When people talk about “building a business”, they don’t usually mean literally building it from the ground up. But after an electrical fire burned School for the Dogs’ original studio space down in December of 2013, that’s what professional dog trainers and co-founders Anna Jane Grossman and Kate Senisi had to do.
“Right around when we were making the switch to Front Desk, our studio burned down,” says Anna Jane. “Since the dog-training space was part of my home, I had no place to live and we had to find a new studio space that was going to work for us. It was not the best time.” Fortunately, they soon found a funky new space that suited their and their clients’ unique needs and, with the help of Front Desk, were able to keep their business up and running.
Making the switch to Front Desk
They first discovered Front Desk at the Association of Professional Dog Trainers conference. Anna Jane says prior to making the switch to Front Desk, they found their software to be very frustrating. “I think in our first year, we logged over 80 customer support calls with Mindbody, and each call took about 20-30 minutes,” says Anna Jane, “It was annoying because there were so many things about using the product that were difficult to understand.”
“It felt like Front Desk was delivering a product that was made for us rather than us having to try to just make some other product work.”
Setting up their Front Desk business was a walk in the park, especially compared to past experiences. Anna Jane tells us that the process was much simpler and the Customer Success team was great to work with—helping School for the Dogs get their account up and running in a way that was customized to their business. “It felt like Front Desk was delivering a product that was made for us rather than us having to try to just make some other product work,” explains Anna Jane.
Once settled in their new space, they used Front Desk to manage schedules for multiple trainers, allow clients to register for accounts, and book appointments directly from their website. The duo received many compliments from clients on the new process and noted that using Front Desk “made it seem like we’re bigger than we actually are,” which was a good thing as their client base grew.
Favorite features; happy clients
In addition to online scheduling and booking, a Front Desk feature they find crucial to their financial success is the ability to take credit card information and allow people to pre-pay for sessions. Because they require a credit card to create an account, Anna Jane says that they have a very low cancellation or no-show rate (3% according to their Front Desk report), which is hard to do in their industry.
They also like that clients now have the ability to browse trainers’ schedules depending on their specific needs; for instance someone with a puppy could search specifically for puppy-training availability. And once a client has taken a class, Anna Jane says that 90% of their return customers book their next visits online—saving time and increasing efficiency for both parties.
“Our business doesn’t overlook the human experience—the dog owners are not an afterthought.”
Anna Jane says that, with Front Desk, they really like making owners’ lives simpler and supporting what their general view of dog training should be. “I think what’s missing with a lot of trainers is that their entire focus is on the dogs,” explains Anna Jane. “Our business doesn’t overlook the human experience—the dog owners are not an afterthought.”
With Front Desk giving dog owners an easy way to discover, register for, and manage their pet’s training, School for the Dogs can focus their attention on delivering great, personalized service to their canine clients. That kind of behavior is so good it deserves a treat.