Save time + money by adding your own content

binders
No more binders – hurrah!

By Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and Director of Customer Relations – FetchFind

In an earlier post about heatmaps, I talked about our reporting system and how it can help you as a business owner. In this post, I am going to talk about how you can make your life and your business better by adding your own content to your FetchFind subscription. 

The FetchFind Monthly Pro Plus subscription offers many features, one of which is the ability to add your own content. Many business owners already have a few company-specific training videos, HR manuals, and procedures that need to be shared with their staff, but don’t have a good place to store it or track staff viewing or engagement.

Well, FetchFind to the rescue!

We have the perfect solution – and that solution is us. Unlike other training options, where you are left wondering how to incorporate your current training curriculum and HR documents, we make it easy for you by making it part of our platform.

With the FetchFind Monthly Pro Plus subscription, you can upload as much of your own proprietary content as you want. We host it for you, so you don’t have to worry about taking up valuable server space. You can also create sections specific to your content, or you can put it in one of our designated sections. You have total control.

You can also use our system to create quizzes, which helps to ensure your staff is reading, viewing, and comprehending the information you have provided for them. Everything you upload to the platform can be tracked just like any other piece of FetchFind content.

This feature is invaluable for many reasons, but probably the most important is that we save you time, which ultimately saves you money. And who isn’t looking to save money? No more time spent on emailing your new hires about all of the HR documents they need to sign – it’s already uploaded and ready for them view as soon as they sign in. No more time spent tracking down your new hires to make sure they watched your New Hire Orientation video. All you have to do is take two minutes to look at the reports page. The time you save can then be spent on client acquisition and satisfaction – which increases your bottom line.  

We at FetchFind know how busy you are and how hard running a business can be. We want to do everything in our power to help make your life easier and by listening to you, we have found a solution. Let us take this one piece of your job off your plate and let us do the training for you.

Questions? Feel free to reach out to me directly at erin@fetchfind.com.

Welcome to the feline revolution!

FelFetchArdenMooreAndCaseyPic

By Arden Moore

Face the feline facts. Cats can be fussy, fascinating, frustrating, funny and even a bit freaky. It’s easy to be puzzled or perplexed as to why cats do what they do.

Don’t expect cats to apologize or grovel – leave those actions to gotta-please dogs. Cats pride themselves on being candid about what they want and when they want it. I say that cats put the C in clever, the A in attitude, the T in tenacious and the S in “so what.”

What are they clearly not? Little dogs who purr. Cats outnumber dogs in households, yet they remain challenging to understand and to handle, especially when it is time to transport them in pet carriers to the veterinary clinic or give them medicine. Yowl! Hiss!

For all of you pet professionals, the time is perfect to get schooled in all things feline.

Ever since I was a toddler, I’ve shared my life with cats. My feline friendship began with a cool Siamese named Corky, who joined me swimming in our backyard lake. Today, I travel the country with a confident, comedic orange tabby named Casey (see picture, above) who assists me in pet first aid trainings and pet behavior classes. I continue to be both a teacher and a student, sharing my intense knowledge of cats I’ve learned from the world’s most respected feline experts to you through my best-selling books, presentations, and radio shows.

That’s why I am honored to team up with FetchFind in creating Feline Fundamentals.

This must-get subscription is only $19/month and is perfect for pet sitters, groomers, bloggers, hospital staff, trap-neuter-vaccinate-return cat rescuers, cat pet parents and, simply, everyone who loves and adores cats. Through videos, how-to photos, text, and more, Feline Fundamentals will provide you with a steady supply of cat knowledge.

What is the best (and safest) way to greet a cat? How do you break up a feline fight and escape injury free? Why do cats hack up hairballs? Is there a safe, quick way to give medicine to a client’s cranky cat? Why should I pay attention to litter box deposits? We at FetchFind stand ready to arm you with step-by-step guidelines as well as practical tips, tricks and tactics to these questions and countless more. And each month, we will add new content to the subscription as there is so, so much to reveal about felines.

Yes, a feline revolution is underway. A generation ago, phrases like catios, cat cafes and catification did not exist. Today, pet careers are being created and expanded out of this global fascination with felines. Here is your opportunity to really get to know and care for 21st century cats. Don’t pussyfoot around – sign up MEOW!

********

 

http://www.fetchfind.com/p/feline-fundamentals
The Feline Fundamentals subscription is available for $19/month for individuals and FetchFind Pro subscribers. Feline Fundamentals is included for FetchFind Premium subscribers at no additional cost. Learn more or subscribe here. 

Heatmaps and reporting

 

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 6.28.20 PM

By Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and Director of Customer Relations – FetchFind

There are a lot of content providers dedicated to educating the pet industry. I am sure as a business owner it can feel very overwhelming and the variety leads you to a lot more questions than answers. Over the next few weeks, I am going to elaborate on FetchFind Monthly Pro features that set us apart from our competition. I hope I can add some clarity as to why FetchFind is a step above the other resources on the market.

Did you know that we have a special admin feature that allows you to arrange content, add content, add and remove staff members and view your staff member’s progress? We put the power in your hands and give you total control over what content you allow your employees to view.

In this post, I am going to give more information about our reporting system. Every account is set up with the ability to track employee progress. You can see if they watched the videos, took the quiz, how they scored on the quiz, and whether or not they completed the section. This allows you the ability to ensure your staff is utilizing the training you have provided for them. It is also a great tool to use when considering promotions and advancements within the company.

Let’s talk about the heatmaps first. This is probably my favorite feature.

The heatmap below shows that the video has been watched to completion. As you can see, it is a light yellow and completely filled in. That means this person watched the video all the way through, in its entirety, without pauses, skips, or breaks.

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 6.28.01 PM

This heatmap, on the other hand, looks very different from the first. This person watched some of the video (the light yellow), fast forwarded through some parts (the white bits) and re-watched other parts (the dark yellow). At the end, this person only watched 64% of the video.

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 6.28.20 PM

Along with every one of our videos, we include a graded quiz. This person got two out of three questions correct.

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 6.28.37 PM
When you click on the quiz score, a results window will pop up, with the employee’s answers highlighted.

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 6.29.32 PM

Our reports also show if a person completed a section. If the section heatmap is completely white, that means there was no activity by that employee.

As you can see, our reporting gives you a lot of information. Unlike many training options, FetchFind Monthly Pro gives you real time access to your staff’s progress.

Are you impressed? (Personally, I’m always impressed by robust, easy to read reporting functions.) Now, I want to go a step further and explain how this information is invaluable to you and your business.

First, we remove the pressure of training your staff by providing you with all the tools needed to ensure employees are watching the training and retaining the information.

Second, we give you the ability to check in on your staff to ensure that they are keeping up with their assignments. If you are already experiencing performance issues with certain employees, this gives you a way to ascertain where they are having problems, as well as concrete information to help them improve their performance.

Third, this is a great way to incentivize your staff. If you build training into their job description and explain how continuing education will benefit them (both in their current position and in the future), this can be a great motivator. It can lead to job promotions and open up other ways to increase their income. I find that incorporating incentives (or “high value treats”, as we like to say in the dog training world), such as gift cards is a great way to motivate your staff.

Fourth, it can be excellent opportunity to build camaraderie. That might sound strange, but training can be a highly effective way to bring your staff together as a group, and – by incorporating a little friendly competition and incentives – you might see your staff start working together as more cohesive team.

If you have any questions or would like more information on how to use the admin dashboard and reporting functions, feel free to reach out to me directly at erin@fetchfind.com.

 

 

How to help your pet business stand out in a crowded market

erin's pet sitting

By Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and Director of Customer Relations – FetchFind

If you own a pet care business, you probably spend a lot of time and energy trying to differentiate yourself from the competition. Because there is a lot of competition out there. A LOT.

But the good news is that you already have access to a great differentiator … FetchFind Monthly Pro! It may seem that a staff training program is something that you just do as part of your drive to have a great business, but the fact is that your clients want (and need) to know that their pets are in the best possible hands. And there is no better way to demonstrate your commitment to their pet’s well-being than the fact that you care enough to train your staff.

Here are some easy ways to inform clients (both current and potential) about your ongoing commitment to excellence:

FetchFind Approved BadgeDisplay your FetchFind Approved badge with pride (because you’ve earned it)! All FetchFind Monthly Pro members receive FetchFind Approved badges in both physical and electronic formats. If you have a bricks and mortar location, you can put the badge on your front door or a window near the entry. I also recommend framing your FetchFind Approved certificate and placing it on your front desk where clients can see it when they check in. This also gives your staff the opportunity to start a conversation with clients when they inquire about it. (If you need more badges, please let me know!)

Educate your staff on how to talk about FetchFind. Your staff will already be familiar with FetchFind because they take the courses. But do they know how to talk about it to your clients? It’s a huge bonus for your company when employees can speak knowledgeably and enthusiastically about what FetchFind is, what they’ve learned, and how it helps them to be better employees. Clients want to hear that everyone within the company takes the safety and comfort of their pets seriously; so if they talk to the front desk staff, dog walker, or daycare attendants, they know their pets are receiving the best care possible because the people who take care of them are receiving the best training possible.

Include information in your blogs, newsletters, website, and social media. Post pictures of your staff in training, share fun snippets of recently acquired knowledge (dog breed info is always a favorite), and mention employees who are “killing it” in training. A great place to mention your FetchFind Monthly Pro training is on your website’s  “About Us” page, where you share your philosophy and mission statement. The more places you can talk about your dedication to education and safety, the better.

If you’re excited about it, your staff will be too. Company culture says a lot about how staff will react to a new training program. If you’re excited about their education and make it a priority, so will your employees. Be proud that you offer this great educational and career development tool to your staff, because it clearly communicates that you are investing in THEM as well. The best business owners are those who treat their employees like valuable resources – because they are! There is no better recommendation for your company than happy, knowledgeable employees.

Update your staff bios to include FetchFind Monthly Pro training. A great way to showcase your staff training is to update their bios on your website. Include a little something about how an employee is working hard to complete their FetchFind Monthly Pro training, mention what their favorite topic is, or talk about how they love New Content Fridays. This makes your staff feel included and invested in the process, while also showing current and potential clients that your entire company values ongoing education.

Let us know how you use FetchFind Monthly Pro to differentiate yourself from the competition, or post it on the FetchFind Approved Facebook page! And remember, we’re always here to help you succeed.

How to get the most out of FetchFind Monthly Pro for your team

cara collage 2

By Cara Armour, Founder of Active Paws Inc and marketing manager of ProPetHero

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and a popular question that they ask is, “if you could tell your 20 year old self something you know now, what would it be?” I realize that while there is a ton to tell my younger self, sadly what is most important to make my life better then didn’t exist.

Running a pet care business 15 years ago

When I first started Active Paws Inc back in 2003, I was using excel to print schedules and handwriting corrections on them. Smartphones didn’t exist, so I spent my dinner time responding to emails and phone calls. I certainly didn’t have amazing online training available, provided by experts in the industry. I had to either go out in the field and use my precious admin time to train my staff, or rely on a senior pet care provider to train the new hires.

Neither scenario was ideal. My company means the world to me, so I want my staff to know everything I have learned over the years; but, I only have a small window of time to deliver that information. I also do not have that time. I am busy with payroll, new hire paperwork, reconciling the bank account, bringing in new clients, handling client problems, answering employee questions, looking over schedules, doing accounts receivable — you get the picture!

Besides not having the time to do the training myself, my senior staff isn’t always overflowing with spare time, either. I have to pay them to train new hires or do a ride along, and I have to pay the new hires for their learning time out in the field. If my senior staff wasn’t trained correctly, or have developed habits that were not in line with the company standards, our precious new hires could learn bad habits and the quality of our care could snowball in the wrong direction.

Only having in-the-field training

There are many issues with only being able to train in the field as well. I don’t always have access (within the two week training period) to all of the “example” animals in our care that exhibit common behavioral issues or special walking tools, such as body language basics, safe greetings for shy dogs, using a gentle leader, introducing two new dogs headed out to a walk together, cats going outside of the box, etc.

So I was super excited to find out that someone was doing this, just for MY staff! For the 20 year old self that I would get the chance to talk to, I would tell her to hold on, an easier way to run your business was coming, courtesy of FetchFind Monthly Pro!

To be honest, I am [still] a little surprised that the training is only $69 a month, for unlimited users per location. My staff has access to things that would take months for them to be exposed to with that particular animal or in that particular scenario. Even though I provide checklists for my senior staff, I no longer have to worry if the new hire saw or was taught everything, let alone worry if they actually learned it. I now know that they’ve learned it, since the report in FetchFind’s admin dashboard shows me they did.

Why is education so important?

Prevention – the best way to prevent a bite is to train staff how to recognize the triggers and avoid them. If they don’t know what to look out for, they won’t know that a bite is coming.

Retention – while the pets in my care are an important priority, the liability of the people in my employment is actually my biggest concern. If they are not happy, well, and healthy, they cannot care for the animals our clients have contracted us to care for.

Employee happiness starts with confidence in the job. Confidence in the job comes from training and feedback.

If you have poorly trained staff who have to fumble through their tasks and learn by being corrected, they don’t feel great about the job they are doing. Don’t leave your staff figuring out or learning as they go. I started that way and it didn’t feel good. I felt great about my job after I had learned everything I know.

Health and wellbeing of the animals – someone that doesn’t know a cat going outside the box could be a medical problem might write it off and not mention it.

Confidence your clients have with your company – a new hire that wasn’t trained in customer service may not know how to act around your clients, and therefore could make your clients feel uneasy about the people you hire to care for their pets. I have seen staff who interview well get super nervous and act strange around our clients. This behavior would then prompt me to train them, but of course that’s after the fact. Now I can take care of that beforehand.

Cost effectiveness

I know from networking with a lot of pet care businesses that we know our time is valuable, but we rarely – if ever – put a monetary value on it. You really should! Figure out what it would cost to have someone trained to do your job and to the caliber your company demands, then add the value of your knowledge, and you’ll have a good number for an hourly wage. Now charge that to your company for training your staff. (I know you wouldn’t, because that would affect your bottom line, but you can see where this is going.) I can guarantee that doing all the training covered in the FetchFind Monthly Pro subscription would cost you much, more more than $69 a month.

Then you have the senior staff –  you might get away without paying them extra, but you have to pay the new hire to tag along and do a one person job with two people. I have tried making the visits enough for two people, but the backlash of the new hire seeing the tremendous workload sometimes turns them off. I’ve had people quit after a couple days out in the field because they were so overwhelmed by what they saw and needed to learn!

I now have all new potential hires take an hour’s worth of courses on FetchFind Monthly Pro before they are even hired. I consider this my second interview for them, and a way for me to see how they do in the training, since I can see their results. If they don’t score well on certain quizzes and  I choose hire them anyway, I know the areas in which to concentrate further training.

While content is added every Friday to FetchFind’s Monthly Pro subscription, the crucial information needed to get a new hire confident with caring for pets is already there, and can be taught in 5-10 hours (depending on the type of pet care business you have). If you care for cats and dogs, there obviously is more content to consume.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s estimate the minimum wage to be $10/hour. For 10 hours of paid training on courses that cover more than you could in 10 weeks, you’re looking at $100 + (lovely taxes). A few hours of my time is worth that amount, not to mention the cost for 2 weeks at 5 hours/day training in the field (that’s $500 + taxes).

So basically for an hour of training as part of the interview process and $100 in payroll, you have saved yourself $331 ($500 – $69 – $100). (I left out taxes for the sake of simplicity.) That’s $331 savings per new hire for more consistent, time efficient training.

There are a few ways around the pesky payroll as well. Depending on the structure of your pet care company you can have staff take courses while pet sitting, if you provide in-home visits. I have asked my clients about doing this and they love it. No course is longer than 17 minutes, and for those that pay per job, this is a massive bonus! I get the wifi password from my client, the staff performs the visit in the time the client has requested, and for the downtime when your staff would be at the house not doing anything but being present for the pet, they can be learning as well. As I write this blog, I am pet sitting a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who has been a client for 8 years. I am sharing while she is snoring.

What about an incentive program?

You can ask staff to take the course not as a requirement, but rather as an incentive. Whoever scores the highest gets a $100 gas card or $50 to Starbucks. This is one of many ways to cost effectively get your staff learning.

Do you ever throw staff parties, events, or dinners? I take my crew out on a yearly excursion of their choosing. We have gone bowling, laser tagging, and even taken a trip to an amusement park. Have everyone meet beforehand for a half hour to an hour of training – it’s a great group exercise and bonding experience.

Finally, the cheapest and most cost effective way to train – just ask! Ask your staff to have a look at the FetchFind Monthly Pro courses provided. Let them know the benefits it will provide them in their daily tasks and the experience and credentials they can gain.

My younger self would be jealous

I’m sad that my 20 year old self wasted so much precious time and money doing things the hard way. Pet care software, CRMs, and now unified pet care staff business training exists, and it’s always online at our fingertips. My 20 year old self is jealous for sure, but at least now I can prevent turnover, have animals in safer hands, have happier staff, and – most importantly – have more time to work ON my business.

********

Cara ArmourCara Armour os the co-founder of Active Paws Inc., a professional pet care business based in the greater Boston, MA. In 2009 Cara won Pet Sitter of the Year, the industry’s highest honor awarded by Pet Sitters International and collected many other accolades over the years. Since 2003, Cara has been trained in Pet First Aid and CPR, and in 2015 she started her own online pet first aid & CPR company. She later joined the team at ProPetHero. She is also a volunteer and foster home for The Boxer Rescue Inc. She has been a mentor to many in the pet industry as well as those in the small business world. Cara spends her free time traveling to agility, lure coursing, and conformation trials.