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From Transactional to Trusting: How Modern Animal Transformed Pet Care With Slack


BY REBECCA DECZYNSKI, STAFF EDITOR, INC.


When your pet is nervous, you can’t help but feel the same. As both a pet parent and serial entrepreneur in the pet wellness space, Modern Animal Founder and CEO Steven Eidelman understood this more than most when he set out to disrupt the vet industry. Today, Modern Animal leads with transparency and trust so that owners know exactly what to expect every time they visit a Modern Animal clinic, regardless of location.


Eidelman met engineer Keith Hackbarth after Hackbarth’s dog had torn both her ACLs. “It was a very traumatic moment, but when I heard about Modern Animal, I instantly knew it was a place where I wanted to invest in professionally,” he says. Hackbarth became employee number two.

Eidelman’s concept prioritizes people, pets, and a seamless experience to “better the lives of animals by building a place that’s better for all of us who love them.” To best serve this mission and tens of thousands of members, both in-clinic and 24/7 virtual teams clock in from all around the world. Since day one, the organization has relied on Slack to connect its distributed teams, centralize communications, and unlock productivity.


A global workforce delivering proprietary, pet-centric solutions

To elevate the pet owner and practitioner experience, Modern Animal builds its own in-house technology, including an easy-to-use app, intuitive website, and “Claude,” the robust software that powers its clinics. Behind the code is an engineering team with members distributed across Poland, Argentina, and the United States. “With Slack, we communicate with our engineers on many different projects in every possible time zone, empowering us to build the best technology, quickly,” Hackbarth says.


This proprietary software is a large part of what separates Modern Animal from the pack. Pet owners have total control over the care of their best friends, with on-demand virtual vet sessions and instant access to medical records--a feature that has no doubt saved countless headaches.


To give members the power to seamlessly refill prescriptions at the tap of a button, Modern Animal utilizes a custom Slack workflow. By automating requests in Slack--where the team is already working--the internal fulfillment center knows which prescription requests to prioritize. This alleviates the burden of potentially messy administrative work and frees up the team to focus on delivering the best possible care for both pets and their owners.


Scaling with purpose to build trust and transparency

Each Modern Animal clinic is thoughtfully built from the ground up to ensure every detail is exactly how they want it, from open floor plans to abundant natural light. Launch strategy and operations associate Julia Herrera-West manages new openings from lease signing to about two months after the doors open for business.


Essential to each clinic’s success are Slack channels, virtual spaces to share messages, automations, digital tools, and files. Each location is set up with a specific set of channels, including clinic leadership and internal go-tos. They also use Slack Connect to extend secure, channel-based messaging to vendors.


Modern Animal now has 15 clinics in Southern California, Northern California, and Austin and Dallas, Texas, with plans to open more before the end of 2023. As it grows, Slack allows Modern Animal to move quickly and purposefully. “Slack facilitates sustainable clinics at scale,” says Herrera-West, ensuring that all processes can be replicated across the board. If someone just left the West Hollywood clinic, for example, they could visit Modern Animal’s Studio City clinic and feel confident that they’ll experience the same consistent support and quality.


Enabling a team culture built for the people, by the people

Modern Animal’s culture is an indispensable part of the employee experience, whether someone is working in a clinic, at headquarters, remotely, or freelance. “We use Slack to create a culture led by employees, based on their beliefs and wants,” says Ken Puno, director of human resources. “Leadership revisits this daily so we align with our people-first culture.”


New members gain instant access to relevant channels and are introduced by their manager, with teammates chiming in via threads and emojis. “New folks get a lot of quick wins in Slack, whether it’s gaining historical knowledge or spinning up a quick huddle with your new manager,” Puno says. “It’s a warm welcome that gives everyone a baseline of where we are.” In true Modern Animal style, many new and existing team members love how they can hop on an informal huddle and still stay productive when they’re walking their dogs.


Modern Animal’s mission, people, and processes create a powerful and rewarding place to work. “The best part of Modern Animal is working with people who are dedicated to improving the lives of pets and the people who love them,” says Herrera-West. “I feel so good knowing this work has an impact and hope to create a sustainable career path for all our people.”

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