Kalista runs City Sniffers, a successful dog walking business in the inner-west of Sydney. Booking up to 24 fur babies a day, communicating with fur parents, and managing staff started to take a toll on her business and took up a lot of her personal time.
City Sniffers has grown exponentially in the last 12 months, with a growing number of staff and fur babies. Kalista managed her business on Apple Notes; however, using Notes was no longer a sufficient tool.
We knew the solution had to cater for two user types;
There were several challenges that we had to solve for Kalista and staff;
The challenges we had to solve for fur parents:
It was natural to come up with a mobile app as a solution for Kalista and her staff as well as fur parents to use. For Kalista and her staff the app would act as a CMS. For fur parents it would be a place to manage their fur babies’ bookings.
The app would have the following features to help solve the challenges both City Sniffers and fur parents were facing.
📰 News feed
Prior to launching the app, Kalista and her team would post individual videos and photos of the dogs during the walk to their fur parents. This could be time consuming and distracting, especially if Kalista was minding 8 x fur babies per walk.
The app provides a news feed in which Kalista and her staff can post videos and photos of the dogs after they’ve been dropped off. They are able to tag the dogs, therefore notifying the fur parents of the fun their fur babies are having. The fur parents are also able to comment and like the posts as well.
Fur parents would make direct debit payments and Kalista would need to cross check payments with walks the dogs went on. Often, Kalista would lose track of credits.
To solve this problem the app provides a Shop where fur parents are able to choose different product offerings to purchase. Payments are processed by Square. Invoices are sent directly to the customer. Once the purchase is complete, Kalista is able to see credits available for each dog. As each walk is completed, a credit is deducted.
As an added bonus, using Square means Kalista is now able to see her weekly/monthly sales in one place.
📅 Bookings calendar & 📝 Activity Logs
In the app we wanted to provide fur parents the ability to book their fur babies in for a walk in a calendar. This meant fur parents were able to book in advance, book recurring walks, and cancel bookings if a walk wasn't necessary for that week.
With the app, we are able to provide full transparency for City Sniffers fur parents by offering activity logs. Full logs of all dog walks are accessible to the fur parent. The logs shows all the status changes such as pending bookings, confirmations, pick ups and drop offs.
A group chat gives the ability for dog owners of the same household to chat to the staff at City Sniffers.
Prior to the app, Kalista would manually write messages to inform each individual fur parent of various events such as booking confirmation, amount of credits remaining, etc. With the app, we can enable push notifications to automate important information.
⚙️ Easy onboarding
Having an app also allows for easy onboarding for new clients. Every time Kalista meets a new fur parent and furbaby she would be able to take them through the steps of signing up to the City Sniffers app.
Upon signing up to the app, the fur parents need to create a profile for their fur baby and themselves. Having both the fur baby and fur parents profiles readily available means Kalista and her staff can access information more conveniently. E.g. Pick-up address, emergency contacts, vet details, etc.
📋 Pack management
This feature is one of the most important features for Kalista and her staff and proved to be a challenge to design for. As fur parents book in dog walks, the pack management feature will update and notify Kalista of the dogs that are booked in. Therefore, she is able to assign dogs to an allocated time with a dog walker assigned as well.
How will we measure success? The app has a lot of features but our number one goal was for the app to enable Kalista to manage her business efficiently, save time, and manage the growth of her business. Secondly, to have fur parents confidently purchase walks and book walks for their fur babies.
"The App that was created specifically for my small business has been such an integral part of not only providing a high level of service to my customers but also having the ability and power to expand the business. We discussed the main features together and what would help me to operate my business more coherently and the developers and creators really nailed the brief. I couldn’t be happier with what they have provided in such an efficient time frame. As a small business owner you want to know that your plans for the future can be fulfilled and with this app I have the confidence and power to pursue that. So thank you to the team for the amazing work you have created." - Kalista Tsoupis, Owner
“this app is absolutely fantastic; making our lives even easier ... love it!” - Danielle Casella
“Just want to echo the positive comments on this app - one of the best I’ve used! So easy to book and order packs, and great communication with the walkers!” - Anika Gauja
City Sniffers App is available to download at Apple app store and google play store. Note: only City Sniffers customers will be granted app usage.
I was fortunate to team up with my partner Andrew Vo-Nguyen to design and develop the City Sniffers app. Andrew has written in detail the technical specifications he's used for the app. If you're curious check it out here.
© Copyright Alice Lo