October 2020

All posts from October 2020

Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

by Lisa Fimberg on October 30, 2020

The holiday season is upon us.  It is that festive time of year when most pet parents put up a tree, menorah or just some holiday lights to capture the holiday spirit.

And who enjoys playing with those holiday decorations even more than a child unwrapping their presents?  PETS!

holiday safety tips

While most pet parents are very mindful of their dogs and cats around Christmas trees and decorations, no one can watch their pets all day long. Who knows what mischief might occur?

No pet owner ever wants his or her furry family member to be hurt or have an unforeseen accident during the holiday season, but they do occur.

Consider displaying a pet safety kit among your holiday items, as well as holiday safety tips for pet parents.

Below are some simple tips and reminders to provide pet owners during the holidays:

Christmas Trees: If putting up a Christmas tree, make sure it is securely anchored in its holder, so it does not tip over and fall. Having the tree secured can also prevent the tree water from spilling out which can be toxic to pets. A tree skirt tucked over the stand can help prevent pets from drinking its water.  Pine needles are also very dangerous for both cats and dogs if they nibble or ingest them.

Holiday Mistletoe and Poinsettias:  Mistletoe and poinsettia plants are almost a staple during the holiday season.  And as much as pet owners love them, so do their pets!  Unfortunately, both can be dangerous and potentially toxic to both dogs and cats.  It’s important that the mistletoe and poinsettias are placed somewhere where cats and dogs are unable to reach them.  They can be placed on the front porch, steps, or high mantles where they can be admired but away from wet noses and jumpers.

Ornaments:  Cats love ornaments, particularly the sparkly ones.   They get curious (as cats do!) and will happily bat and smack the ornaments off the tree and around the floor.  Glass or other fragile ornaments are subject to their ultimate doom and destruction, causing a mess and potentially dangerous walking areas.

Dogs may believe ornaments (especially those shaped like a ball) are a fun toy, put on the tree for them to play, chew or bring to you for a game of fetch.  Obviously, a glass or fragile ornament in a dog’s mouth is dangerous.

Be strategic about ornament placement or grab some non-toxic sprays that will dissuade any pooch.  If it worked when your puppy was teething, it can help remind a pup what is not for play!

Wires need to be secured and tucked away:  All wires from the holiday lights or any other decorations should be tucked away securely so neither cats nor dogs get tangled in them.  Cord covers or zip ties can keep the wires safeguarded and against the wall and out of the way of pets and children.

Have a pet safety kit handy:  It is always a good idea for pet owners to have a pet safety kit at home, not only during the holidays, but all year round.  Pets can be mischievous and get into things any day of the week and particularly the holidays.

Watch the treats and desserts: Most pet parents know that chocolate, and anything sweetened with xylitol is dangerous to pets.  But of course, pets love anything within paws reach! Make sure the pets stay away from any meals or plates of food that are being offered to family or guests.

The holidays are a fun and joyous time of year.  By being mindful and keeping their eyes on the pets and guests, pet parents can enjoy the holiday season!

If your customers have any issues or questions with their pets during the holidays or any time of year, our Solutions.pet agents team is here to help!  Make sure to contact our Success Team: successteam@thirdpartypet.com to learn more.

 

 

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Lisa FimbergHoliday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Top Questions Customers Ask After Purchasing a Puppy or Kitten

by Lisa Fimberg on October 26, 2020

Bringing a puppy or kitten home is such an exciting time.  There are endless decisions to make from naming the furry family member to buying the right food.  While some pet owners might already be knowledgeable about what they need to have upon purchasing their puppy or kitten, there are invariably many questions that come up that your store might need to address.

We put together a list of the six most common questions that customers have when purchasing a new puppy or kitten.

But…. the first thing they should do is a quick inventory of their home.

Pet parents should first safeguard their homes

The first thing that your customer should do is to make sure that their home is safeguarded for anything the puppy or kitten might encounter.  All loose wires should be tucked away or anything that might be dangerous to their puppy or kitten should be stored in a cupboard or put away far from reach.

Pet parents should take stock of their home of anything that could harm their puppy or kitten.  Their young pet is just like any infant that wants to explore and touch (or paw!) anything and everything.

Below are just some of the many questions your customer might ask after purchasing their puppy or kitten:

1. What are the essential supplies for new puppy and kitten owners?

The most important items that your customers will need for their new pet are: food that is specified for puppies or kittens, water and food bowls, a place to sleep (blanket or a bed), a crate for puppies, training pads, a leash and some chew toys for teething.    A kitten will need a litter box and a scratch pad or post.

Having these supplies handy are essential to your customer and ultimately may lock that customer in for future business.  One-stop shopping.

2. When should the new puppy or kitten be spayed or neutered?

Spaying a puppy or kitten is important for their pet’s overall long-term health and behavior. Spaying or neutering can also help to prevent kittens and puppies from straying from home as they mature.  And, of course, it helps prevent the increase of the stray population.

While any new puppy or kitten owner should always check with their veterinarian as to when they should spay or neuter their puppy or kitten, the consensus is the following:

  • Puppies should be spayed or neutered around 6 months to one year of age depending on the size of the dog.
  • Kittens should be spayed or neutered no later than 8 to 10 weeks of age.

For puppies, it is important to wait until their bodies are fully formed to perform the surgery.  Kittens, on the other hand, mature more quickly than puppies and can become pregnant at a very young age.

3. How soon should a new puppy or kitten owner take their pet for their first veterinarian visit?

It is very important for new pet parents to schedule a veterinary visit within the first ten to fourteen days after purchasing a puppy or kitten.   The vet visit can help determine if the puppy or kitten is healthy, the different vaccinations that are needed, as well as the best feeding schedules.

If you have a recommendation of a local vet to give to the new pet parents, that could be helpful.

4. Why is microchipping so important?

Microchipping is vital to each pet because it is the safest and most accurate way to return a pet to its owners if the dog or cat gets lost.  In fact, one in three pets become lost at some point in their lives and a pet id tag isn’t enough.

Microchipping is a very small identification transponder that has a specific identification number for each puppy or kitten.  The microchip is tiny and is injected underneath the loose skin between the puppy or kitten’s shoulder blades.  It is not painful for the kittens or puppies and ultimately could save their life, or at the very least reunite them with their family.

If the kitten or puppy is lost and someone finds them, any vet can scan the pet and their microchip will identify the owner’s information. However, it is imperative that pet owners register their pets in the national recovery database particular to your store.  Otherwise, the whole process is meaningless.

5. Should pet owners feed their puppy or kitten wet food or dry?

During their infant years, the most important thing for both kittens and puppies is to eat.  Wet food is always an easy choice because it gives both kittens and puppies the moisture they need if they are not drinking a lot of water yet and need the hydration.

Dry food, on the other hand, is great for chewing, has needed carbohydrates, and can help both kittens and puppies strengthen their teeth.  This can be particularly important in their early years when their teeth are forming.

There are many different wet and dry food choices that are made specifically for kitten and puppyhood.  Your store probably has both healthy dry and wet food options made for this young age.  Their veterinarian can also recommend the best food for their pet.

6. Is Pet Insurance Really Necessary?

Pet insurance is extremely valuable to any new puppy or kitten owner.  It is the assurance that if any unforeseen medical condition or accident occurs, they the have financial support to pay for it..  And if your customer purchases a pure breed which are known to be predisposed to certain genetic or hereditary conditions later in life, pet insurance is pretty much a no-brainer for a new pet owner.

The monthly cost of pet insurance is very low particularly during puppy and kittenhood compared to a costly bill for a medical procedure or an unforeseen accident.

Further, if your customers enroll in AKC pet insurance, they can receive a free 30-day certificate of illness and accident coverage and their pet is immediately covered. Therefore, if any medical issue or accident occurs in their first 30 days of owning their pet, they will be covered.

While there will be more questions that will come up, these questions (and answers) should cover the most common ones.

And always keep in mind that our Solutions.pet agents are happy to help answer any questions your customers might have after purchasing their new furry friend.  Contact our Success Team to learn more about our services: successteam@thirdpartypet.com

(Click here for infographic)

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Lisa FimbergTop Questions Customers Ask After Purchasing a Puppy or Kitten

Dog DNA Testing: Why Genetic Screenings Can’t Necessarily Tell You if Your Dog Will Get Sick—Yet

by American Kennel Club on October 21, 2020

It’s the day every dog owner dreads: a bad diagnosis that drops out of the blue. These days, an increasing number of pet owners are using dog DNA tests to ward off this sudden heartbreak or help them diagnose existing symptoms. It’s a tempting idea: just take a swab from your dog’s cheek and send it to a lab, the logic goes, and a few weeks later, you’ll know which diseases your dog is genetically at risk of developing, perhaps even before anything goes wrong. 

It’s so tempting, in fact, that dog DNA testing companies are proliferating, selling kits costing up to $200 that test for genes associated with more than 160 conditions. But when it comes to predicting disease in dogs, experts in dog genetics and canine health are sounding the alarm about the limitations of DNA testing at its current stage of development.

Dog Geneticists Warn Dog Owners of the Limitations of DNA Testing

One of those experts is Dr. Elinor Karlsson, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the director of the Vertebrate Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Dr. Karlsson has been working in canine genetics for many years and is excited about the work that’s emerging, but until recently, she was unaware that some companies are already taking the field’s research directly to pet owners.

“I hadn’t realized that they were using these tests in clinical medicine in the way that they were, and I was kind of shocked by it,” she says. “You know the research, and the research is good, but there are all these caveats on it, and all of a sudden you realize people are using it in a way where they’re not taking those limitations into account, to make decisions about people’s pets.”

What are those caveats? First and foremost, the research is still in its infancy. Scientists have been gathering information about which genes are associated with which conditions, but this is just the beginning of the process. Crucially, correlation doesn’t mean causation, so a gene that often occurs with a particular disease might not cause it. In order to establish causation, scientists need an awful lot of data—sometimes tens of thousands of test subjects.

That’s difficult to achieve even in human medicine. In canine medicine, there’s less funding and more genetic variability because there are so many breeds and crossbreeds of dog, so the research lags even further. “If you get back a positive test meaning that your dog is carrying a genetic variant that has been in a study correlated or associated with a disease,” Dr. Karlsson says, “The one question that you as a pet owner ask is, What is the chance that my dog is going to get sick? And that’s not a question that we can actually answer yet.”

What’s more, some of the companies selling direct-to-consumer tests don’t publish the methods they use to get their results. As the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of the American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation (CHF), Dr. Diane Brown has overseen the funding of much canine genetic research—and she stressed that peer-reviewed, transparent methodologies are key to good science. “When we’ve got our funded researchers, they publish their research so that everyone can look at it,” she says. “Their results are published in peer-reviewed scientific articles, which are accessible by the public and other scientists. This is how we build upon investments in research. So when you’ve got these closely held industry secrets and it’s proprietary methodology, it becomes very hard to evaluate.”

 

Then there’s the difficulty of interpreting the results. Because so many tests are being sold direct to consumers, there is a need to help dog owners understand the complex information they’re presented with. For example, some conditions are associated with multiple genes, but genetic testing companies might only test for one of those genes. This might result in pet owners falsely believing their canine companions have the “all clear” from a certain condition. What’s more, veterinarians may not have the expertise to interpret and act upon a panel of genetic tests.

All this has very real consequences. There’s already been at least one case of pet owners having their dog put to sleep on the basis of genetic test results that might have been misinterpreted or over-interpreted. And that’s to say nothing of the unquantifiable level of worry, heartbreak, and sometimes false confidence these tests might stir.

The Present and Future of DNA Testing for Dogs

For all these limitations, there’s tremendous value in the emerging science around dog genetics, and a lot to be excited about. In particular, breeders are already using peer-reviewed, high-quality genetic research, with the aim of reducing or even someday eliminating certain conditions from the breeding pool.

For instance, Dr. Diane Brown talked of the solid science that identified the DNA behind exercise-induced collapse (EIC), a genetic condition that causes dogs to lose control of their muscles after intense exercise. A test for this condition now allows breeders to check whether a particular dog has the gene before breeding them. There’s been similar success with a test for copper toxicosis in Bedlington Terriers, a condition in which the liver doesn’t process and expel copper, leading to illness and death.

But the use of genetic testing to decide whether to breed particular dogs is very different to using these tests in clinical medicine. In clinical medicine, the question is not whether a particular dog’s genes should be carried to the next generation, but rather concerns the fate of an existing dog—decisions too serious to be left to science that’s only part of the story.

All the same, geneticists are clear on one thing: we’re on the cusp of a true treasure trove of genetic information about dogs and humans alike. Within ten years, Dr. Karlsson hopes that tests will be able to show which dogs are at high risk of developing serious conditions such as heart disease and certain cancers, allowing their owners to establish suitably healthy lifestyles and implement a regime of X-rays or other screening tests early, to optimize the dog’s chances of living a long and happy life.

But it’s important to remember that the science isn’t fully there yet.

How to Approach DNA Testing for Dogs—the Experts Advise

Dr. Brown also urges dog owners to consider genetic testing as just one tool in their toolbox. Anyone thinking about getting a new dog, or working to take the best possible care of their current dog, should educate themselves, she says, by reading the breed information on AKC.org and by checking the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals’ (OFA’s) CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) Program, which recommends screenings for particular breeds.

“You need to look at the overall health of the dog that you’re thinking about,” she says. “What did the pedigree look like? What did the parents look like? What did the siblings look like? Do that sort of homework. What is required to be tested in that particular breed? I think that making decisions on the health and breeding of a particular dog needs to go far beyond just a single reference point and far beyond a single test. It needs to be looking at the dog as a whole.”

Dr. Karlsson adds that, though canine genetic testing for health must currently be taken with a grain of salt, dog owners themselves can help move the field along, by supplying some of the data scientists need. “We need to know when a dog is carrying a variant that’s been associated with a disease, do they get sick or don’t they get sick? That’s what we need to figure out, and that has to be a collaboration with dog owners.”

Working together with the AKC Canine Health Foundation to participate in peer-reviewed, humane research studies for the health of dogs. and submitting samples to OFA CHIC are ways to help. Another way to help is to sign up for Dr. Karlsson’s citizen-science project, Darwin’s Ark, and submit your dog’s genetic information.

The sooner scientists can access the information they need, the sooner we’ll arrive at the day so many dog owners are waiting for: a day when comprehensive genetic screenings can keep beloved pets healthy for as long as possible.

Source:  https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-dna-testing-genetic-screenings/

 

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American Kennel ClubDog DNA Testing: Why Genetic Screenings Can’t Necessarily Tell You if Your Dog Will Get Sick—Yet

When Should New Puppy or Kitten Owners Spay or Neuter Their Pets?

by Lisa Fimberg on October 21, 2020

There are many reasons that new puppy or kitten owners should spay or neuter their pets.  It can be helpful for behavioral reasons, controlling the overpopulation of stray pets and can be beneficial to their puppy or kitten’s long-term health.

Below are a few tips to help pet owners understand the importance of spaying and neutering.

What is the difference between spaying and neutering?

Spaying:  Spaying is a surgical procedure which is completed under general anesthesia which removes a female puppy or kitten’s uterus and both ovaries through an incision in the abdomen.  A laparoscopy is sometimes used to spay a puppy or kitten.

Neutering: Neutering is the surgical removal of a male puppy or kitten’s testes.  This procedure is also performed under general anesthesia.

What are the benefits of spaying or neutering a puppy or kitten?

Some of the benefits of spaying or neutering are the following:

Prevents unplanned pregnancies:

A puppy or kitten that is spayed or neutered will not become pregnant unexpectedly.  By being spayed or neutered, it prevents the puppy or kitten from “going into heat” which may attract other unwanted pups or kittens straying towards the home.

Helps long term overall health:

Spaying or neutering can lead to the long term overall health of both puppies and kittens.

Female kittens and puppies that are spayed are less likely to have uterine issues or tumors later in life.

Neutering male kittens and puppies can help prevent prostate disease and testicular cancer.

Prevents overpopulation

Spaying and neutering is a responsible way to prevent the accidental breeding of kittens or puppies.  Many kittens or puppies born to strays end up as strays themselves, or at a shelter.

Behavioral issues:

Neutering and spaying can help reduce some unwanted behavioral issues in puppies and kittens.  They are less likely to roam away from the home, and the procedures can sometimes combat aggressive tendencies in some dogs later in life.

When should new puppies or kittens be spayed or natured?

While any new puppy or kitten owner should always check with their veterinarian as to when they should spay or neuter their puppy or kitten, the consensus is the following:

  • Puppies should be spayed or neutered around 6 months to one year of age depending on the size of the dog.
  • Kittens should be spayed or neutered no later than 8 to 10 weeks of age.

For puppies, it is important to wait until their bodies are fully formed to perform the surgery.

Kittens, on the other hand, mature more quickly than puppies and can become pregnant at a very young age.

What is the recovery time for spaying and neutering?

After spaying, some vet clinics will keep their pup or kitten overnight.  The vet will put a protective collar on their pet to prevent the puppy or kitten from licking the incision.  Activity is generally restricted for seven to ten days.  Most vets will want to see the puppy or kitten a week later to see how the healing is going and to remove the stitches.

Of course, each puppy or kitten breed is different, and their veterinarian is always the best resource to advise your customers of the right age to spay or neuter the pet.  Their recommendation usually takes into consideration the breed, size and health of the puppy or kitten.

There are many other common questions that new pet owners might ask about their pets and this is just one of them.

If you find your store often fields follow up questions from your customers about standard care for their pets, our trained team of Solutions.pet agents are happy to help with those calls! Make sure to contact our Success Team: (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to learn more about our services.

 

 

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Lisa FimbergWhen Should New Puppy or Kitten Owners Spay or Neuter Their Pets?

Third Party Pet Customer Service Week 2020 Was A Big Success

by Newsbites Staff on October 20, 2020

Third Party Pet celebrated Customer Service week for the first time this year.  Under the guidance of our management team, TPP joined in the celebration to honor our customer service team representatives.

For the uninitiated, Customer Service Week falls the first week of October and recognizes those who work in customer service.  It is a week designed to celebrate and thank all the employees who are on the front line of day to day customer interactions.

TPP celebrates virtually and safely:

This year’s customer service week theme, “Dream Team” was incorporated into all messages and daily events:

Friday:

Angie Luckey-Succes, as well as other team leaders, hand delivered gift boxes to our local call center representatives who work in Customer Service (wearing masks of course!)

Our customer service team members loved the actual face-to-face meetings (some for the first time since converting to the new work from home model) with their managers and appreciated the hand off!

Each gift box contained 5 bags which were labeled with the corresponding day of the week, Monday through Friday.

Our reps were asked to open each bag the morning of the designated weekday (no peeking!)

Each day had a special theme indicating what our Customer service team reps should wear and each bag contained a special gift or treat.

Monday:

TPP Polo & Facemask Day

The gift for Monday was the TPP Polo shirt and Facemask:

Mike Isaac, our CEO and Adam Stachowiak, our CVO as well as Bruno (our company mascot and Chief Furry Officer) delivered heartfelt video messages to our customer service team.

Tuesday:

Onesie Day (Pajama Day for the Warehouse Team)

The gift in Tuesday’s bag was popcorn and candy.

Our reps wore onesies, and the warehouse crew wore pajamas for the day.

Roxanne Conrad, our VP of Marketing; Brian Lett, our VP of Sales; and Laura Cunico, our COO, delivered warm and thankful video messages to our customer service team.

Wednesday

Superhero Day

The gifts in Wednesday’s bag were a TPP notepad and pen.

Wednesday was superhero day where our customer service reps (and some managers) dressed as their favorite superhero.

Angie Luckey-Succes, our Director of Call Center Operations, and Mike Kalck, our Director of Fulfilment delivered thankful, appreciative video messages to our customer service reps.

Thursday

Sports Day

The gifts in Thursday bags were a TPP coffee mug, TPP sugar cookie, and a TPP Fidget Spinner.

Thursday was Sports Day where our employees wore different jerseys or attire of their favorite sports team.  It even got a little competitive with some Bears and Cub fans owning their favorite sports team and calling out each other!

Several heartfelt, grateful video messages were delivered to the Customer Service reps from Sylvia Miller, our Senior Sales Manager of Registrations, Armado Perez, our Senior Sales Manager of Lead Management, and Craig Dumstorff, our Vice President of IT.

Friday

Hawaiian Shirt Day

The gifts in Friday’s bag were a $10 gift card to Jimmy John’s and a green lei.

The fun and warmth of the Hawaiian shirt theme day brought smiles to our reps and managers on a cold Chicago day.

There was a final round of video messages to all of our customer service reps from Michelle Weinberg, our Lead Management Manager, and Keith Biro, our Senior Sales and Operation manager, reiterating their gratitude to our reps for their hard work and dedication.

As the week ended, there were many great highlights besides just the theme of the day, gifts and appreciate videos.

Memorable Highlights of the Week

Mike Isaac, one of our founders of TPP, participated and dressed up for the respective theme every day.  Many of our managers, as well as the executive team, joined the celebration by either dressing in the theme or rooting on everyone else that did.

Pictures and videos were posted by our new employees, current agents, distribution center employees, and leadership alike on the Third Party Pet Facebook group page for everyone to share and enjoy!

In fact, Customer Service week was such as success at TPP that it will now be slated for every year in early October.

It is no wonder that TPP has received Best Places to Work recognition two years in a row as well as a Stevie award.

If you want to join the wonderful customer service team representatives at TPP, please check the employment page for open positons!

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Newsbites StaffThird Party Pet Customer Service Week 2020 Was A Big Success

Employee Spotlight: Brian Nagel

by Newsbites Staff on October 13, 2020

Brian Nagel

Key Strategic Sales Manager

In September, we officially welcomed Brian Nagel as the Key Strategic Sales Manager at Third Party Pet.  Brian brings with him more than twenty years of sales experience in both inside and outside sales.

Brian truly understands the importance of contact center services, as he most recently led the sales training program for a large inside sales team that focused on communication services. Brian has experience in all facets of sales from consultancy to general manager.

Brian’s primary focus at TPP will be to work cross-functionally with sales, marketing, product and operation teams to implement successful partner programs.  He will utilize his background to educate, enable and support the sales teams on effective and innovative sales methodologies. Brian will also be monitoring key KPIS to increase efficiency, fill in the gaps when necessary and create new strategies to further assist our clients.

Brian will be an essential conduit between our client’s respective businesses and TPP’s Leadership and Operational teams, to develop and promote creative and successful strategies that meet our client’s business goals and growth initiatives.

Please feel free to contact the Success Team with any questions or requests for specific marketing or client services support: successteam@thirdpartypet.com.

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Newsbites StaffEmployee Spotlight: Brian Nagel

National Boss Day: How Do You Measure Up to Your Employees?

by Lisa Fimberg on October 13, 2020

National Boss day falls every year on October 16th.   The holiday dates back to 1958 as a way to strengthen the bond between employers and their employees.  It signifies the appreciation of how employers or managers interact with their employees.

While National Boss day is probably not top of mind for most employers, it can be a good time for reflection.  Many bosses or employers can use this day to consider what their employees may think about their leadership style.  It is no coincidence that it falls just one week after National Customer Service week which celebrates and recognizes employees.

Employee retention

Employee retention is typically the leading indicator on whether or not employees consider the organization to be a great working environment.   Do you have high turnover rate at your store or several long-term employees that have developed with your continued growth?

Of course, employee retention is one of the most important aspects in any business.   Whether you are a small business owner, or part of a big box chain, employee retention is not only important for morale and your customers, but ultimately your bottom line.

Employee turnover is very expensive, as it is time consuming and costly to train any new employee.  And, of course, having stability within your store provides consistency and brand alliance with your customers!

How can your store keep employees and increase productivity?

While you cannot always control how your employees act or react, you can control how they are treated.  If your employees are happy, they will not only stay with you longer, but will be more productive and positive with your customers.

Your management style is a reflection of you and your store.  Everyone leads differently, but being appreciative, kind and professional will lend to a productive store and employee retention.

Below are some different ways to keep your employees happy and productive:

  • Empower your employees: If you let all your employees from bottom to top, whether they are customer service or floor managers own their positions, it gives them a sense of empowerment. You want your team to know how important each position is to the success of your store.
  • Mistakes are learning lessons: We all have made mistakes in our various positions. Rather than scold an employee for a mistake or doing something wrong, make sure they learn from it.  In most cases, they will not repeat the mistake again.
  • Lead by example: The morale of your business or store starts at the top.   If you are happy, fair and reward success, it will make a happy, productive team.  Lead with kindness and fairness, and not fear which is typically counterproductive.
  • Be open to feedback and new ideas: You never know what ideas your employees might come up with when given the opportunity to share.  It can be the best idea you have ever heard or maybe just an idea, but they will appreciate your listening to their input either way.
  • Keep employees informed: If you have any big changes at your store or even just a new staff member, let your employees know.  They will appreciate being included in any changes or updates.
  • Recognize outstanding work: By rewarding employees for making set goals or even just having a great day of sales, it will make them want to work even harder.  It can be just a “shout out” or a sincere thank you at the end of the day.  Your employee will remember it.

Of course, there are some employees who just don’t work out or are not the right fit for your organization. However, establishing open communication and professional treatment of all employees will go a long way with the rest of the organization.

Need more help running your store so your employees can own their positions and manage the floor?  Contact our Success Team (sucessteam@thirdpartypet.com) to see how we can help!

 

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Lisa FimbergNational Boss Day: How Do You Measure Up to Your Employees?

What Can Pet Retailers Expect for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020?

by Lisa Fimberg on October 8, 2020

2020 has been a worrisome time for retailers as many have had to change their typical sales protocol, or close their doors for a period of time.   While many retailers have reopened, the threat of the pandemic is still looming.  Pet retailers have had the advantage of being an essential business and have been open for virtually the entire pandemic.

The holiday season 2020

With the holidays approaching, what can pet retailers expect for the holiday season, or specifically Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Some of the big box retailers like Walmart have decided to close on Thanksgiving Day to avoid massive crowds during the pandemic as well as to keep their employees safe.  However, they will remain open on Black Friday with social distancing measures in place.

It is hard to predict what can happen during these unprecedented times, but one thing that seems to be consistent with past years, is that consumers will still be looking to bring home a new puppy or kitten to their family over the holidays.  And, of course, all those new (and current) pet owners will continue to need supplies and some gifts for their new furry family members.

With many Americans still nervous about traveling, there could be some extra spending cash left in the budget this holiday season.

How Can Pet Retailers Prepare Their Stores for Black Friday?

While there is typically a massive surge of consumers beginning Black Friday and lasting through the holiday season, retailers (including pet) can expect a significant reduction in foot traffic from previous years.   With social distancing guidelines in place, there are only a limited number of customers allowed in the store.

Additional staff during the holidays will not be as vital as it was in previous years because of the continued restrictive guidelines.  However, employees should be reminded of the importance of every customer visit to maximize the value the store can bring to that individual shopper.

Holiday themes should continue as usual

Pet retailers should continue to decorate their stores for the holidays, implement and promote holiday sales and advertise special promotions, like winter wonderland photo shoots, to get customers in the holiday spirit.  This year, more than most, customers may be looking for a bit of holiday cheer.  Holiday music, decorations and themed displays can provide a bit of “holiday normalcy.”

Consider a Cyber Monday sale

With so many consumers gravitating to on-line purchasing, pet retailers should consider all the options available to them to capitalize on those who prefer to shop from the comfort of their couch.

Cyber Monday is a great way to promote online sales if it’s a new feature to your store.  It can be a nice kickoff to the holidays and get consumers in the mood to spend.  Consider a Cyber Monday day sale with specific discounts which could be increased the more the consumer spends.

Make sure to have extra stock of your best selling items as well as sales items ready to be delivered in a timely manner.

While the holidays will look different this year, pet owners will continue to need supplies as well as holiday gifts to shower on their pets.  With the right strategy and promotion, pet retailers can expect a very merry holiday season!

Looking for a bit more assistance or holiday cheer ideas?  Our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com)  can help you create customized holiday promotions and graphics designs to compliment them.

 

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Lisa FimbergWhat Can Pet Retailers Expect for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020?

How Pet Parents Can Keep Their Pets Safe in a Natural Disaster

by Lisa Fimberg on October 5, 2020

 

From fires to floods, hurricanes and tornadoes every year, there are numerous natural disasters that occur throughout the US.  And this year is no different.  It really doesn’t matter where your customers reside, because everyone can be can affected from one or more of these disasters.

Most pet parents will have plans in place for their family if a natural disaster were to occur.  Among those plans, it is equally important that they have a safety plan for their pets.   There are many things pet parents can do to prepare ahead for their pets – whether they decide to stay put or move to a safer location for the duration.

Not only should pet owners have food, water, and the other essential supplies at their disposal, but having a pet first aid kit displayed can be an asset to both your store and your customers.  All these disasters seem to be top of mind!

Below are some reminders that pet parents can have in place to be prepared:

If pet owners decide to leave their home, take their pets with them

While most pet parents would never leave their pets behind, it is important that they are able to transport their cats and dogs.  Crates and carriers should be ready to use if an emergency were to occur. While some cats and dogs might survive on their own for an hour or so, it is never safe to leave their pets behind.

Pet parents should have safety stickers on their doors in case of an emergency

If pet parents decide to leave their home or can’t get back to their house, they should put the “in case of emergency” sticker (like the one offered by the American Kennel Club) that details where rescue workers can take their pets in the event of an emergency or merely that there are pets inside.  These can be hung on the front or back door or even window, and should really be placed on any pet parent’s doors at all times.

Your customers should have a list of local shelters and veterinarians ready

If pet owners end up in a local shelter (for humans) some of them, due to lack of space, might not allow pets.  Pet parents should have a plan in place with some alternative locations where they can house the whole family including their pets.  Can friends or family take them in for a while as well as their pets?  Are there pet-friendly hotels or doggy day care locations nearby where they can all be housed together?

If your customer has more than one pet, they might need to separate them to find the proper housing. Pet parents should make sure they have their pets’ vaccinations and medical records up to date.

If pet owners wait out the disaster at home, plan a safe place for everyone

If the natural disaster allows the whole family to stay together, pet parents should try to find a safe place where all family members and their pets can stay together.  Dogs should have their leashes on, and cats should be in their carriers.  The room should, hopefully, be clear of any windows that might break.  Any pet medications and a supply of both food and water for their family and pets should be within reach and inside containers with the other emergency supplies.

All pets should be microchipped with up-to-date information

Having their pets’ microchipped (with their current address) is the most accurate and reliable way to keep dogs and cats from getting lost.  Up to date pet id tags should also be securely fastened to any dog and cat’s collar in case the dog or pet gets out.  While microchipping is the best assurance for lost pets, a pet id tag will help if any dog or cat runs out in the neighborhood.

Your store might consider putting a list together of the important Items for pet parents to have handy for their dogs and cats in case of an emergency (next to your pet safety kit):

  • A week’s worth of canned or dry food
  • Disposable litter trays
  • Litter or paper towels
  • Disinfectant and liquid dish soap
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding and water bowls
  • Pets updated medical records
  • Two-week supply of any medicine their dog or cats require.
  • A traveling bag, crate, or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • For cats: Scoopable litter is preferable
  • For dogs: Extra leash, toys, harness, and a week’s worth of cage liner (or newspaper works)

Natural disasters unfortunately are not going away any time soon.  However, if pet owners plan in advance, they will be better prepared in case any emergency does occur.

If your customers have any issues or questions with their pets during an emergency or any other time of year, our solutions.pet agents are happy to help.  Make sure to contact our Success Team: successteam@thirdpartypet.com to learn more about our services.

 

 

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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Parents Can Keep Their Pets Safe in a Natural Disaster