Data shows that up to 65% of dogs and nearly 43% of cats could be overweight or obese. As vets are finding more cats, dogs, and other pets to be gaining weight, it is more important than ever that pet parents are getting the support they need to keep their animals healthy.
Brian Bannatyne, CEO at Kura, says: “Your customer’s furry friends are a part of their family. Whether it is spending time with man’s best friend or snuggling up every night with their cat, pets mean the world to every pet parent. So, finding that their pets are piling on the pounds can be worrying. At this time, whether you’re a company providing insurance to pet parents or a pet food brand, making sure you’re educating and supporting your customers is essential.
“And with education around pet obesity changing in recent years, it is important that your businesses are providing advice and guidance to pet parents along the way. No owner wants to think their pet’s health is declining. Being able to offer effective and empathetic customer support is essential to help them navigate this difficult time – leading to healthier pets and happier customers.”
Managing an influx of calls
As pet parents struggle with the rising costs and concerns of owning an obese pet, business owners might find they are receiving an influx of customer communications. Back in 2021, the average pet insurance claim was £848, but now a ligament issue could cost your customers up to £1,578.28 alone. Whether these are queries about pet products or complaints, making sure you’re able to communicate effectively in a timely manner is important to maintain happy customers, after all, a pet is a loved member of the family.
As more customers come against increasing vet bills due to their pet’s health, there might be an increase in claims. This can lead to an increase in call demand. If your business doesn’t have the resources it needs to manage an influx of calls, you can have a breakdown in communication with your customers. A trusted customer service outsourcing partner can ensure you’ve got the capacity to manage any influx of customer calls which might occur – keeping your customers connected and engaged.
Owen Campbell, Operations Director at Kura says: “This is already a difficult time for your customers, don’t add to that by making it difficult for them to contact you. Whether they want to know how healthy your products are or update the information about their pet, ensuring you have the right capacity to answer is essential for happy customers.
Empathy for worried pet parents
Not only is obesity an issue that can cause concern, but it can also lead to other health problems for your customer’s pets. With obesity being linked to other health concerns, such as diabetes, arthritis, and more, this can be a worrying, and costly, time for your customers.
Great customer experience includes managing all customer communications with empathy and compassion. Whether your customer simply needs someone to talk to or some guidance after the death of their pet, making sure you have the right advisors in place is crucial. Managing customer’s emotions when they are running high can make the difference between loyalty and loss, so choosing advisors who have the ability to handle this emotional capacity, while still finding solutions that work for you and your business, is essential.
Owen continues: “Great customer service isn’t only being able to answer customer’s questions, but it is also by offering empathy and support. The pet obesity crisis is a difficult time for many pet parents, so ensuring you’ve got the right people to offer emotional support can make the difference between an easy and difficult customer encounter.”
Providing advice and guidance
Another way to support and maintain a good customer-business relationship is through advice and guidance. A good customer service team can help your customers find products and services which suit their lifestyle and help their pets.
Pet food brands can help customers find a diet plan or recommend slow feeders to help prevent pet obesity. Guiding your customers through all their options can help them make informed decisions when buying for their pets.
Owen says: “It is natural that your customers will have a lot of questions when their pet is unwell. Making sure you have the right people answering these queries is essential for good customer communication. Your customers will want to talk to a knowledgeable employee around the best treatment for their pets, so making sure your staff receive the right training to provide tailored recommendations, and even some motivation, can ensure your customers are getting the best outcome from their calls.
Tailored reminders and check-ins
You can also support your customers through tailored check-ins and reminders. This could be to remind your customers to check their pet’s weight or a recommendation to get pet insurance in areas with high obesity rates. This can also ensure your customers are aware of their renewals and upcoming payments, making sure they don’t miss out on keeping their pet insured.
A good customer service provider can help categorise your customers using their data – meaning emails can be personalised to groups of customers, ensuring they get the right communication at the right time, whether this is reaching out to your customers with the most obese pets with tips and tricks for weight loss or ensuring those coming to the end of their insurance have the right information to renew. This could include providing information on the right type of insurance for customers based on the age, health, or number of pets.
Brian adds: “No one loves their cats and dogs more than pet parents, but your business should make an effort to know each pet as if they are the direct client, whether this is personalised messaging tailored to each pet or simply knowing the history.”
Contact anytime, anywhere
Pet health concerns don’t happen in the normal nine to five, so your business should be ready for out-of-hours queries and complaints. Supporting your customers should include making sure they can contact you at a time and place that is convenient for them.
Owen says: “Your customers should feel comfortable that your business is there for them anytime, anywhere. Whether this is dropping a message online or giving you a call, making sure you have a 24-hour solution can ensure that your customers are supported whenever they need it.
“And each customer should feel each advisor understands their history. Making sure your customer notes are kept up to date with all communications can mean that no matter when their call comes in, they know that they are talking to a company who understands their situation and can offer the best customer service experience.”
Customer service is essential during times of crisis like this, when customers are feeling more vulnerable and need to rely on trustworthy businesses to cater for their animals. Making sure your business has great customer service can ensure that your customers and their pets are well cared for.