My Member story: Top tips for Pet Parents

For those of you who have not met me, I am Ben and work for TrustedHousesitters as a Product Manager, I am also an active pet parent member.

By day, I work in the Member Experience team, but by night (or rather, whenever the laptop is packed), I am a pet parent to two Dachshunds and two lovable kitties.

I believe that you have to live and breathe the product and when you experience the product yourself, you really understand and identify members’ needs and problems.

Over the last year, I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed three lovely getaways, and each time have turned to TrustedHousesitters to find loving pet care for Billy, Bear, Pumpkin, and Pickle.

Here are my Pet parent’s top tips on communication, preparing for your sitter, and some general advice:

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Hi Ben!
What a wonderful intro and story!
Your family is gorgeous and though I am so very far at the moment, I look forward to someday meeting all of you.
Very warm regards from sunny Montevideo, Uruguay!

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@Ben-ProductManager I believe your story is exactly on point with what pet parents/owners should be doing to prepare and also gives sitters the chance to read what they should be expecting as well. Each scenario is different but this is a perfect “guide” to a great TrustedHousesitters experience. Well done!

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Thanks @Ben-ProductManager for sharing your story and tips. Billy, Bear, Pumpkin and Pickle all look very lovable and any sitter would really enjoy their company.
What I did find a little amusing was your first tip was ‘Over-Communicating’ - something that THS itself certainly does not do! It’s time the company practises what it preaches.

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True @temba , I would still bet the majority of HO are not aware of the pause after 5. I corresponded with two in the last week and neither one was aware of it. I think at least one more explicit email blast is necessary.

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Hi @temba @mars we will look into it further, how we can improve product announcements and how we communicate changes.

We have sent email outs, and as you may know we all get a lot of emails, so one more message in your users’ inboxes won’t necessarily get their attention.

I am a great advocate for communicating in product and when it is relevant to the user.
There’s nothing as efficient and relevant as alerting users to change while they’re actually using it. We show pop-ups and banners throughout the owner’s journey.

Thanks, Ben :blush:

Thanks @Ben-ProductManager for your reply and I know there would be many members because they are not frequent users of the site who probably ignore emails from THS. I think it is the timing of the communication from THS that is just as important as the communication itself. There’s been a lot of angst this year from members re important changes, that had there been prior notification before they were trialed/implemented and the reasoning for them, would have alleviated some of this angst.

I’m well aware of the pop-ups as I want to shoot the one that pops up every time I access my Inbox - and that is frequently - but not with my HO’s hat on! The same goes for the pop-up about referring a friend each time I search for sits!

On a happier note, give those cute pups and kitties cuddles from me please!

@Debbie-Moderator Thanks for the kind words. Will also write up my experience as a Sitter and my key learnings :blush:

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A few questions following on from my experience, just to find out what the norm is:

Do owners leave a gift? :gift: If so what?

Do owners provide local insight tailored to your interests? :coffee: :swimming_woman: (or is it just me :grin:)

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In my experience, most times and it varies from a consumable treat, (sweets egads!), gift cards, tickets to a show…fancy lotions for mind altering beverages :slight_smile: Always a surprise and fun. Sometimes we just do something together locally, also tons of fun.
Second question: Sometimes and always fun and welcome.

Not asked, but always reciprocated in some way and again, always fun.

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Quite often owners will leave something like a bottle of wine, biscuits, sweets, chocolate. Once we received a jar of home made honey.

Sometimes owners provide local insight, not necessarily always tailored to us. However we sit as a family, often for families so recommendations often come up in conversation. The more experienced the owner, the more likely there will be lots of local information available. A recent sit provided very comprehensive reviews of all the pubs in the nearby villages and information on how to walk to them. It’s a shame we were only there for a weekend!

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@Ben-ProductManager as an owner, we never left a gift per se, unless you consider a bottle of wine or local brewery beers, and a basket of goodies to get the sit started off properly.

As a sitter, we take a pic of the furbaby, get a thank you card, put the pic in a small frame, and leave all that as a thank you for allowing us the opportunity to care for their special babies.

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@Ben-ProductManager As HOs, our gift to a sitter includes groceries for their first day and a clean home with lots of room for their gear.

As sitters, our gift to HOs includes happy pets, daily photo updates, and a clean home for the HOs to return to!

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I always leave a bottle of wine and tell them they can finish whatever they want from the fridge. Which seems like the norm by the sound of it :grin:

I also always try to find out what they are interested in and provide add additional recommendations and book a few things for the Sitters, does anybody else do this?

Ben

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@Ben-ProductManager I have been meaning to mention this but wasn’t sure if it was an end user error or an actual glitch…still not sure but when I click on a link to the THS blog on my iphone, I can see the header and title but neither is clickable to the post and cannot access the post. I do see related articles.
Works great on desktop on my Mac using Chrome.
Cheers.

Hi @Amparo … Ben is just settling in to his New York house sit :slight_smile: But in the meantime, have you tried scrolling down past the related articles. On my phone I see the title, picture then Trending Posts, and the blog actually starts down after these. I did pass that feedback to the team a while ago… but this might not be the same as you are experiencing. Just mentioning though in case as it sounds similar.

So it is end user error! :rofl:
Too funny thank you. Permission to delete my post granted.