As I discussed in a previous blog posting, signage gets lot in the shuffle. However there are certain things that we do need our clients to fully understand. Things like what our hours are, what our pickup and drop off policies are, vaccine requirements and the like.
The best way to handle this is to put them into a policy letter or brochure format. Most of the Office programs have a letterhead template and a brochure templte and they are easy to use. I am sure there are other programs out there, and you could have them printed for you, but it is just easier for me to do them myself as I need them, and I can change them to reflect policy changes if I do them myself, so I use Publisher and keep them up to date.
You can create a PDF to place on your website using any PDF creator (many are available online for free) or use a Word Document for people to download if you like. I also keep my Policy Brochures in a brochure holder on my front counter. Each new client gets one handed to them. I make sure that they get that along with my personalized leash, service flyer and magnet business card. These are my "Greeting packet" and every new client gets it. I sometimes put it in a folder like we used in school for reports. You know the type. They have two folders on either side of the folder and hold these items easily. I will discuss my client welcome packets in another pst, but for now, back to the policy letters.
There are certain things you absolutely need to make clients aware of.
- Drop off and pick up policies
- added fees you may need to explain
- dematting policies
- vaccination requirements
- flea policies if you do not accept flea dogs and what you do if you find them on their pet
- leash requirements
- payment types and billing policies
- appointment or walk in policies
- anything else that you have particular to your shop
State your policies briefly, be clear and do not get into long paragraphs about WHY you are requiring certain things, just state your policy. For example, my letter states, "We require your pet to be on a slip lead or choker collar or in a carrier. No retractable leashes allowed. We can provide you with one if needed." I didn't get into the reasons, like "Your dog can slip out of a regular collar and we are not responsible if it does, and retractable leashes are dangerous and can leas to falls, injuries and damage to property".
There is no need to explain. Your policy is your policy. If a client has questions then you can explain it one on one, but I rarely get questions about my policy letter. They understand my rules. That is the key right there.
Policy letters come in handy when a client fails to arrive on time and you cannot groom their dog that day. You can simply say, "Our policy letter staes" and there is no arguing. It is also great when you are charging more for flea baths or late pickup fees. It is all spelled out and there is no way they can say they didn't know about the policy.
Hopefully you can use this guide to help you make a policy letter that will work well for your shop. I would not want to work without one.