13 Oct

No more melodious K9 choir concerts, wild phone chases, mysterious messages and misunderstandings.

RING RING… The insistent ring of the phone interrupts the pivotal moment I share with a dog on the brink of a breakthrough. I reluctantly abandon the heartening gaze of my canine companion and usher her to help me locate the nearest phone handset. On the very last ring, I answer, only to be greeted with, “We’re calling about your vehicle’s manufacturer warranty…”

You may have seen this on each page of our website and in our autoresponders:

Please note: We only have phone support during office hours (Mon-Friday 7 AM-6 PM). The best way to contact us 24/7 is to message us through your online client portal.

That being said…

May we have a candid conversation about phone calls. You see, as a small business, we can’t quite stretch our budget to include a full-time receptionist. Thus, in addition to providing top-notch dog training services, our dedicated team takes on a wide range of tasks behind the scenes. This includes everything from scheduling and attending appointments, addressing client inquiries and questions, diligently maintaining records and writing report cards, keeping our training materials and equipment well-organized, ensuring the facility remains spotless, capturing captivating photos of the dogs for report cards and social media, and above all, prioritizing the safety of our four-legged friends.

Your MuttSchool trainers are usually not any where near the ringing telephone, engrossed in delivering quality service to the dogs and their owners. You see, we are passionate about our work, and your satisfaction is paramount. But here’s the kicker – though the phone rings constantly throughout the day, only a small percentage of these calls are genuinely from clients or prospective clients. So, it’s not a matter of us neglecting your call, but more about the delicate juggling act we perform. It’s a bit like trying to keep a pack of puppies in line – it’s no easy feat. And I want you to understand why…

Pretend you’re a trainer here at our facility, handling a 100-pound Great Dane that’s decided it’s the Usain Bolt of doggy sprints. The phone rings, and you try to move across the facility toward the ringing handset with the dog in tow. But the Dane has other plans. His training session has been interrupted twice before by phone calls, and now he’s frustrated and wants to go to the play yard with his friends. He takes off to the back door with lightening bolt speed, but as you try to encourange him to move in the direction of the handset, he flops to the ground and refuses to move. Too late. You miss that call.

Ten minutes later, you have the Dane set up on a playdate with his besties. Now you have an adorable mini Aussie on the end of the leash. As you get to the phone, you discover it’s Google on the line, insisting your listing is out of date, when it’s not. Next up, a sales call! Someone wants to sell you industrial-grade cleaning supplies. Not long after that, you, and the dog you are training, scramble to answer the phone, anticipating it being an important client call, but instead, you’re greeted with “The Data Leak,” where an overly enthusiastic caller insists that your data is in grave danger unless you buy their cybersecurity package. But it gets better.

Finally, a real person calls—A CLIENT with a question! Just as you settle down to take that call, the dogs decide it’s time for their impromptu canine choir practice. They howl, they bark, they hit notes that only other dogs can appreciate. You can’t hear a word your client is saying over the ruckus. You excuse yourself into a quieter room, usually the bathroom, but now you have nothing except a paper towel to write a message on. That is, if you happen to have a pen with you to write the message down on the paper towel.

The dogs’ favorite song? It’s ‘Bark to the Future,’ and they’re ready for an encore every time you call!

Then, you settle into a training session. You’ve finally managed to get one of your stubborn pups to focus on a new skill. The phone rings AGAIN! And, this time you hope it’s just “Google calling about your listing” so you can get off the phone quickly and back to the success you were having. But no, your new phone buddy has other plans – it’s someone asking about our services. GREAT! We love those! But, a half-hour conversation later, the four-legged friend you were training before couldn’t care less about working with you, now. All that success, down the drain.

Ah, and there’s another little twist to this tale – messages! They’re like secret treasure maps, but instead of leading to gold, they lead to confusion. Messages don’t seem to have GPS for our facility, and they rarely end up where they need to be. Try canceling a class on the weekend when there’s no phone support, and your instructor won’t know you’re not coming until the following WEDNESDAY when she works again.

Also, not every trainer has every answer, and sometimes it feels like we’re running a “Who Wants to Be a Dog Training Expert?” game show. Picture this: You’re calling DaySchool, but your question is all about Group Classes, and the trainer who picks up the phone might not have the answer you seek. These are two distinct services, each with its own nuances and specialized team members, and their domains don’t always intersect. So, you might get a “Phone a Friend” lifeline in the form of our experts. They strive to provide the most accurate and helpful responses, but sometimes, it’s a bit like trying to find a squirrel at a dog park – it might take a moment or two.

In our relentless commitment to balancing dog training and ensuring your pets receive the best care, phone calls don’t always get answered and inquiries don’t always make it to the intended recipient immediately.

Questions may find their way into a tattered and torn message book, where they might patiently wait until the right team member, who may not even be at work until a couple of days later, can address them. But, messages also have a knack for finding unconventional hiding spots: scraps of paper, the trainer’s white board, on hands, locked inside our brains, even on lunch sacks. But guess what? It is very possible that it won’t make it to the person you left the message for.

Rest assured, every inquiry is important to us, and we’re dedicated to providing thoughtful and thorough responses.

So here’s our plea…help us skip the scavenger hunt!

Contact us through our brand-spanking-new, convenient, client portal instead of ringing us up on the old dog and bone. Log in below and send us a message. Doing so helps us be more organized and respond faster.

I’m hoping you can see why we’d much prefer you to use our client portal? It’s a doggone good way to get in touch without all the fur-tastic mayhem. Plus, it helps us keep the dogs in line and our trainers sane. So, save yourself from listening to our Barking Bee-Bop Brigade on the other end of the line. Then we’ll be safe to ignore the Google bots, warranty upgrades and the cleaning supply salespeople.

Let’s keep things simple. Please use the client portal, and I promise not to unleash any more of my hounds of humor in your direction! (OK, maybe I can’t promise that part).


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