Better than a Mission Statement: Acme Canine’s Strategic Vision

This isn’t a “mission statement.” It’s Acme Canine’s strategic vision – meaning it can be followed into the future.

Almost every business has a mission statement. Unfortunately, once those mission statements are created and shared, they are almost always forgotten and have little if anything to do with everyone’s day-to-day work.

Thankfully, this isn’t a “mission statement.” It’s a strategic vision – meaning it can be followed into the future. The main difference is that we can all relate to it and act on it daily. It’s designed to let us all know how we fit into Acme Canine Resource Center’s story in meaningful ways. It will be used regularly – by everyone –as a guide for who we serve best, how we help them, and why it is genuinely worthwhile to work here.

Probably the most critical part of this is that all of us must clearly understand not just our work but exactly how that impacts our customers’ lives. We have to know how our actions will improve our customers’ happiness and quality of life and their dogs. We need to know it, and we need to communicate it with our efforts.

We’re excited about this vision, and we hope you will be too. Thanks for taking the time to read it, and we hope you find your place in it.

 Who We Should Serve Best

It is a huge part of their family for most people who own a pet. When spending total one-on-one time with our pets, everything else melts away. Unconditional love, trust, and dependence are freely given, and our unworthiness keeps us in awe of and enthusiastically obligated to our four-legged family members.

The type of customer we should serve best is just like Erica and her husband, TJ. They are empty-nesters who work. Erica is an attorney, and TJ is a computer programmer with flexible hours. TJ has had dogs before, and Erica loves being a new dog owner. They live a few miles from our center and dearly love their dogs, Waffle and Simba. They love them so much that they consider them part of their family! And because the McConnells are conscientious owners, they are willing to be picky regarding who helps to take care of them.

Our best customers, like the McConnells, are willing to be educated and want two main things from us: 1) Peace of Mind and 2) Outstanding Service.

Peace of Mind

When we say “peace of mind,” that means something concrete. Peace of mind means the ability to relax – to relax. It means knowing they can trust us. Our customers want to know that their dog is in the best hands, getting the best treatment and having a blast while away. They want to see that they are doing the best they can for their dog as a dog owner, and it matters.

In building that trust, we get to know our customers and their dogs. We know what they do and what they like. We congratulate them on personal and professional victories, and we care about their setbacks.

In getting to know customers like Erica and TJ on this level, we can better anticipate their needs and be ready to serve those needs…even before they ask. We can recommend care and services for Waffle and Simba or that Erica and TJ might not know. This keeps their dogs in peak health and happiness.

The other aspect of peace of mind is that we listen – carefully. We take our customers’ concerns to heart and let them know that we are interested in understanding and solving those concerns. If something can be made better, we’re on it! And we answer questions with professionalism and courtesy.

Outstanding service can sound like a marketing term, but we mean it at Acme Canine Resource Center. The McConnells of the world have a certain expectation – thoughts about how things should go and the results they want to see. And it’s our job to deliver consistently and professionally.

How We Serve Them Best

Now let’s talk service. This means that our customer’s dog is happy. They think to themselves, “My dog is having as good a time or better than I am,” while they are here.

Our goal is to have everything our customers need. But it doesn’t end there. Having options available is good, but it only becomes excellent when the services are provided and priced, exceeding expectations.

In doing that, we have to have excellent service, products, and a team of professionals and have a culture that inspires everyone to think ahead and consider what might be necessary to any particular client. Perhaps it’s just a reassuring phone call, a washed bed, or an unexpected picture at checkout…whatever it is, it’s found by paying attention to our customers’ needs and acting in meaningful ways.

Our mission is to provide an unparalleled experience for dogs by offering various care and activity packages and top-notch convenience for customers through pick-up and drop-off service and flexibility for daycare customers.

Erica and TJ’s Galapagos Vacation

It wasn’t too long ago that Erica and TJ decided to go on a honeymoon to the Galapagos Islands. Erica had always wanted to go there. But the business of life had always gotten in the way. Now, they decided it was finally time.

As they were happily planning their dream vacation, three weeks in the Galapagos, choosing the right ship, organizing the activities, deciding which restaurants, Erica was suddenly struck with an overwhelming feeling of guilt.

Why? She was supposed to be excited and happy – but suddenly, that all seemed to disappear. It was the thought of their dogs. Would they have as good a time as Erica and TJ? Would they be happy and well cared for? Would they forget their obedience commands? What kind of owner would she be if she left this to chance?

At this point, the McConnells had not yet come to be a client at Acme Canine Resource Center and just tried to make do with what they could find in the way of dog care. They were not very happy. They used to have three dogs until one was killed at another kennel facility. It had devastated their entire household so much that they had been afraid to go on vacations because they had such mistrust in the animal care industry. And with this trip in the planning stages, she promised herself that this time would be different – very different.

How She Found Us

Erica and TJ had close friends that also had dogs and cats. They watched as their friends took trip after trip, and their dogs always came back happy and healthy! Erica approached her friend with her dilemma. She asked her good friend who they had found to take care of the family dogs while away.

Her friend sat her down at the family dinner table over a cup of coffee. She explained that she had been using Acme Canine Resource Center since 2004. Erica again shared her experiences with kennels and was rightfully very concerned. Her friend listened intently with compassion and sorrow.

Her friend went to the computer with Erica in tow and pulled up Acme Canine Resource Center’s website. She went into detail about what the center offers and even showed her online pictures on Facebook of the dogs during their playtimes. She explained that she knew the staff and owner personally for years and trusted Acme Canine Resource Center with her family members. She told Erica to call us, but she had better hurry as our center books up quickly!

That’s how we first met Erica and TJ McConnell. Erica called us that day and asked us a ton of questions. We listened to her story, and it brought tears to our eyes. We invited her to come out to take a tour anytime during business hours…she didn’t need an appointment, nor did she have to call ahead of time. She was so relieved to hear that because other places required appointments, and she shared that she always was concerned that they were “staging” their tours.

She was so excited about the expertise and professionalism that she shared her experience with TJ. They talked and decided when to come for their “unannounced tour.”

Lifelong Relationships

As you can see, we want to start the relationship on the right footing so that long-term trust can be established. Our best customers become a part of our family, and we become a part of theirs. We’re not just another stop on the to-do list. We care, and we know them and their dogs, and they value us for that. We want them to continue being customers through generations of family dogs – customers for life (their life) is our goal.

Because Erica and TJ’s travel plans were coming up soon, they needed to take the tour soon. On the day they decided to tour (the next day), they pulled up in the parking lot, and we were ready.

The Tour

Erica and TJ arrived anxious but soon were put at ease by the view of dogs playing all around. Erica and TJ were greeted like family by a staff member in the lobby. They were welcomed with a smile and a gentle touch. They even commented to us about how quiet the place is; that none of the dogs seemed stressed. Erica said, “Oh wow! It’s so homey; the dogs all seem so comfortable here!”

Stephenie spent a few minutes getting to know Erica and TJ and hearing about their dogs. She thanked them for their time. It wasn’t long before Jen popped out the double doors to take them on their tour. They began with hearing the history of Acme Canine Resource Center and why we do what we do. Our kennels look and smell clean, our building is in excellent shape, and the low-stress environment was apparent. Not your typical boarding kennel! Erica and TJ could tell by the condition of the building and the play areas that their dogs would be safe and secure.

After visiting each area of the center, Erica and TJ were very impressed with the cleanliness and professionalism. They appreciated the fact that we enforce structure and commands. And they were thinking in the back of their minds, “This is THE place!”

We answered all of their questions and gave them a schedule of fees along with all of our requirements. They were impressed that the owner’s daughter and family lived on-site as they felt safe about that. They made a “trial weekend” reservation that day to allow their pups to see how THEY would like the facility.

Their First Day Stay

An Acme Canine staff member graciously walked outside to meet Erica, TJ, and the boys. Since Waffle and Simba had been cooped up for some time, they were a real handful getting out of the SUV. Much to Erica and TJ’s relief, the staff member helped guide both dogs inside, where our staff greeted them. Erica got to walk in peaceably and felt a weight lift off her shoulders. “Wow,” she thought, “this is great!”

Erica, TJ, and the staff member went over again what the day would entail and confirmed any grooming wishes or special requests they had. They left for their weekend stay looking very happy and content. Once they arrived at their hotel, Erica was so curious that she checked in to make sure they were okay. Our staff member gave a brief report that all was well and that we looked forward to seeing her in a couple of days. About 3hrs later, she got an email with a photo of her dogs happily playing! “Unbelievable!” she thought to herself.

When Erica and TJ came back to pick up the dogs that Sunday, they were greeted by our staff and asked about their weekend away. They already felt like they were getting to know Acme Canine, and, so far, they liked everyone they had come into contact with.

Our staff gave them a warm greeting and a total rundown of Waffle and Simba’s stay.

On Monday, they received a postcard from their boys saying how much they had enjoyed their weekend at Acme Canine. Later in the day, Erica received a call from Acme Canine to thank Simba and Waffle for staying at Acme later in the day. We also mentioned that their kids might enjoy our open boarding package and a training refresher for the McConnell’s upcoming trip to keep their manners fresh. Erica enthusiastically said, “Yes,” and the arrangements were made for Waffle and Simba to spend their vacation with us!

Erica and TJ’s Time to Travel

Well, the big day finally came, and Erica and TJ dropped off their dogs, said a heartfelt goodbye, and were reassured by our staff that the dogs would be fine, happy, and well taken care of. Erica and TJ drove off towards the airport with a few tears and some smiles.

On their way, Erica and TJ got excited about their adventure ahead. They were also thinking how amazing Waffle and Simba’s vacation was going to be too! Erica took a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief. Now off to the Galapagos in peace! When they arrived, they had already received an email from us with happy pictures of their pups!

Our Services

Much like the McConnell’s experience on vacation, our regular customers get the same quality care and services!

All owners can email us or log onto Facebook to check on their pups. A simple phone call gives them a quick but thorough report as well. Whether it’s winter or summer, we have special services that make it a wonderful experience for everyone. One of our services that many don’t expect but truly value is the dog-centric way we handle our facility. We educate our clients about what to look for in evaluating a dog care facility. We teach them about assessing the actual costs of boarding and what questions to ask. We show them how we make those things standard at Acme Canine Resource Center. We also give feedback on their four-legged family members’ health and potential issues, such as new lumps formed since their previous stay. And we maintain their dog’s training while in our care. We help them feel great about how well their dogs will be cared for, paid attention to, and loved!

After the McConnells returned from their honeymoon to pick up their happy, healthy, tired dogs, they were hooked. Simba couldn’t stop wagging his tail and insisted on saying goodbye to every staffer on his way out. Waffle even sat for her to put his leash on!

Erica and TJ are now part of the Acme Canine family, and we are part of theirs.

The Benefits Just Keep On Coming

Erica and TJ have become some of our biggest fans! They have recommended us to countless friends and neighbors. And with each recommendation, they get a free night’s stay for Simba and Waffle! They like that. They have even given us suggestions on products or services we might consider offering at our Moochie & Co. satellite store. We want to systematically ensure every need is handled and anticipated with excellence and professionalism that builds a long-term relationship.

Our Team

To serve our best customers in this way, our team has to be the best. Our staff is upbeat and happy, professionally dressed, and knows what’s expected of them. We are all continuing education to keep our skill set fresh and up to date. We all use the proper terminology and training techniques and are well versed in communicating them with prospects and customers alike. Every job function is documented and fully systemized. There’s a unique “way” we do everything. And we reward our employees for the great work they do. We all take ownership of our responsibilities and feel great about knowing that our efforts are rewarded. We have become a model business for other dog professionals to understand how to operate a dog hotel at the “Ritz Carleton” level through hard work and diligence.

Why We Do It

We enjoy seeing dog owners feel good about caring for their four-legged family members. The services we provide for them go far beyond just caring for their animals. It involves developing a meaningful, purpose-filled relationship with every one of them, a relationship that will grow and prosper through many generations of dog ownership. It’s so great to be able to educate dog owners and share the knowledge we have in order for them to make better decisions for their dog(s) daily. We genuinely want their dog(s) to be healthier and live longer, happier lives. We have become known in the community as a company that gives back and cares for various dog non-profit organizations, local charity events, and fundraisers.

Nothing makes us happier than to hear a dog owner say, “When my dog knows he’s going to Acme Canine Resource Center, he/she gets so excited!!” That to us is a true success!!

We Are Their Companions

We believe our customers’ dogs are family members. No, not in a ridiculous way, but humanely – we should view them as deserving of respect and loving care. At Acme Canine Resource Center, our goal is to improve the bond between dogs and their owners in all situations. Dogs are full of unconditional love. And we must give some of that back.

When you see in a customer’s eyes the look, they get when they understand that we care about their dogs just the way they do – when they know that it’s true – well, that’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. It’s overwhelming. It’s heartwarming. It’s the combination of immense trust and honorable service that makes us so proud of what we do. And it drives us to be looking for ways to improve constantly. And that’s why we do it. The center is our home, and our home is our center. This is our story, and this is Acme Canine Resource Center.

Let’s talk canines, or even better, let’s learn about dogs.  Gain more canine knowledge through Acme Canine’s social media:  websiteFacebookYouTubeInstagram