A leading UK dog crèche business has designed and launched a pioneering interactive real-time doggy day care app.
The customer app has been many months in the making and forms part of a broader industry-leading technology suite. This includes cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) software and a doggy bus driver iPad app.
Surrey-based Bruce’s Doggy Day Care was looking to provide its customers with something unique and unrivalled to give them an even better customer experience. Allowing them to keep track of their beloved pets in real-time while at work or away was the perfect solution.
The customer app – #BDDCApp – is free to all Bruce’s Doggy Day Care clients, with almost half (44%) downloading it within weeks of its launch. It enables them to browse pictures of their pooch at day care and manage their dog’s bookings, including syncing their dog’s activities to their own iCloud calendar.
Key features of the customer app include:
- Request, view and edit services or bookings.
- Receive real-time notifications about their dog.
- See regularly updated photos of their dog and upload pictures themselves.
- Ask for feedback and communicate with the doggy day care team.
- View and pay invoices by direct debit or credit card.
- Rate Bruce’s Doggy Day Care for others to read.
The iOS customer app was co-designed from scratch by Bruce’s Doggy Day Care managing director, Bruce Casalis, and software design company, Bitcube, and was built using the Apple powerful program language, Swift.
Bruce Casalis explains: “As a business, we’ve been growing at a rapid rate for several years, which is great, but that in itself brings challenges. As our doggy day care centres expanded and our customer base grew, so too did the back office administration. Tasks such as booking in dogs and communicating with their owners became more complex and time consuming. I’m a huge fan of innovative technology, so it was inevitable my lightbulb moment focused on building software to streamline this process. This in turn has given our customers more control and a more personal experience with us.”
Bruce Casalis continues: “As the UK’s largest doggy day care service, we’ve used technology to innovate in a way never seen before in the UK pet care industry. After a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we now have one of the largest scale dog day care software systems globally; capable of handling hundreds of thousands of services and customers.”
In addition to a better customer experience, the business benefits of the app and wider technology suite include significant efficiency gains in administration time and process, leading to less human error and operational risk. The in-depth business intelligence provided also gives Bruce and his team a huge competitive advantage.
Riaan van Straaten, chief operations officer, Bitcube, adds:
“When Bruce first came to us, we knew his ideas where technically ambitious. However, it was only as the project developed that we realised there wasn’t a template to follow as this had never been done before. So we got creative to design something innovative and brand new. It’s been a fascinating and exciting process which the team at Bitcube has fully embraced and enjoyed. What’s also great is that this bespoke technology now exists in a form that can flex and grow with Bruce’s business.”
The Bruce’s Doggy Day Care customer app can be found on the Apple App Store.
The iPad and iPhone apps were built using Apple’s latest program language, Swift. These apps required 53,000 lines of code and 1,800 developer hours.
The cloud-based CRM suite was written in Ruby on Rails (the same framework used by Airbnb) with standard front end web technologies. It took 8,800 developer hours and 24+ months to complete with a Ruby code base of 45,000 lines of code.
The CRM suite is integrated via API with Xero Accounting, GoCardless Direct Debit, Stripe Card Payments and Mailchimp/Mandrill. It has 134,000 individual services booked for the next two years.