Pet Inspirations: Andrew Giroux and Shawn Africk, Groomsoft Inc.
1. Please tell us about your company and what role(s) you play.
Our mission at Groomsoft is to create pet grooming software that is not only simple and user friendly, but helps groomers run their pet grooming business more efficiently.
I’m Andrew, co-founder. My role at Groomsoft is overseeing Customer Relations, Marketing and Finance. I spend most of my time managing relationships with customers, researching new technologies and solutions, marketing the business, and paying the bills. My main goal is ensuring that we're doing everything in our power to give our customers the best overall experience. The best part about my job is hearing from our customers about what they like and don't like about our product and working with my team to make improvements.
I’m Shawn, co-founder. My role at Groomsoft is managing the technical aspects of the software. I spend most of my time behind the scenes writing code, troubleshooting issues, and creating solutions and improvements that help make our software simple to use. I'm really proud of how far our software has come since its first launch a decade ago and a lot of that is due to our customer's valuable feedback.
2. How and when did you start your business? Was it inspired by a pet?
We started as a small Information Technology Consulting firm. One day a client of ours, a pet groomer, asked us to install a Windows based pet grooming software on her laptop. After we initially installed it, we were shocked by how confusing and unfriendly it was. There were a lot of unnecessary fields to enter data. It made us dizzy just looking at it -- even with our IT experience -- because the dashboard was too congested, hard to follow, and your eyes didn't know where to land on the page. We knew we could build something better. With a conversation, some coding, and a cage card, Groomsoft was born in 2011.
3. Do you have a pet(s) that joins you at work, what are their names and roles?
Andrew has 2 house/office cats, Violet & Arya. Both are American Shorthairs and help provide necessary stress relief while working from home during the pandemic. Shawn has a 12 year old Silky Terrier named Trooper who is a source of inspiration and even helps with the coding.
4. What makes your business or brand unique?
Our priority is personalized customer service and we honestly care about our customer's happiness. At Groomsoft you will always speak to a live person who will work with you directly to answer your questions, listen to your problems, and offer you solutions. We will never force you to chat with a bot or jump through hoops to get half-answers. We have a real interest in our customers because their insight and curiosity help us improve our product. Our pet grooming software was designed for groomers, by groomers, and we make it our daily mission to help your business run smoother. We're also proud to say that Groomsoft is the only pet grooming software that currently integrates with Pet Perennials to make sending pet loss sympathy gifts to your customers as easy as choosing a gift and clicking a button.
5. How does your business help pet groomers?
We currently offer Pet Grooming Sign-able Release Forms that allow your customers to sign on their personal devices, which helps reduce the spread of COVID-19, Email and Text Message Appointment Reminders to Reduce No-Shows, one centralized place to stay organized with appointment scheduling, expense tracking, sales, grooming history notes, vaccination expiration alerts, and more. Whether you’re in the shop or on the move with mobile grooming, Groomsoft is a flexible platform that you can build upon and truly make your own.
6. What have been some of your biggest challenges in running your business? How did you overcome them?
All businesses come with challenges, but the most challenging for us has been missing out on meeting and interacting with so many of our customers at industry conferences due to COVID.
7. What qualities have made you successful or do you feel are important for inspiring leaders?
To be successful in business you have to make the customer your priority. It's the reason our business is built on customer service. Without our great customers, we'd be nothing. They are the reason we wake up and do what we do every day. We try to be consistent and do the right thing for them. It's also important to have an open mind, the ability to listen and ask probing questions to get to the heart of an issue. Not every customer is going to be happy with your product. Sometimes you can adjust your product to make them happy, but sometimes you don't have the resources to make those improvements. It's important to be transparent and honest. If we can't implement a change they've suggested, or fix an issue, we try to help them understand why.
It may seem cliche to say, but it's very important to enjoy what you do. If you don't enjoy what it is you do, your unhappiness will spill over and your customers will feel it. Not every day is going to be enjoyable or easy. But try to have a sense of humor and work with your team to find solutions. Sometimes the most challenging problems result in the biggest breakthroughs. It's worth the effort to see them through if you truly enjoy what you're doing.
8. What cool things are you/your business working on that you would like to share? New product or service? Podcast or training series?
We've launched a couple of new products and enhancements. We started a new service called Pet Groomer Finder (www.petgroomerfinder.com) to help pet owners find great groomers near them. Once you locate a groomer, the pet owner can request an appointment online or call the salon directly to make an appointment. Afterwards the pet owner can leave a review, which helps other pet owners find the right groomer for them. Appointment requests automatically download into Groomsoft in addition to importing all of the customer’s information on your approval.
Our mobile mapping tool for our mobile groomers is getting an upgrade that will include Google Street View so you can see exactly what parking looks like, an "On My Way" text message feature that you can send your next appointment that will include your ETA, enhanced route optimization and more.
We've got a great team working on new features planned for this year that will make your grooming business easier to manage and save you the precious commodity of time. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date on the latest news!
9. Where can someone get more information about your business?
You can find out how Groomsoft integrates with Pet Perennials and all our other great features by visiting us at www.groomsoft.com/features/sympathy-gifts
10. Do you have a Call to Action you want us to share, if so provide it below.
Find out why other pet groomer’s love Groomsoft by visiting www.groomsoft.com today.