Preface and Background
I’m new to the Rover community. I’m a lifelong dog handler & trainer having taken dogs from puppies to champions in conformation and obedience. I grew up with my parents breeding Australian Shepherds, leading community K9 groups such as 4H. I’ve been sitting via Rover for less than a year in the Seattle area. I’m now focused on working/sporting/herding and large active breeds. I’m a newly retired software engineering lead having built and shipped software products at the largest scale across the planet. For fun, I have a small boutique high end K9 related business. I also practice video and photography interests with these fantastic neighborhood dogs! Rover has helped me to connect with my community meeting great dogs and dog parents.
Overall, the Rover software (mobile app and web experiences) are excellent. This sort of software is much more complex than it appears on the surface. I’m very impressed with the ease of use, features, details and flexibility the software offers. I discover new functionality all the time. The team should feel proud of what they built and for the experiences they have enabled. I can clearly see from the company communication they care about animals and their network of users. With every dog and dog parent experience my loyalty to Rover grows. Great job team. I’m very grateful for the work you do.
Here is my feedback on the experience as a sitter. My usage of the app is daily, and I consider myself an active user. I will keep the descriptions short. I’m happy to discuss solutions, technical implementation details, UI design ideas and policy adjustment proposals with anyone at anytime. Apologies in advance if some of these requests /issues/feedback are already addressed .
I have a growing list of repeat clients. I suggest adjusting the 20% take with some sort of tiered model. My clients care most about the service I give and the trust they have in me. I’ve spoken/sampled with 10 repeats and all said the Rover guarantee etc isn't important to them. All would happily pay outside of Rover the same rate. As I mentioned above my loyalty is to Rover and I have never booked outside of the app.The more times a dog repeat books over months and months the less the 20% makes sense. A lower percentage that is given after some high threshold is met seems to make more sense to me.
New clients brought on by the sitter
I purchased Rover profile cards and as a experiment have been meeting folks with dogs handing out these cards. I have conversations with folks, telling them about my service, Rover as a company etc. A number of clients have booked without using the discounted code on the back. I’m not sure why yet. I would like to see a sitter based reward or incentives for bringing in new clients that is meaningful. 20% really makes me think twice about if I should be working hard to gain new clients via my direct communication and solicitation. But I will keep doing this.
3) New client communication
It’s confusing and difficult at times to coordinate & discuss details with new clients. They need to book a date to communicate. I understand the business model of why, but I get a lot of “we don't need sitting, we are just looking for a sitter and for information.” I see messages from Rover saying I may not appear in search results until I book or archive. Communication, screening and booking details take time. I suggest a way to communicate with sitters without booking. If a sitter has a good track record over time it could be a feature. I also would like a way to enable or make my real phone the default. I spend time getting to know parents, they come to my home, I go to their homes to pick up dogs, I care for their family member. They should have my phone number. It’s awkward to explain the out of state, random phone number. I've also seen where numbers get crossed- I’m expecting to talk with one client but get another. I want to use my real number everywhere all the time. Also, as a sitter wanting to connect with other sitters to recommend clients I can't. I have book a stay to communicate.
General list of things in no priority order
Add special case rates- Dogs that require high touch could have their own tier as puppies do. Super last minute, dogs that require frequent care, dogs with issues etc. After a phone screen I would like to be able to say I will take your dog but due to the level of care there’s a special rate. Something I can just select verses adjusting manually every time. Two untrained, high maintenance, high risk German Shepards shouldn't be same rate as a repeat known client. :-)
Calendar - Great job on the calendar sync feature. I just discovered this! Please and [END] Next to the day the dogs stay ends. This would make it easy to see when space opens up while on the phone with clients etc.
Add bulk editing to calendar - Currently seems like I can only edit two days at a time?
Booking- It’s too easy to click on book by accident in the mobile app. A confirmation dialog would be helpful.
Pick up and drop off times can be confusing- maybe make it a requirement to book?
Promotion codes and profile URLS are too long - could be sittername and city or something easier to remember/type.
Pay- Add a tiered system or incentive. Rover sitters with X amount bookings etc get paid the day the dog goes home. 48 hours is too long.
Email content- Promote the software features. Example- Did you know you can unarchive? I get marketing material but not a lot of “new feature” or feature spotlight communication.
Media content- Add Animated GIF and video support. The Rover reels are not interesting and get repetitive. Encourage video and give sitters techniques to improve client updates. There’s a big opportunity to do more here.
Communication - Add dog and parent name to text messages. The same format as the calendar sync would be great. If you are communicating with 8-10 clients it can be hard to figure out who you are talking with.
Thanks for building such a great service and software. The app is fantastic, and works great consistently. You cant be all things to all users, and shipping software is hard. These are just my opinions and feedback after using the service for 7 or so months.
I like some of your suggestions, and hope you get some feedback from Rover HQ. If Rover ever implements any of this please let us know
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