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  • Customer service matters

    Monday I had a women stop in to see if I would groom her Airedale Puppy. I ask if the pup had been groomed before she said yes but that she just wasn't happy with the shop she was going to. No problem I didn't want to pry so I made her an appointment for early this morning before my other dogs came in so I would have some time with her. Well this morning in walks a cute little Airedale who was in great shape, I could see her old pattern and everything looked good. Long story short she was really good for 9 months old a little wiggle here and there and not a huge fan of nails but got everything done and called mom to pick her up about 2 hrs later. Mommy comes in and I tell her about how good little girl was and she is so tickled and tells me that every time they picked up the puppy from the groomer before she had nothing but horrible things to say about their dog. Never anything nice or encouraging she said she just felt like her girl wasn't wanted there. Now I don't know who she was taking her dog to before I didn't ask nor did I say anything to her about the other groomer's comments. I don't know if this dog just didn't mesh with the other groomers personality or what could have happened, but this just affirmed my belief that unless "Fido" is trying to eat my face off they get a pretty good report to mommy. I may suggest working with them on feet or face to get them use to it but I never trash a furry kid to the parent unless I'm bleeding. This girl's other groomer had done a nice job on this dog but because they trashed pup to mom she won't be there anymore and I have a new client that tips and prebooked her next 3 appointments. Oh well yeah for me.
    "I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt,
    and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." - John Steinbeck
    www.wagmoresalon.com

  • #2
    I had to see where you were, and saw that you were in Ohio. Funny how you could be describing one of the shops in my town and how they treat their canine clients and their human companions.

    All the better for me, I get more customers that way!
    "With God's help, all things are possible!"
    Laura Lee Ray
    I am kats_melody on eGroomer. Follow my Twitter tweets - @ZOOMGROOM on Twitter.com

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    • #3
      Honesty on pups behavior

      Sounds like you did the right thing - most puppies are wiggly, it's to be expected and a good groomer deals with that.

      I, too, give good reports on dogs that are good! Usually only those, "that try to eat your face off", get bad reports. In the last week I finally had to tell a regular I couldn't groom her dog any more. Every time she brought the Shih Tzu mix in he was terrified - for no reason - we never hurt him, ever. He tried nailing my bather this time (we attempt no muzzle at first) and I was very afraid I was going to hurt him with the scissors or clippers because he was thrashing about so much - even with an air muzzle and three straps to hold him down. I talked to his owner and she finally admitted that he was having problems at home too. Very, very sound sensitive and he just goes off for no reason other than a strange sound. She's taking him to the vet this week for an assessment. It's very sad.

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      • #4
        I'm not sure if that's what you're saying...but I always believe in being honest with mom and dad! I won't harp and tell them their dog is horrible, and I'm very nice and diplomatic about it, but I will let them know if they need work and the course of action to take. I dunno if it's just me, but I have several salons around that do the opposite-instead of being a negative nelly they are a silent sally! They tell everyone every dog is good no matter what. So I get them, and they might, for instance, bite for their nails. I mention this to mom, and I get a narrow eyed look like I did something wrong with a huffy, "Well, groomer xyz NEVER had a problem."

        I realize not every dog does well with every groomer, and it may well be that fluffy is just bad for me, but I get waaaaaaaaaay too many dogs that have behavioral problems from a certain salon in particular. I know for a fact that they hit their dogs, and also, when washing will turn the water on full force into their faces. It's also happened that clients have asked, and I've been honest, and they've said, "Aha! Fifi is difficult at home, we knew she couldn't be the angel her groomer made her out to be."

        So, I guess in conclusion, I definitely agree with you that this shop didn't go about it the right way, but I hope you don't gloss over behavioral problems! Sucks for the groomer after you.
        There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.

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        • #5
          The first groomer who actually taught me anything said NEVER tell the parents anything negative. Then when they go to the next groomer who is $3 cheaper & the groomer says something bad the owner will think (a it never happened before (b you have the magic touch/they abused the dog.

          Seems a sleazy way to do things to me.
          "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
          People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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          • #6
            Your litmus test of when to describe a dog as hard to groom starts with whether it bites your face off or left you bleeding? LOL..
            We all know that dogs do have a honeymoon period and hopefully this is not the case with this pup..but I have seen it happen. First groom..not too much of a problem but soon after the fun begins. Maybe that is why she pre-booked three appointments? Kidding, but you never know.
            I have a few clients that own really difficult dogs to groom. None of them bite. They thrash, roll, buck, stomp...you name it..it can be very frustrating and takes longer than normal and not always the "cutest" haircut. I do tell the owners how they behave and update them with any improvement..or not.

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            • #7
              MY first reaction was.... terrier,... then airdale!... In all my years I have worked with so many shops, so many different groomers... most do not like terriers (or at least back then they didnt) That is why in the mid 90's I began working alone or opened my own places. I love terriers! They are supposed to be feisty!!!! I had my worst bite from a westie, came back the next day to finish the groom... airdales... most groomers even now will refuse them outright (at lest in this area) I have a kerry that I simply love to death... yea, given the chance if he could... he goes for my throat.. but heck.. he is a sweety in reality & gorgeous.

              I think that is why I get so frustrated though... so many others refuse dogs just because they dont stand like perfect statues... these are living breathing pets... and terriers to boot! I think if every dog was a stuffed dog that just stood there Id be bored to death. In a way I am like the teacher... the one who works with 'special needs'... I dont compete in grooming, I just love what I do.I find it rewarding to work with so many different personalities, so many different breeds, so many 'issues' but in the end... they all seem to love me and that is the point for me.

              Just about every day I hear it from owners..."I used to hate having to drag 'fifi' into grooming, but with you? I mentions your name and she runs for the car!" I may have to tell an owner now and then..."they still love me but today I had to demat this or that, or I had to pull ear hair, or I had to do the nails... so they dont like me right now"... as soon as I say it... the dog's come back to me and jump up to give me a kiss/lick

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              • #8
                Originally posted by A1Mobile View Post
                We all know that dogs do have a honeymoon period and hopefully this is not the case with this pup..but I have seen it happen. First groom..not too much of a problem but soon after the fun begins.
                There's a reason this happens when we're starting puppies, and a wise groomer understands what's happening and responds accordingly. Around the age of 6 months, up to 18 months, puppies enter a fear/intimidation imprinting phase in their psychological development. And it's extremely important that the groomer handles them with kid gloves when they start to act up.

                They aren't being brats or rebellious teenagers. They're intimidated. Even things that have never seemed to scare them in the past become frightening. And if you force the issue, that fear and intimidation imprints on their little brains. Forever.

                The best way to deal with it is just slow down. Give them time to check out whatever it is that's frightening them, and praise any show of bravery. DON'T try to force them to be brave. Let them set the pace.

                I"ve seen far too many dogs who were handled incorrectly as puppies. Give 'em a break and slow down. If you can't finish this time because suddenly they're afraid to have scissors around their face, don't force it. And explain what's going on to the owners, so they don't think you've suddenly forgotten what you're doing.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by OntheBRINKofDisaster View Post
                  So, I guess in conclusion, I definitely agree with you that this shop didn't go about it the right way, but I hope you don't gloss over behavioral problems! Sucks for the groomer after you.
                  Now if you reread my first post I do say that I will mention if the owner needs to work with their dog ie. with feet or face to help get them use to it. That's not what I'm talking about. I do tell them if their dogs bites over nails or doesn't like to be brushed but that's not all I tell them I let them know what the dog did well with. This dog's owner never got any positive feedback over her puppy. That will frustrate anyone it's one thing to inform the owner that their dog will bite over nails or brushing and give suggestions on how to help make their pets grooming easier. But to just let them think that their dog is an out of control jerk without giving them any help isn't going to make for a good relationship with the owner.

                  I would never give no information on bad behavior but there is a right and wrong way to do it. I wouldn't want to be blindsided like that from another groomer ( though it has happened) so I wouldn't do that to another. I will even send a client card with an owner that's moving so that the new groomer will have an idea of what the groom was and any temperament issues.
                  "I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt,
                  and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." - John Steinbeck
                  www.wagmoresalon.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good! I'm glad.

                    It was the whole "unless they are eating my face off they are getting a good report" thing that worried me.
                    There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.

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                    • #11
                      I think a lot of groomers really underestimate the importance of customer service. When I first started grooming I developed a solid clientele of people who thought I was the best groomer around. I actually thought it was funny. I REALLY wasn't but I took the time to talk with the owner and smiled and acted excited to see them and their dog (on bad days I could have won an Oscar for my acting). If you don't have the skill you had better give the clients another reason to come back to you. Even if you have the skill you better give the client a reason to come back.

                      It is also possible to tell the client their dog was naughty while still being nice. If I have to give them bad news I always try to tell them what they can do to make it a better experience next time. For chronic naughty dogs I only tell the clients if the dog is naughtier than normal or better than normal. I figure they already know they have a naughty dog, I am not going to rub it in every time they come.
                      "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Helly View Post
                        There's a reason this happens when we're starting puppies, and a wise groomer understands what's happening and responds accordingly. ...going on to the owners, so they don't think you've suddenly forgotten what you're doing.
                        I wasn't talking about puppies Helly. I was talking about new clients who become themselves once they are comfortable with the new groomer. By the way..good luck with that 9 month old Airedale setting the pace...

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                        • #13
                          You know, the best way to deliver "bad news" is in a sandwich. Good news, bad news, good news. For example I start by telling owners that Fluffy is doing better in the bath, but still doesn't have a nail trim on his daily planner, so we're going to have to work on that. Then again, the dryer doesn't bother him at all anymore.

                          If Phydough was such a potato head I can't find any good news, well, I laugh over it. "Phydough wants you to know he would have much prefered staying home and watching reruns of Lassie." After that, I get a little more specific, and make suggestions if I can. But I NEVER tell an owner their dog behaved horribly.

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