situation to build referral partners such as pet shops, groomers, vets.

Look for Coronavirus Support Facebook groups in your local area. Join and offer to help.

There is a website here where you can put in your postcode and find what’s happening in your area: https://covidmutualaid.org/

Try to find solutions

If your grooming salon is shut – can you go mobile? Create online lessons clients can buy?

If your regular training venue is shut – can you train outside? Use a local dog field?

Does the park feel like a germ zone? Can you find more secluded spots?

Remember people trust you to care for their pets – they are part of the family

What can you do to go the extra mile and make them remember you and stay loyal?

Work on your business

If you are quiet, take the time to work on future proofing your business.

Complete unfinished online courses, work on blog, creating your own online offerings, look at new systems you can put in place to help in future.

Product business ideas

What can you do to put a smile on people’s faces?

Can you pop a loo roll in with your  parcels, a pack of doggy biscuits or a cheery postcard?

We need to lift each others spirits.

Finally….

Ignore negativity – try not to absorb any doom-mongering you might see.

Don’t respond to ‘neggy’ posts. Rise above it.

See this as a chance to shine and create new opportunities.

If you found this post helpful and are looking for tips on pitching to local publications, you might like to read How to pitch to journalists about Coronavirus

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Publicity and Marketing for Pet Preneurs Businesses Mobile

Hi, I’m Rachel, a freelance journalist and PR and content consultant and crazy dog lady!

I’ve written so many stories about animals and pet brands that I wrote a book on how pet entrepreneurs can do their own PR.

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