Customer Service Doesn’t End When the Puppy is Gone
I realize that at this time there are very few who are having a problem selling puppies. Covid-19 has been a burden to many, but in regards to puppy sales it has been an absolute gold rush. But I have a question for you breeders out there. What are you doing to ensure your sales continue after this pandemic is behind us? Are you taking advantage of this opportunity to develop a lasting relationship with your customers? Will they remember your name in 2 years? Or are you collecting your money once the puppy is gone and moving on to the next customer who is desperate to find a new puppy because demand is so tight?
As I mentioned in previous articles, dog breeders need to remember that they need to sell themselves as much as they sell puppies. If you just sell puppies and forget about the follow through the next time that family buys a puppy they will go to whatever website they found you on and look for a puppy. Maybe they will find you again, but more than likely they will find one of the thousands of breeders out there to buy their next puppy. If you treat your customers with the compassion and respect they deserve even after they are home, the chances are the next time they need a puppy they will pick up the phone and call you before they even look online. That’s what your goal should be.
Things you should be doing to follow up with Customers:
- Follow up phone calls to make sure everything is okay. Remember most of your customers are not as knowledgeable about dogs as you are. Let them use you as a resource on what to use for fleas and ticks, how to potty train, how to stop chewing. The more valuable you are to them as a resource the more likely they will buy from you again.
- Send birthday cards to the puppy. Take the time to find out its name and send a personalized birthday card. I guarantee this will increase your chances of selling them another puppy.
- At least once a year send them a “birth announcement” of your expected litters for the upcoming year. Even if they are not ready yet they will tell their friends and family. Remember they purchased a child from you, not a dog, so do not worry about being too cute. The more over the top relating your puppies to babies the better.
- Guarantee the health of the puppy, no questions asked. Your customers made a leap of faith in choosing that puppy of yours, honor them by making sure you are what you promoted yourself to be. If the pup has worms or another issue, work with them. If you have to send a check to cover the cost, do so. It will only cost you a few dollars, but learn from this, there are ways to prevent these problems in the future through good kennel management. But first and foremost, do not argue with them, most will not lie to you, but be diligent and make sure you are only paying to correct the issue. It is not your responsibility to pay for flea and tick treatment, vaccinations, etch. Their “Child” is sick and they want him/her to get better. If there is something major wrong with the puppy, make it right. Offer them their money back or replace the pup with a new one. We all make mistakes, but we are judged by the way we handle these mistakes. If there is something wrong with the puppy that you did not disclose and you knew about it, please quit breeding dogs and find a new profession. This makes the whole industry look bad.
In closing, remember, sell yourself not the dog and you will develop lifelong relationships with your customers. Especially now, when puppy sales are easy, develop those relationships so when things slow down, your customers REMEMBER YOUR NAME.