While it’s no secret that America’s dogs have enjoyed the extra time since we’re stuck at home during the COVID 19 outbreak, social distance has prevented them from spending time with their furry friends due to the closure of dog daycare centers.
One of those day care centers that had to close its doors is The water bowl in St. Louis, Missouri. The Watering Bowl is the only cage-free daycare for dogs in the region and proud of its commitment to customers and their customers. It is unique in its concept that dogs are allowed to spend time together all day instead of turning four-legged loved ones in and out of boxes.
The business started in 2010 with one location. Ten years later, they grew to four locations and 118 employees. General manager Stacy Summers said, however, that they had made the difficult decision to take leave of all but six of their employees during this time.
“We’re downstairs,” said Stacy. “We all took leave of me except me, the general manager, a branch manager, our HR manager and our three dog trainers.”
Just because the doors are closed doesn’t mean Stacy and her team aren’t working hard. We talked to her about how the Watering Bowl engages customers and encourages cash flow, and how she and her team make the most of downtime.
The benefits of strong community relationships
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is important to build a community. The water bowl has one strong online presence and often interacts with her customers via Facebook and Instagram posts as well as emails with updates on their situation.
“Whenever [COVID-19] When we first hit, we contacted customers and told them what we were doing to fix everything, and then I would say we contacted people three times within that first week, ”said Stacy. “We posted on Facebook and our customers send us messages and reach a lot of social media.” They have posted pictures of their dogs saying they miss us. “
Thanks to this close connection between The Watering Bowl and the customers who serve it, their efforts to raise funds have been very successful.
“To make money right from the start, we offered gift cards from the start: With $ 40, you have $ 50 in your account,” said Stacy. “I opened a Venmo account and people just flooded it. It was wonderful. We received $ 40,000 in the first week. ”
A GoFundMe account This was created to help vacationers achieve the same success after being advertised via email and their popular social media channels. According to Stacy, the fundraiser “reached its $ 5,000 goal in a week and a half.”
The Watering Bowl was also lucky enough to see firsthand how generously local businesses can deal with each other in times of need.
“Treats Unleashed, a local pet store, donated a lot of dog food to our needy people. It was just amazing,” said Stacy.
Adaptation to downtime
Aside from the first gift cards, The Watering Bowl has found several ways to stay relevant and business in a contactless world.
“We offer virtual training, virtual courses, and private lessons,” said Stacy. “We partnered with five nursing organizations and offer them free courses for new nurses twice a week.”
Stacy has also added roadside creativity to the growing list of effective business strategies that they have benefited from.
“We are now offering roadside nail cutting. People will start dropping their dogs on the curb, we will cut their nails and return them.”
The campaign has already got off to a good start– Dates sold out within minutes, even if additional time is added.
The next priority of the Watering Bowl during downtime is to use the empty space – a rarity in a company that never closes completely.
“One of our trainers when he’s not training, cleans and repairs a lot of things,” she said. “He gets really dirty with it. Dog hair is crazy hard to get and we never really have it closed closed, so dog hair had to come out. ”
I look forward to the reopening
According to Stacy, the main priority when setting a reopening date is to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Our owners have actually received approval from the counties that are considered essential, but we don’t want to open until the summit is reached. So we are careful and will not open until that is over.” She said.
When it’s time to get back to business, some adjustments are made to make sure everyone stays healthy, including reorganizing employees and a whole new role.
“We’re going to add a” wiper wormwood “person – that’s what it’s supposed to be called – who is basically responsible for redeveloping the site at every shift,” Stacy said. We also need to think about ensuring that our front end has more staff than our back end because we have to provide roadside services and we need to make sure we have more people on the front. ”
Planning in general will also be different.
“The first thing we’re going to do is withdraw managers to reach their employees, decide who we need most, and get that schedule going,” said Stacy. “We also really need to determine what this schedule looks like. Everything is in the air, we don’t know what the deal will be, so the regular template is not being applied.”
The Watering Bowl is also planning an influx of customers as soon as the forced closings are lifted.
“We will post an announcement, email and post on Facebook and Instagram, and will seriously encourage people to make reservations in advance,” said Stacy.
“We have to think about the capacity with which we can call it full and limit the services.” If we have more to do than our staff allow, we will always withdraw from our employees on leave. “
In the meantime, Stacy is consistently focused on inspiring employees and customers alike to stay strong.
“We tried to stay busy. I’m trying to get some people together to sing and make a video of Florence and the Machine’s The Dog Days are Over. We want to try to inspire and reassure our customers that the dog days will be over soon. It’s also a great way to keep our employees interested and engaged. ”
The Watering Bowl is a great example of how companies can stay focused, relevant, and connected, even in difficult times. If you keep an eye on the customer and offer unique services, you will stay afloat and be prepared for future success.
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