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How To Look After Your Dog Grooming Clients

Do you have a relationship with customers that is not going in the right

direction? You love the dogs you encounter, but the owners are not at the

top of your love list. Are customer relationships affecting your wellbeing

and your grooming?

How To Look After Your Dog Grooming Clients

It is a circle that will show in your groom, the dog senses frustration, your

work with the dog gets harder, the groom takes longer, and you show more

frustration to the customer.

When customers first meet you, they immediately form opinions about you

and the business. Those impressions include things about character,

efficiency, and friendliness. They decide this in 7 to 11 seconds, and this

largely determines their satisfaction and yours.

What does good rapport feel like?

When greeting someone, make the customer feel comfortable, make the

customer feel important and valued, use empathy.

How do you communicate effectively with customers?

Create a positive impression. Develop and maintain customer service

standards. Plan good customer service.

Remember customers are people who need your assistance. They are not

an interruption to your job; they are the reason you have a job. We are just

like our customers, we forget things, we get cross, other aspects of our life

impact us at certain times.

How do you get the customers to understand your terms and conditions, your fees?

Matting fee, late pick up fee, cancelling fee, No show fee, etc.

Be clear with your terms and conditions you want to set out, get clients to

read and agree to them, highlight any areas you feel are important. Update

them as needed, and make sure returning customers are aware of any


What actions can you take to improve your customers experience?

Look at the things that annoy you and see how you can change your

wording and actions to create a more positive feeling in your relationship

with the customer. Communication with customers is a two-way street.

How can you find out what people want?

You have to question and listen, if you cannot help, what should you do,

offer alternatives if possible?

Listening to others is learning to receive a message, communicating back

is asserting/ expressing sending a message.

What your customer hears, is your tone of voice, your vocal clarity, thus

your verbal expressiveness equates to 40% off the message. What your

customer sees, or feels is your facial expression, they are also affected by

your dress and grooming, posture/ body Language. Eye contact and


With more and more transactions being done remotely, your ability to

communicate on all platforms becomes more important, so many people

hide behind the keyboard and picking up the phone and directly speaking

to someone can go a long way, especially if there is a problem to sort.

You do not have to solve an issue straight away, take time if needed, you

can go back to the customer once you have thought about how you can

help. Keep the word-Help in your mind as once you believe you are going

to help, the solution becomes clearer.

Do not be afraid to say I am sorry I cannot help at this time, as there will be

times that you either can not help or you feel you are not the correct person

to help.

Providing good customer service.

Put yourself in this situation: Extra Charge

You need a plumber for a leak in your house. You call-around to a couple

of local plumbers to get a quote for the job.

One tells you it is £300 for the job, which sounds good, so you make the


At the end of the job and they say it will be £350....

You get a bit puzzled and annoyed as you were quoted £300, and you

question the charge.

The guy tells you it is an extra £50 as they could not remove a bolt due to

rust. So, it took them longer to do the job, hence the fee.

You had budgeted for that £300 as you also need to buy new radiator for

the house, so the stress is building up inside you now when you realise

that you will not be able to sort out the new radiator. You need to have the

new one plumbed in as it is getting too cold in the room without extra

heating. Just take a moment now and feel the feelings that would build up inside


Stress and that will manifest itself as annoyance. You will be annoyed at

the person telling you that it is more than you had anticipated.

The conversation will be heated, as the person on the other side of the

communication has the same feelings. The guy has spent an extra 30 mins

on your job, which has set back his workday and he wants to get paid for

his time. So, he is annoyed that you question his charge. Or if you had made an

appointment for the job and you get a letter from the school the day before

the appointment. The letter is telling you must attend a meeting, when you

call the plumber, they tell you that they have a 48-hour cancellation policy,

so you will be charged the full amount for the appointment.

So what would go through your mind at that point?

Cannot they see that this school appointment is important?? And why

should I pay for something in full that I have not had?

If when you called around for a quote for the plumbing job, if you were

estimated an extra 30 mins work to start with, then the quote would have

been more exact, and you would have been prepared for the cost. And if

the bolt had not shown rust, you would have been happy as the quote

would have come in under the original price! You may have even given the

plumber a great review!

Same with the School appointment scenario-

If the guy had said – sure no problems, these things happen. My next

available appointment for the job would be on X date…. and booking this

now will avoid the cancelation fee, if you wish to pay a deposit now for that

appointment, I will throw in a free health check on your boiler.

Your change has been accommodated and you feel you have been valued

as a customer.

Try and think about good customer service is taking that extra step to help

without being asked! It is all about attitude and skills. They are not that hard

trying to enjoy helping people and if you can handle people well, and care

for your customers, giving fair and equal treatment to all.

Always think how I would like to be treated.

There will be times you have to change your customer appointments

around and you want them to adapt to you, so be adaptable as you can

with a protection policy in place.

Be open, to listening it may be the dog is sick and you do not want that dog

in your salon.

When you feel cross, and it creeps up inside you – try to put yourself on

the receiving end and see if your feelings make sense.

As a groomer I am sure you are fed up with no shows or cancellations at

the last minute, so change how you manage that from the start. Implement

a deposit when booking the appointment, if a customer does not want to

pay then they are not planning to keep the appointment anyway.

If they don’t show up let them come to you and apologise, chasing them just

takes more of your time, if they do apologise you can then make the

decision to waver the charge and let them re book, as we have said we are

all human and sometimes life gets in the way, if the no-show or cancelation

becomes a habit, you know you can politely refuse to re-book them and keep

the deposit that was set out in you terms and conditions as non


Being personable but fair creates loyalty, a positive relationship. This is a

much stronger relationship than the one created by cross words or even


De-matting dogs is tiring and time consuming.

So set out your de-matting prices clearly and manage it pre-booking

Set your prices on an average time it takes you to do a dog with general

de-matting, ears, tail, and a bit on the legs, so instead of quoting for one and

a half hours quote for one and three quarters or two for a dog that comes in

every eight weeks.

If the customer, then brings the dog in sooner or keeps the dog matt free

you can offer a discount if no de-matting. The customer feels happy and that

they are getting better value for money.

When quoting for a dog explain this does not include de-matting and you

use your customer consultation time to access the dog offer help and

advice to keep the dog in its best condition and give the final price for the

groom. The customer feels you have the best interest of the dog and them

at heart. Always discuss the price at drop off so that the client is prepared

for the price.

Your mindset when dealing with a customer must be positive. Building a

great relationship with your customers, will give you a better job

satisfaction. Relationships will build loyalty and investment from the

customer into your business, once they are invested and loyal, the price of

the groom is less important to them as they care about you!

Dealing with Difficult Customer Behaviours

A few tips label the behaviour, not the customer, Listen, do not get

defensive, do not take it personally, find out what the customer wants,

discuss alternatives. Finally take responsibility for what you CAN do!

Remember to use reflective skills

This keeps the door open for further communication, Paraphrasing,

Reflecting Facts, Reflecting Feelings, Summarising. Take time choosing

your words.

You know yourself when you have ordered something online and the wrong

item arrives or its broken. You are already annoyed when you call the

customer support, and you are ready for a fight and so many of us these

days spend our time in that mind set. By the customer support agent being

empathetic and acknowledging your issue, and then trying to solve it, war is

avoided. You realise it is not their fault at the end of the phone.

The customer that wants the fluffy teddy cut, acknowledge how nice the

dog will look and you will try and help them get the dog to look as they

want. Be honest that the dog may not look like the picture, and it would

take time to achieve that. Be clear that you charge is based on hourly fee

and those type of grooms take longer, and the fee would be xxx

If they question the cost the alternative is a shorter cut that will still look

great on the dog, be easier to manage, you could do that this time and then

if they still want the fluffy teddy cut offer to put the dog on a VIP grooming

schedule, (the wording of VIP makes all feel special) bring the dog more

often VIP four to six weeks would keep it at its fluffy best.

Coming in more often would keep the cost of each groom lower.

We all want to guarantee returning business

So, remember leave a positive impression, smile, Check customers have

everything they need, knowledge is king. If you have said you will follow-up,

do so. Tell them something that may be useful to them later (e.g., new

service starting soon) Tell them you are looking forward to seeing them

again. Say goodbye. Taking that extra bit of care with each customer and

making them feel they are your priority, will make a difference in how you

feel and act, the hope is this is reciprocated by your customers !

If you have enjoyed reading this, please share with your grooming friends.

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