It’s not uncommon to find a groomer wearing multiple hats on the job, including handling the payment process for the services they’re delivering. Especially at smaller businesses, a groomer might check their customer in after greeting them at the door, and then close them out at the register after the service is complete.
Though it may all be in a day’s work, navigating their business’s finances likely isn’t the reason groomers started a career in pet care. At best, processing payments is another task on an already busy to–do list. At worst, it’s an unwanted and unnecessary stressor amid an already lively line of work.
Delivering an efficient payment process is an increasingly important aspect of the employee experience. Employees, too, are bearing witness to the consumerization of most industries; meaning they are aware of the technological conveniences that could make their jobs easier and more enjoyable. To retain their valuable employees—and support their productivity—pet business owners can’t overlook improvements to the payments process in favor of other areas of business.
In addition to enhancing the employee experience, modernizing payments stands as the gateway to modernizing small business operations to appeal to the modern customer; however, flashy POS systems aren’t all it takes to satisfy customers’ rising expectations as the world rapidly becomes more digital. As a solution, business owners can turn to an integrated payments system to ease the burden on employees so that they can get back to doing the work they love—grooming—and deliver a stronger customer experience.
For business owners used to completing transactions with only a cash register and a siloed credit card machine, the concept may sound complicated; however, the setup is simple. The payment system communicates with all other critical software that your business uses—so your credit card processing terminal, POS and even your business management software are all integrated—and then reconciles the sale with inventory and payroll.
Here’s how an integrated payments system can save pet business owners time and resources, and win their customers’ loyalty as a result.
Put More Money in Staff’s (And Your) Pockets
Groomers work hard for their paychecks, but with dated payment equipment, owners might be shortchanging both themselves and their team. To start, manually tallying sales with a cash register or reconciling bank statements is not only time–consuming, but it increases the risk of human error. For example, a groomer trying to check a customer out quickly before their next appointment might accidentally enter the cost of a service as $28 instead of $82, resulting in a significant revenue loss they might not realize until the customer is gone and the employee no longer has access to their credit card. To ensure more accurate transactions, owners can connect their POS to a pre–priced service menu so that employees only need to select the services they completed and the system will automatically tally the cost.
Third–party credit card processors can be another sinkhole for sales. Even if a processing company originally quoted the business owner at a rate they agree with, the owner may still be paying more than that if the customer is paying over the phone (when the card isn’t present), or if the owner is processing a transaction that qualifies for an additional fee—up to 30 cents more in some instances. Integrated credit card processors oftentimes feature lower fees, which can equate to hundreds if not thousands of dollars saved each year. Especially as businesses overcome pandemic–related financial strains, every dollar counts.
In addition to helping groomers retain as much of their sales as possible, an integrated payments system helps them encourage tips once services are complete. For many pet businesses, gratuity serves as a major source of income, but—especially after the pandemic—customers may not be as willing or able to tip as before. A recent survey1 of small business owners found that only 53% of respondents say customers tip their employees as often as before the pandemic, with 27% revealing that customers even tip less often now.
When looking for a payments solution, owners should check if it includes tipping prompts at checkout, which suggest that customers add either a percentage or pre–determined value to their order with a single click. The easier it is for customers to tip, the more likely they are to do so.
Enhancing the Customer Experience
Employees and business owners aren’t the only ones who benefit from streamlined payments processing. With an integrated system, groomers can store credit card numbers on file so loyal customers can breeze through the checkout process instead of re–entering their information every time they visit. Additionally, having credit cards on file allows businesses to easily charge for no–shows or cancellation fees so that they are still compensated for services they had scheduled.
Businesses looking to keep cards on file should first do their research on vendors’ compliance standards. If a system is PCI compliant, that means its developers have taken the necessary measures to keep the personal information entered into it—like credit card numbers—safe.
The ability to handle payments quicker not only leads to service that is more convenient, but also more thoughtful. Groomers won’t have to juggle between the socializing, tending to pets and running payments all at the same time. Instead, they can focus on the client, asking them how their service went and locking in their next appointment.
Pet businesses typically employ smaller teams, with one person executing the jobs of many. A modern, integrated payments processing system is the key for keeping up with their various responsibilities. By cutting down the need for employee intervention in transactions, groomers are freed up to focus on the areas of business they’re passionate about: taking care of pets. ✂️
1. Customer Loyalty 2020 Report, www.daysmart.com/loyalty2020/