Going to the Dogs!
By Ron Rosenberg
It seems that coordinating an out-of-town overnight stay should be pretty straightforward to coordinate, but things don't always go as planned.
Some good friends of ours were having a local reception for their son who recently had a destination wedding in Jamaica.
Since everyone couldn't make it there for the formal ceremony, they organized a reception locally so we could all help celebrate their son's wedding.
The party was about an hour away, and we decided to stay at a nearby B&B so we wouldn't have to drive back to our house late at night. One of the couples attending the event, and also a good friend of ours who lives on the coast, were going to stay there as well, and they had made reservations at a kennel for their dog. This was a new boarding facility for them, and, since it was close to their home, they were hoping this would become their regular boarding location.
They arrived at the kennel at around 11:15 am...only to be told by the front-desk person that check-in had ended at 11:00 am. Mind you, they had checked the company's website and saw that the kennel was open that day until 1:00 pm. There was no notice of a specific check-in period, and no one had mentioned this when they made the reservation earlier in the week.
A young woman came out front and said that she knew how to process the check-ins and would take care of it for them. She went back inside to get some paperwork. Our friends could hear some loud discussion coming from that direction, and then another woman returned.
She identified herself as the owner, said the other person should not have agreed to take care of them and said that she had to go by the rules about the 11:00 am check-in time. She was sorry for any inconvenience, but there was nothing she could do about it.
What Do You Do with a "Homeless" Dog?
With no other alternatives and an important event to get to, they decided to call their veterinarian's office and see if they could board the dog overnight.
It turns out that they could do that. But when they arrived, our friends were told that the dog needed to have some tests and shots done before they could leave the dog.
What should have been a $50 charge at the first kennel turned in to several hundred dollars at the vet - more than the cost of the B&B and the wedding gift combined! Needless to say, this put a damper on their spirits that evening.
Rules Are Rules, But...
As we've said in the past, it's important to have processes, policies, and procedures. They let you present a consistent face to your customers, clients, and members. But when they keep you from delivering great - or even acceptable - service, then you need to find a way to change the process, eliminate the process, or, at the very least, go "out of process" in individual cases where it's appropriate.
There are lots of lessons to be learned here - lessons that can help you avoid the mistakes that took place on that particular Saturday.
Can you identify situations in your own business that could lead to these kinds of potential conflicts? The time to consider this is before they actually happen.