Spreading Holiday Cheer To Your Staff And Clients

Spreading cheer to your team and your customers is a great way to make this holiday season special!

Spreading Holiday Cheer To Your Staff And Clients

The season of giving is upon us, and everyone is making their preparations, both inside and outside the world of pet care. Whether that means breaking out their winter decorations, cranking up some holiday tunes, or filling up their shopping carts - there are a million and one things to do! For that reason (and many more), things can get a little hectic during this time of the year, and in an industry as busy and ever-changing as pet care, it can sometimes be hard to stop and find time to appreciate the little things.

That is why, in today’s lesson, we’re going to go over a few ways in which you can give back to your team members and demonstrate your appreciation to your clients during the holidays.

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Let Your Team Know You Care

Not everyone can be a dog walker or a pet sitter. Between the high gas prices, the long hours outdoors, missing holiday time with family and friends, and the unpredictability of pets, it requires a lot of hard work and a good amount of mental fortitude to do what you do. Anyone who has stepped into this role knows that, in order to really succeed at this job, you have to want it, and you have to have a passion for animals that makes all of the hard parts worth it.

Here at Time To Pet, almost all of us have been in those shoes and lived those tough days, so we know firsthand how amazing all of the work you and your staff do really is. But when you’re living that life day-to-day, it can be easy to forget how special it is and how much you’re really putting forth for your clients and their pets. This is why giving back to those hard-working team members is crucial, especially during the holidays when your business is most likely at its busiest and the days are at their most challenging.

But how do you adequately express your gratitude to your staff and not break the bank while doing so?

There are a multitude of different approaches you can take to treating your staff to a little something special this holiday season, and one of the most obvious things you can do is purchase them all a little gift. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but taking the time to get them a gift card to one of their favorite restaurants or getting their own furry family members a little something can easily put a smile on any staff member’s face. It’s also a great idea to get everyone on your team a holiday card and personalize it with a message from you or your office team to add a personal touch to the gift and give yourself an opportunity to put your gratitude toward your team into words.

However, when selecting gifts for your team, you want to be careful with what you choose. If you want to get staff members gifts that emphasize their individuality, you need to ensure you know them well enough to feel comfortable shopping for them. You want to ensure you aren’t making it look like you favor certain employees over others. Gift-giving in the workplace can toe a fragile line, and you can never be too careful.

To avoid any holiday mishaps and for some additional gift ideas that would be great for your team members, be sure to check out our Holiday Gift Guide For Your Staff blog post.

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Everybody Needs A Little Merch

The holidays are an expensive time of year for everyone, and it can be tough to justify getting gifts for your staff, your clients, and their pets to yourself if you don’t have anything to show for it. So what’s a gift you could give your team and clients to show your appreciation but will also benefit your business in the long run?

That’s right - merchandise! People love to support the artists, brands, and companies they frequent, and merchandise is a perfect opportunity for them to do so. While there are costs involved with the design, production, and shipment of your merchandise, there is also a reasonable profit to be made from it, as well, so long as you have a market for it with your clients. Consider polling your clientele on what merchandise they might like to see from you and work toward developing those first. Of course, you can never go wrong with t-shirts or clothing for their pets, such as bandanas, collars, or leashes.

Once you’ve figured out what merchandise you want to sell and have it made, consider giving staff the opportunity to purchase them at a decreased price or gift them to your team for the holidays. Everybody loves free merch, after all! Gifting your team merchandise is also a great way to avoid any present faux pas that we mentioned in our previous section.

Company merchandise is also a fantastic way to promote your brand. By giving some to your staff and encouraging them to wear it when completing their visits, you’ve given something prospective clients something even more eye-catching to draw their attention to your team members as they’re out walking dogs or signing into a kitty’s apartment building. Not only will that make your team members and your company more eye-catching, but it will also quickly set your staff apart from others and signal to prospective clients that they are a professional in the pet care industry, not just a friend or neighbor helping out.

To help get you started with selling your brand merchandise, you can check out a place like Shopify, which offers an integrated platform for creating e-commerce-focused websites. If you’re looking for resources on how to design your own merchandise and don’t want to outsource, Canva is a great place to begin. It offers free design tools and has features specifically geared toward creating merchandise.

I’ll Take A Doggie Bag To Go

While getting gifts for your staff can be challenging, it can be even more difficult to figure out how to show your gratitude and holiday wishes to your clients and their pets. Depending on the size of your company, you may have anywhere from a handful of clients to several hundred. If your company is on the smaller side, you may decide to spring for something more elaborate like personalized gifts, but if your company is on the larger side, it isn’t realistic to expect you’ll have the time or means to do something on so grand a scale. In these cases, mailing holiday cards to your clients as a gesture of appreciation and season greetings typically does the trick. It can go a long way in helping your clients feel connected to you and your company beyond the sitters assigned to take care of their pets.

Sometimes, however, no matter the size of your company, you might want to go a little further to show clients your gratitude and include a little gift. If that is the case, an excellent solution for you and your team could be to put together a little doggie bag of gifts for your clients. You could include small items like dog or cat toys, a piece of your company’s merchandise (socks or bandanas for the pets are great choices for this), homemade treats (though be mindful of possible pet allergies!), or a gift certificate for some free or discounted services. Whatever you decide to include in your gift bags, including a mixture of gifts for both the pets and their owner is an easy way to be thoughtful and show consideration for all your clients – both furry and not!

If you throw a holiday party or host an event where you invite clients and their pets, that can be a spectacular opportunity to hand your gift bags out. Regardless of how you decide to administer them to your clients, there’s no doubt that you and your company will leave an unforgettable impression on the clients who receive your doggie gift bags!

If your budget is a concern or you won’t have the time or resources to assemble enough doggie bags for all of your clients, you could also consider gifting them to your top or oldest clients. Using Time To Pet’s Reporting features, you can run Revenue or Client reports to easily determine who your most frequent and longest-lasting clients are.

Holiday Promotions Are A Nice Touch

Budgets can be tight around the holidays. Between buying gifts for friends and family, booking plane tickets to see family, preparing to host a holiday gathering, and planning big trips, expenses can pile up quickly. When you add arranging visits or reserving overnight stays for your pets to the equation, one’s financial situation can easily feel overwhelming. That is why, as a business owner, it isn’t a bad idea to do a little something special for the holiday. For example, you could have a special holiday discount for existing clients or run a limited holiday promotion for new clients when they sign up to use your services.

While these options may appear risky when it comes to turning a profit, they can also help to promote your business and cause you to gain traction among potential clients looking to find a good deal on excellent pet care services. For special discounts or promotions you want to run for your existing clients, consider sending a mass message to inform them of the deal ahead of the holiday rush. Perhaps they were on edge about booking professional pet care again and were considering opting for a family friend - your timely holiday deal might just be the thing that pushes them back in your direction if they feel like they can save on some of their expenses.

If you don’t want to offer discounts or promotions on your existing services, you could also consider offering additional limited-time services. For example, if you are interested in photography, consider offering holiday-themed photo sessions for clients and their pets. If you have certifications in pet training or first aid, consider offering consults or training sessions, either virtual or in person. Whatever you have in your skillset, consider how you can apply it to your business and if it would be something beneficial to your clients that they would pursue.

Last but certainly not least, consider enabling the Gift Cards feature in your Time To Pet account to give your clients the option to buy gift certificates for future services for themselves or their loved ones. Gift cards can be a fantastic way to alleviate some pressure on your business, especially when business slows before the holiday rush. For more information on how to enable and utilize Gift Cards for your company, please see our help documentation on the process here: Gift Cards In Time To Pet.

There’s Nothing Better Than Giving Back

Sometimes, the best thing you can do during the holiday season is to give back. If things like client gift bags or brand merchandise aren’t something your company is interested in putting together or isn’t something you can afford, consider donating to a local animal shelter, humane society, or another pet-related charity on behalf of your clients instead. Donating to a good cause is a significant gesture, and it is a meaningful way to demonstrate your brand’s values while making a positive impact on your community.

When it comes to making a donation, there are a few things you could do. You could choose to make an individual donation in a client's or their pet’s name, or you could donate a lump sum from all of the clients at your company. If you donate in your client’s name, be sure to send them a card to inform them that you’ve done so and let them know how much was contributed in their honor. Depending on the charity you donate to, they may be able to provide you with cards of their own that you can utilize instead of your own.

If you don’t want to make a donation for individual clients or use a lump sum, you could also choose to donate a portion of the proceeds from all client services booked during the holidays. Just be sure to inform your clients that you’ll be doing so before they make their reservations or as you walk them through your Pet Parent Onboarding process.

Whatever approach you wish to take, be sure to keep your clients in the loop on what contributions are being made and the type of charity you’re donating their money to. You should also ensure you do your research to be certain that you are providing resources to a legitimate group whose values align with your own and those of your clients. For example, if being environmentally conscious is an important aspect of the way you run your company and is something you advertise to your clients, nothing would sour the holidays quicker than finding out you had contributed funds to a group that didn’t share those same sentiments or acted in environmentally-unconscious ways.

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