BY: ANDREA MILLER
According to Gartner’s Top Technology Trends for SMBs survey, 62 percent of small and midsize businesses are already using cloud computing of some sort, while 33 percent are either planning on implementing the technology or evaluating how it could best be used by their organization. With cloud adoption on a steady rise, small business owners, especially within the pet grooming industry, should consider adding cloud into their technology stack.
Groomers may be hesitant to adopt cloud technologies because of lack of hardware, uncertainty towards security, high investment costs or general unfamiliarity with the technology. However, there are many reasons why cloud adoption in a pet grooming business can help alleviate the stress of business management and foster a more collaborative work environment:
- Cloud makes data more accessible: Customer history plays a large role in defining pet grooming business success. All pets behave differently and are therefore groomed differently. Groomers should not only make behavioral notes and detail previous grooming styles, but also ensure that the data is accessible across all devices to all employees. Cloud software makes this easy by centralizing data and keeping it available from any internet-enabled device. No more searching databases or shuffling paperwork at the receptionist’s desk!
- Cloud lets you work from home: As their business grows, owners may find themselves spending more time at the store processing payroll, sorting out schedules and reconciling payments, among other operational priorities. Thankfully, cloud technology can help foster a greater work/life balance; comprehensive business apps, integrated with the cloud, give users the ability to access in-store data without having to be in-store. As a result, owners are given the flexibility to run their businesses from anywhere, at a time that works best for them.
- Cloud enhances the customer experience: An emerging cloud feature popping up in pet grooming is the mobile check-in feature. Mobile check-in allows for clients to alert the store to their arrival before they even step in the door. This enables the front desk staff to quickly prepare their data ahead of their arrival, speeding up the check-in process and allowing the staff to spend more time making the guest feel welcome. Clients entering the store with a pet can spend time making them feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment without having to worry about manually checking in at the front desk or explaining what service they are there for. This level of personalized customer service goes a long way toward fostering client loyalty and creating meaningful competitive differentiation.
- Cloud makes employee scheduling easier: While it is crucial to keep customers happy, pet service business owners must also put an emphasis on allowing employees to grow and thrive. With the cloud, a process that is typically done in-office or over the phone can now be performed remotely. Groomers can check their schedules from their phone the night before or morning of. When appointments cancel at the last minute, the groomer can be automatically notified by text or email. When a groomer has a vacation planned and needs to find another groomer to cover their clients, they can access the workweek schedule and see who has the ability to take their shifts without having to take a trip into the store or call in.
There is no doubt that running a pet grooming business is hard work, but cloud technologies can enable savvy managers to work smarter, not harder. By making business data available across multiple devices in virtually any location, all employees can access necessary information. While no one technology can address all the challenges of running a business, cloud-based software can speed manual processes, alleviate stress, grant data access for stakeholders and open up new opportunities for revenue growth.
Pet groomers should focus on performing their best and pleasing their clients—cloud solutions enable these and other critical tasks. Any grooming business not looking into these advances runs the risk of being overtaken by those that do.