A guide to quick and easy adoption enquiry responses
As people visiting the PetRescue website continues to grow, so too does the number of enquiries sent by interested adopters to you. Managing these enquiries in an efficient and effective manner can be tricky, so we’ve put together a few pointers on how you can grease the wheels and make the whole experience quick, easy and positive for everyone - especially you!
Everyone deserves a response
Okay, let’s kick off with the most important step. Responding to each and every enquiry you receive may seem daunting, but it’s also increasingly important. A large volume of the feedback we receive from potential adopters expresses their frustration and disappointment in not receiving any response to their enquiry, especially after they’ve fallen in love with a specific pet and shown an interest in learning more about them.
People who visit PetRescue.com.au in search of a pet carefully consider which pets suit their individual needs, and many feel a strong connection when they lay eyes on ‘the one’. This bond and their feelings are important to consider when building a strategy for communicating with adopters who apply for pets.
It doesn’t have to be right away, but everyone deserves a response to every enquiry - not just to spare people’s feelings, but to also uphold a level of professionalism the public expects of us.
Set up an autoresponder
One of the most effective, and easiest ways, to manage the expectations of enquirers is to install an autoresponder in your inbox. An autoresponder sends an email to everyone who enquires about a pet automatically. This should indicate to them that processing adoptions can take time and that each enquiry will be considered according to the pet's personality. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds - here are some step-by-step guides to walk you through it for both Gmail or Outlook. If you’re using a different email client, try searching for instructions using Google or get in touch with us for some help.
Short application form
We also recommend that you don’t use a long and detailed application form as the very first step. Try using a shorter application form that is limited to just a few key details. We suggest nothing more than their basic contact details and three or four lifestyle questions - enough to give you an idea of who that person is without going into a lot of detail. It’s also a really great way of starting a conversation with the adopter and engaging with them on a personal level.
Filling out multiple massive forms with various rescue groups only to be told ‘no’ puts adopters off and discourages them from persisting in trying to adopt.
Thanks, but no thanks
Letting people down when their application has been unsuccessful can be one of the hardest parts of running a rescue group. However, it can also be one of the most important and, if managed correctly, can ensure a potential adopter isn’t lost.
Start things off by thanking people for applying - this can be the start of letting them down gently. Carefully explain the reasons for the unsuccessful application (lifestyle reasons etc.) and, this is the important part, recommend other pets from your group that may suit them better, or simply refer them back to PetRescue if they aren’t the right adopter for your group. That way, they don’t feel too disheartened and will hopefully continue their quest to adopt a rescue pet.
Create a shortlist of applicants
These contenders have already completed the short form, so you know they have the potential to suit the pet they applied for. By asking this shortlist to complete the longer, more detailed form, you can find out more about their current situation and lifestyle.
Alternatively, you could chat with potential adopters over the phone using a set of standard questions as a reference point. This gives you the chance to clarify any requirements and get a feel for the kind of home they can offer.
If not now, maybe later
Even if they’re not right for this pet right now, maybe another will suit them in the future - keep interested adopters on a list of potentials and contact them at a later date when you have a pet that might suit them better.
Have any questions, feedback or need help recruiting a customer-service savvy volunteer to assist with managing enquiries? Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.