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Nancy Guinn

Provide the Same Customer Service Online That You Do in Your Pet Store

Just a few extra steps show you’re paying attention to the people and pets behind each order.

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AT DOG KRAZY, we excel at customer service. Associates at our six brick-and-mortar locations learn everything they can about the pets we serve. That personalization extends to our online store. Having the same connection proves challenging without face-to-face conversations, but we show it can be done.

We keep a log. Our first step in getting to know an online customer is to create an order log. With every order, we include a sample for their pet, based on what they are ordering or have ordered. The same sample never gets sent twice, as that info goes into the log as well. We also learn how many pets are in the home. That way, when an order arrives and includes a sample for each pet, it shows we are paying attention.

We customize. We offer Krazy Krates, custom subscription boxes for dogs. Customers order by pet size and tell us about their dog’s likes, dislikes and any allergies. We also ask if there are cats in the house so no pet gets left out, and we personalize the box with the pet names in large, colorful lettering — it’s touches like these that customers don’t forget. Of course, all of this info goes into the log.

We practice gratitude. Every online order leaves our warehouse with a thank you card. Nothing fancy, just a postcard that says, “Thank you for shopping small.” On days I’m at the warehouse packing orders, I also write a note thanking repeat customers for their continued support. More often than not, I receive a follow-up email thanking me in return.

We pick up the phone. If we are offering a special on a product an online customer regularly orders or get in a new one we think their pet will love, we call to let them know. Again, this shows the customer we are paying attention, and that phone call can easily turn into a $200 sale.

We remind our customers who owns and operates Dog Krazy. When we added autoship to our online store, we included a postcard in every order that featured my husband, Chris, and me. It not only promoted the new service, but also showed that the same people who ran the business when it was one location still do.

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When the pandemic began, we put additional resources into our online store. Combined with these efforts, we have seen a 1,148 percent revenue increase from online orders. Masks and social distancing may be the current normal, but we can still connect with our customers. Add the personal touches small businesses are known for, and yours will continue to grow and flourish.

Nancy Guinn is the founder and president of Dog Krazy Inc., an award-winning natural pet supply store in Virginia with six locations. She helps other small businesses succeed through her contributions to industry magazines, webinars and podcasts. The Guinn household includes Nancy’s husband and business partner, Chris, and their furry and feathered inspirations Sushi, Pork Wonton, Stirfry Fatguy, Tala, Jimmy Dean and Max.

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