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?
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
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
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 !
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