How often do we as pet sitters get to be a fly on the wall and listen in on an actual gripe from a pet owner?
And how valuable would it be to hear what is currently bothering a client most about her pet sitter?
Well, through a friend of a friend, I got into a conversation with a woman about pet sitting in general and she decided to share this story with me.
Click below to read the transcript of this video.
“I’m pretty happy with my current pet sitter, but she seems so stressed and rushed in every communication I have with her lately that I wonder if she’s really spending the amount of time with my dogs that she says she is.
Her handwriting on the notes she leaves, for example, shows her stress or hurry (messy, scrawling, very slanted, abbreviations), and she hasn’t been using any formatted note lately (with her name on it or something “official”); it’s just note paper, usually from the tablet I have on my kitchen counter. Last time the report was in a corner of the note I left for her, and it doesn’t look good.
“Bottom line is trust your gut! It sounds like something is way off. Have you considered asking your pet sitter directly why the ‘rushed and stressed looking notes?’
“That’s a good point about trusting my gut. I feel I can trust her in most ways. And I know my dogs like her. I think I’ll just ask my neighbor to let me know how long her car is here (I’m in the suburbs with a driveway so it’s pretty easy to do).
“I don’t think she would handle a direct question about the notes very well, and I’m not sure it’s fair to ask since there could be other reasons–maybe she has so much fun with my dogs that time slips away and suddenly she realizes and writes the note quickly! That’s possible, but it doesn’t look good.
“I do prefer a nicely-formatted note–it’s more professional and it feels more respectful to me than a hastily scribbled note on just anything. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive; it could even be an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper cut into 4 with checkboxes done up on Word or something, for that matter. Maybe I’ll offer to design a master copy she can use for copying; that would be a way to open up the subject, anyway.”
So how wonderful is it to get this insight. There’s a few things going on here. First, it seems like the pet sitter has either lost interest or pride in the work she’s doing, OR her business is growing and she is trying desperately to keep up.
In either case, it’s not good for her, so what can you as pet sitter learn from this?
For one thing, remember that you work for your client. It is your responsibility to perform the service that your client hired you for and is paying you for as professionally and respectfully as possible.
Also, it’s obvious that even though we do not perform our job in the presence of our client (and because pets can’t speak), does not mean that we are not being monitored, watched or evaluated.
Something as simple as the notes you leave can leave clues and insight into the job performed.
So back to the original client here… how eye opening is this insight from a pet owner? Do you think the pet sitter knows or even cares that there might be an issue here?
As you see, this client is a bit hesitant to confront the sitter with her big concern.
While none of us love, desire or hope for confrontation in any way, how impressively amazing would it be for you to, out of the blue, check in with all your current clients with something like this:
I just want to say thank you for sticking with me as your pet sitter. It really means a lot as my business continues to grow.
From the obvious look of things, Fido and I seem to get along wonderfully. However, I also recognize that it’s equally important to keep the ‘human’ client just as happy, and I want you to know that I value your ongoing input and feedback.
If there is ever anything that you’d like to ask me about, or have a question for me regarding the service I provide, I want you to know that you can approach me directly with any thoughts or concerns.
I want to do the best job possible for both you and Fido, and this kind of direct feedback will allow me to do so.”
This will not only impress your client, but it will also assure that you maintain an active, happy, and lifelong relationship with your client, and it will also indirectly provide you with some amazing positive feedback you can use as well.
Bottom line, take pride in the work we do as professional pet sitters, and realize that nothing goes unnoticed by the clients who are paying our salaries.
[/spoiler]So, what do you make of all this? Have you ever been confronted by a client of yours with something like this? How do you think the client should handle this? Should she ignore it, or does something need to be said?