Fun makeover...

There are some grooms that are just more fun than others.  

Here is one I enjoyed a lot.  Her name is Cricket and it was her first groom with me, the second groom of her young life.  While dropping off her owner said, "I didn't like the last haircut at ALL."  I was all eyes for the scruffy little dog in my arms, and only after her owner left did I kick myself, hard.  WHAT didn't she like about that last groom?  It sure would have helped me to know.  I had already plotted out what I wanted to do with this pups hair, and never thought to inquire. My instructions were, "I'd like her short, it's getting warm and ticks are out." 

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After a bath in Best Shot shampoo and a finish with Show Seasons Results Rinse, Cricket got a light brushing to open her coat and distribute some Quick Dry.  Then I used a HV dryer to get her dry and blow out some dead coat.  I trimmed and buffed her nails, brushed and combed her, then used a Wahl #2 comb combined with my beloved Clipper Vac to give her a short, uniform, neat, all over clip.  In colder weather I think I might do a modified terrier trim on her, leaving her legs fuller and blending them in well to a shorter jacket.  Her tail is a lovely plume, so I just barely trimmed the thin ends, leaving it full.  Those long ears and heavy facial furnishings made her look old, I thought, so I took her ears down to the same length as her body coat and then used an O comb on my trimmer to shape up her face. A little work with some chunkers to blend in her cheeks and even up her muzzle and I thought she was good to go.  

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She posed like a champ for her photo session... 

IMG_2818When her owner returned she was most pleased with the results.  I said, "I realized after you left that I should have asked what you were unhappy with about the last groom."  "It just looked bad," she said.  So, I guess that wouldn't have given me much information to work from!  

I hope Cricket will be back. I had a blast with this little makeover.  

 

 


The things customers hear...

A new customer called me last week and I am still thinking about the conversation. She called me to inquire about having her dog groomed. The dog is an adult, and she has only had it for a few months.  "The first time I took her to ___ they did a beautiful job. I was so pleased.  The second time I took her in the groomer told me she was dirty. That she had to give her three baths."  The woman on the phone was both a bit puzzled and distressed.  "That was why I took her to be groomed!  She needed a bath. She's a house dog, she wasn't that dirty! I won't take her back there."  

IMG_7499So, here is the thing. A groomer did an excellent job grooming the dog and the customer was pleased. But the same groomer said something that hurt the customers feelings and in doing so lost the customer.  If this dog had stayed a regular customer, being groomed every 6 weeks or so, the groomer would have earned around $500 a year income from that one pet.  But because of a misunderstanding I will now be earning that money.  The worst part is, the groomer probably has no idea that hard feelings were caused by her comment.   

Communication is important any time we are dealing with people, but adding a beloved pet to the mix brings a whole lot of emotion into the mix.  Why? Because people love their pets. If we, as pet groomers, say something that is perceived as being negative or critical about a persons pet, it doesn't matter how skilled we are at our work. The customer will go somewhere that they feel the pet is appreciated.  

Here are some ideas about how you can prevent accidentally alienating a customer: 

  • Compliment every pet, it only takes a second and it costs you nothing.  Even if the dog was difficult to work on, you can find something nice to say.  "What a beautiful coat Muffy has!" or, "She has the most expressive face!" 
  • If you have something to share with the customer that might be perceived as negative, ask yourself, "Is this important for the customer to know?" If it is, find a way to relay the information that is not unfavorable. In the instance of the caller last week, why did the groomer feel it was necessary to convey that the pet had three baths?  If it was because her policy is to charge extra, perhaps she could have said, "Your dog must have been having a great time lately!  I had to give her three baths to wash all the fun off of her."  Keep your words light and remember to smile. 
  • Keep in mind that people are not just hearing your words, they are reading your body language.  
  • Ask yourself, "Am I the kind of groomer I'd like to bring my pet to?"  Sometimes it's good to take a step back and look at how we present ourselves. Looking through the lens of, "Would I leave my pet with me?" can be a good way to do that. 

Misunderstandings happen, it's just a fact of life.  But we can help minimize them by being a bit mindful of the way we talk to our customers about their beloved pets.  

I wrote an article on this topic for Groomer to Groomer magazine.  You can read it here if you are interested: http://www.groomertogroomer.com/what-you-said-what-they-heard/