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A Second Chance at First Impressions?

The Customer is ALWAYS Right?


I have heard for my entire life the old adage "The customer is always right". I have to say that when I first started out in grooming I felt like they were and would bend over backwards to accommodate them, gave away grooms when people complained, stayed as late as I had to for them and came in early when asked. 

I think, however, as I have gotten older and a bit more wise, I have learned that more often than not, "The customer is right PART of the time" makes more sense.

Don't get me wrong! I love my clients (most of them anyway) and am appreciative for their business. They are what feeds me and keeps my household running. They are what allows me to care for my pack as well as indulge my grandchildren. Without them I could not feed my shoe habit either! 

I will not let a client walk all over me. Not in the slightest. If they do they are corrected or fired. 

Clients that do not know what they want, clients that get upset when you shave their pelted dog and proclaim "He wasn't matted!" even as they look at the pelt you saved to show them, clients that are unreasonable in their demands. These are the people that I say are right only SOMETIMES.

I had a client that up until recently I had put up with the nonsense from. I like her dog, who is a small, thin coated Yorkie with a simple, FFTT and trim the legs a bit, groom. Mom however was one that knew everything (she is a nurse you know and her husband is a doctor) and even though she would ask questions and we would offer answers, she always rebuffed everything we said and her way was the right way. She changes grooms with the way the wind is blowing, and she thinks nothing of going elsewhere with her dog and then bringing her to us to fix.

The morning that she got fired, or quit depending on your point of view, she came in with her dog who really didn't need anything done to her and then proceeded to say "well you know what to do" and "The girl who works here said it was a puppy cut" over and over, while gripping the dog tightly in her arms, refusing to give her to me or anyone else until we established the haircut she wanted.We then decided that all she wanted was for to be tidied up and we settled on a pick up time. She said on her way out the door "I wish I had brought the picture of what I wanted" and I replied that it would help if she had. She left. Finally. The 3 clients waiting behind her were aggravated and so was I.

We bathe and dry the pup and she is placed in a cage in the main room until it is her turn to be finished. I look up and see her car in the parking lot and her dog sees it as wel and is getting upset. She comes to the door, opens it wide enough to stick her head in and starts mouthing words. Now I have a dog on my table that will not stay for me to go into the other room, so I said "I can't hear you" and she says in a real voice, "Is my dog in here" to which I replied, "Yes that is her barking". "I didn't want to upset her, but I wanted to bring this picture". My bather had come out of the other room, so I said "Kayser, can you get that picture from her and ut it on my desk so I can look at it when I get a chance?" She gave it to him and left, repeating she was trying not to upset her dog. 

She got to her car and we are all just dumbfounded looking at each other like, REALLY did this just happen? when she came back in demanding her dog because WE upset her and she couldn't leave her with us. She then said, as I was explaining that I was sorry for her pup being upset but she would calm down once she was gone, she said to me "WELL You didn't have to be such an Effing Bit##" and I was stunned. She then took her dog and said again, "You are ALWAYS an Effing Bit##". 

I was always as polite to her as I could be, trying to explain that I needed more information than she was offering and I DID tell her that we don't use the term p uppy cut at all, but I was nice about it. When she returned, she caused her dog the stress not me, and we did what she asked. We gave her her dog and photo.

There are some people you cannot make happy regardless of what you do. She is one of them. If we cut her dog the way she asked it was too short or too long, or cost too much.

These types of clients are not right. They are NOT the type of client you wish to see or deal with and the nice thing for me is I don't have to deal with them. I am my own boss. 

Clients who manipulate you into doing something that you do not feel is the right thing to do, clients that lie about things that go wrong, clients that always have a complaint even when the dog was groomed to perfection and to their specifications.....these clients are never right.

A client that swears at or harasses a groomer is never right.

 A client that blames the groomer for their own mistakes or negligence, is never right.

A client that gives instructions which you follow to a T, then says "that is not what I asked for" is never right.

A client that accuses you of not doing something you did or doing something you didn't is never right.

Clients who have little or no respect for you, your time, your other clients or staff are never right.

Clients who belittle the "other groomer" are likely to do it to you and they are never right.

Clients who have no clue what they want and yet get upset when you do "whatever you think is best" are never right. 

Clients that argue with you about things that are not your fault, or policies clearly stated to the client in advance are never right.

Clients who want you to do anything that is dangerous or harmful to their pet are never right.

Clients that want you to adjust your policies or hours "just this once" are never right and will expect you to do it everytime if you ever give in.

There are times in this industry that you have to (or want to) kiss butt and suck up to clients, but when they are belittling you and causing you stress they are not the clients you want. 

I am not saying you should be mean, rude or bitc##y, simply direct. Tell the client that this is not acceptable behavior. You cannot read minds. Your time is important. You need the to follow the rules like everyone else.

If you are firm, stick to your guns and are polite, most will adjust and become good clients. The ones that don't need to go elsewhere. So that they can learn the grass is not always greener, and the groomer is not always nicer.

Life is too short. There are other clients to replace the rude ones. Make your salon a happier place. Remember that the customer is NOT always right! It will make you feel better.

In my next entry I will discuss some tings you can do that will make your customer service skills improve and every client feel special. And right. 


sue gardner

This is so true, And in every bank/hospital/post office etc these days there seems to be a sign that basically states' Our staff are not here to be abused by the public and if you do so you will be asked to leave' , so these abusive customers are everywhere these days, why put up with bad behaviour?

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