Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Someone stole my client!

Dear Labby,

I was so busy over the holidays I couldn’t take care of all my clients. So I referred one client to Pam, another pet sitter in our town. Now I find out that my client has switched to her permanently! I am so mad! What can I say to Pam to make her give my client back?

Signed, Grrrrr

Dear Grrrr,

I’m sorry you lost a client, and it sounds like it wasn’t your fault. But the cold hard truth is that the client decides whom to hire as a pet sitter, and Pam may have had nothing to do with it.

This has happened to me, and I wasn’t very happy about it either. But I realized there is nothing I can do about it. Clients come and go over the years for many reasons, often having nothing to do with the pet sitter. They often leave without telling you. They may move, the pet may die, or they found a neighbor to care for Fluffy for them. It’s hard to lose a client, but it is a fact of life. You wish they would tell you, but people tend to avoid difficult conversations, so don’t be surprised if you don’t get a call.

Try this: call your clients and say you haven’t heard from them in awhile, and you just want to touch base and see if they have any travel plans coming up. You could ask if they were happy with the service they got from the pet sitter you referred them to. They might, or might not, tell you that they are using someone else now, and why.

When one of my clients left for another pet sitter (actually it was a boarding client), I ran into them at the park one day and asked them if they were now using “Sue” instead of me. They were very nice. One of their dogs was clearly happier at Sue’s place, they told me. My house had too much commotion and the dog was overwhelmed. At Sue’s they were the only guests, and their dog was happy to go there. I wished them the best, and told them I was available if they ever needed me.

Really, what else can you say? It’s their choice and they had a valid reason to switch. There is no reason to burn bridges and get angry. They may come back to you one day. And if you get mad, they’ll be sure to tell everyone they know, hurting your reputation.

So, buck up buckaroo; bite your tongue and keep your frustration to yourself. It’s not your fault, and it’s something you can’t control. You may decide not to refer to this pet sitter again, and that’s your privilege.

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© 2009 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved. Photo above: Oliver and Kenna get acquainted.

1 comment:

Pet Mom 1 said...

Hi there, I am a pet sitter in Northern Calif. I love your response. It is true. We all have had clients move to said referred sitters on occasion. You win some and you loose some.
I, in turn, have been called by new potential clients out of the blue (or out of the phone book), that just want a change..........such is business. Lynda; Wagging Tails Pet Sitting of Redding