Hi there everyone. Thanks for all your feedback. This forum has been a huge labour of love over the last 14 months and we’re pleased that members are using it so much and in a huge variety of ways.
To address your specific points:
Membership fees. I’m pleased to say that our basic membership is only £10 higher than it was many years ago. You will know that we recently implemented a tiered membership structure to enable us to offer a wider range of benefits but the basic tier, offering full access to the platform, is in line with where it has been for many years. We are delighted to see so many members now enjoying the new benefits and insurance policies which are designed to add extra layers of comfort, but remain optional ensuring that members who don’t want them do not have to pay.
Our service. Firstly, I’d like to sincerely apologise to anyone who has had problems contacting us in the last few months. I can imagine how frustrating this has been. The pandemic and subsequent recovery have been unpredictable and tricky for our Membership Services team to manage. Regrettably, we found ourselves behind the curve on scaling back up, leading to understandable frustration among members and to our brilliant team working as hard as possible to answer your queries. You will be pleased to hear that we have recently recruited some excellent new TrustedTeam members and our service levels are now improving. I am committed to ensuring that we continue to make improvements to the service you receive and we are working to extend our coverage to include 24 hour support for the whole community in the coming weeks. About 40% of the Trusted Team today are in member-facing roles.
Website / app usability issues. This forum has been extremely helpful in identifying problems that require fixing. Threads such as this are really valuable for us! Thanks for taking the time to give us your feedback. We will continue to improve the site for all members, and are very aware that there remain some significant areas to address such as the review system. Some of the improvements we make are more visible than others, and more relevant to different parts of the community but please be assured that we dedicate about 50% of our development capacity to improving the experience of members. As we grow, it’s really important to us that we continue to improve the usability of the site and app.
Headcount/investment: We have a team of 43 of whom 5 (including myself) are the execs. The investment will not need to be repaid in the short term. It is there for us to grow the business sustainably over the long term.
Owner & sitter numbers. We know it is important to keep this ratio in balance and it is something we look at every day. Our objective is always for members to be successful, whichever side of the platform they are on - a huge amount of new business is driven by word of mouth, and that only comes from successful, satisfied members. We are currently acquiring new owner members at a higher rate than sitters and in absolute terms, we have more owner members than sitters.
Finally, on growth. We strongly believe that enabling our members and their pets to enjoy successful, safe, enjoyable sits is the first priority. This means attracting the right type of members to our community - owners who share our vision that pets are happiest being looked after in their own environment by a loving, trusted sitter; and sitters who share our love our pets and are willing to provide this care in exchange for a unique homestay and life experience. Attracting more members means more opportunity for everyone and, most importantly, more happy pets. That’s why we’ve raised this money, and we look forward to sharing the future with you!