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Complaints from Pet Sitting Clients: Finding the Good

As human beings, our gut reaction to a client complaint is usually defense. We initially feel a bruised ego and quickly look to justify it by placing the “real cause of the problem” on the side of the client.

It takes maturity and professionalism to listen and understand with an open mind what caused this complaint in the first place.

Was it a lack of (or mis-) communication? Was there a gap in expectation?

Regardless of the reason, a client complaint can often turn into a massive win for you both.

It’s all about perspective.

Our friend and colleague, Sarah Burns (Menly’s Pet Care in Michigan) shares a wonderful lesson learned in this regard:

Sometimes wisdom can come in the most unexpected of places.

This week while I was taking some time to relax and get my nails done for the holidays, I had an unexpectedly inspiring conversation with my nail stylist.

He owns the shop and of course knows I own a dog walking company so he often talks about business with me. This week he said something that really got my attention.

I was explaining to him that I had to recently fire my long time employee because a client called to inform me that the sitter was sitting in the car for the majority of the visit and only letting the dog out for a quick potty break.

After finishing my story he said “We are grateful for when people complain because that means they want to still work with us and are giving us the opportunity to fix what is wrong.”

A Positive Spin Makes All The Difference

Wow! What a positive spin on something most of us hate!

How many times has a client complained to us about something and we have gotten defensive about it? Rather than look at it as an opportunity to improve ourselves or our business, we often think the client is a PITA (Pain In The “back side”) or just trying to minimize all the work we do.

What if instead, when a client comes to us with a complaint we look at it like my nail stylist? What if instead of feeling defensive, we actually feel grateful?

The reality is that most people will not take the time to complain to you, they will just stop using your services. How many times have you gotten bad service and actually complained?

Most of the time, we just vow never to go there again and make sure to let our friends and family know about our bad experience.

When a client takes the time to complain, not only is it a sign that you’ve made them feel comfortable enough that they can say something to you but it’s also a sign that they’re wanting to continue using you!

They’re giving you the opportunity to fix what is wrong and continue with a better relationship going forward.

Of course there will always be the few people who complain just to complain and that needs to be handled a bit differently. But maybe now when you’re average client comes to you with concerns, you can chose to look at it less from a defeating stand-point and more of a position of power.

Your client just gave you the key to fix a problem not only with them, but with clients going forward as well!

We as humans never stop growing and learning. You can never reach a place where you’ve learned everything you need to know, no matter how long you’ve been pet sitting. So the next time you have do deal with a client complaint, smile and be grateful for the new challenge!

Over To You

Have you received a complaint recently that turned into a wonderful lesson learned for you and your pet sitting business? We’d love to hear your story in the comments.

Josh Cary

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Josh Cary is a respected and well sought-after speaker and business consultant within the professional pet care industry. Since 2009, having grown his own pet sitting business, Josh provides his industry with the tools, support, and resources to build and maintain a thriving and respected pet business.

With a strong focus on digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and website development, Josh’s one mission is to help you Get Found First through a professional and effective website.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. I had the most shocking call couple months ago. Similar to your complaint, a client call me telling me she setup a Ring Door Bell Camera and wish she didnt cause a sitter of mine who has been doing her pet sits for 7 years happen to cut short her visits. And she then reseach our GPS system shows she been checking in and out of different locations. It shocked me cause this is one of my best, trusted and reliable pet sitter. But then sad part the client was right (as not most all cases). My sitter happent to cut short her trips. This experience was brutal for me. I had to refund over $400 worth of pet sits and also have to deal with my pet sitter whome has majority of my long term clients. This experience have taught me a lot. It allowed me to fix the bug with the pet sitting software we use as it did not alarm us about the non GPS match check in and out. It allowed us to catch the issue before it escalates. It allowed me to learn to handle difficult situationa and turn it to positive. But most of all, I am happy the client just used us again this week which in most cases would have walked away. Customer Service is the KEY!

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