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  • Decreasing phone time- HELP!

    I need some help from veteran mobiles in the phone department. I am getting really busy, and I no longer have an hour+ every night to return calls. Most of my regulars prebook so if they call it's just to let me know the kids will be home to give me the dog or they have to reschedule. No biggie. I have a fairly detailed but short answering machine message, including my website where I tell people they can go for further information about how my service works, and fill out a new pet application. I include the areas I service on my voice message, and what size dogs I take. I guess most people don't listen to the message, because they will ask if I can groom their 200 lb dog near NYC. If I don't return these calls, some people call back and get a little nasty that I didn't call them.

    Some, who do live in my serivce area will call at 9 am, leave a message and then call back at 1 pm and are annoyed that I haven't called them back. I didn't call because I'm still at work. One guy called me 3 times yesterday! I do not give out my cell number and I am not interested in taking calls while on the road as it slows me down. I've thought about some type of answering service but I've not had good experiences with answering services, I find many of the answering service people are rude. I don't know anyone who can screen my calls that knows grooming. So that's out.

    Would it sound rude if I added something on my machine to the effect of: If you do not receive a return call in 48 hours, we do not serve your area. Another local mobile does this.
    What do you think? I need to cut down on phone time, it's only going to get worse as spring gets closer. Help!!

  • #2
    i am having the same problem. hope we get some good advice. How do you have a person fill out a new pet application online. that sounds really cool.
    What does a dog do on it's day off?

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    • #3
      My message states that I will return their calls in the evening since I am grooming during the day, that way they know I will be calling them back. So far no one has gotten upset, but I think they have forgotten they've left a message when I call them back in the evening and they sound surprised to hear from me. I find the whole thing a real pain but don't know a better way. At first I had my calls forwarded to my cell phone but I couldn't groom and answer phones at the same time. I need a secretary!!

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      • #4
        How about calls will be returned withing 24 business hours. That way you are off the hook on weekends and can get back to them in the evening. Make sure it states that you are only accepting a limited amount of cutsomers dogs under such and such weight and in such and such area.
        If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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        • #5
          Decreasing phone time ideas/WEBSITE

          hi - i own a store, not a mobile, but i go thru the same thing all the time with receiving over 50 calls on days i'm closed and about 20-25 per day. Couple things that have worked for me - have a website done - you can do a trade with someone, its worth it ! then you can give the areas you cover so you can weed out the people that don't live in those areas - or you can also make friends and provide other mobiles that do serve those areas; can provide weights and types of dogs you do, etc etc. - also guidelines "require an appt., will return call within 48 hours, etc. ) then on your vm message, please refer to website - i also started giving my email so i can check at night and respond with appts. when i have time ! it works!

          I also changed my phone message to reflect dates i'm booking for - ie.., next available is two weeks out, etc. and include "if you want to be put on cancel" list, please leave info. rarely do they hang up and not leave name, address, so you won't really lose people.

          I have my bus. on the market now - in bus. for 5 yrs, as i want to do something else, but have over 1000 regulars now with close to 300 that book for year - and we are most expensive in the area - call us "nordstrom" of dog grooming. hope this helps, if want more info, let me know. thanks and good luck !

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          • #6
            My message states my hours and that if they called during those hours I am on the road or grooming. I say to leave a name, # and best time to call them back. I used to list my service area and "prices start at...", but it got too long and people didnt listen to it all anyways. If they seem pissy when i call them back, I just say it like it is, "this is the first free time I had to call you".

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            • #7
              I mention my days off and that I return calls from 6 - 8 in the evening.
              That way, they give me a number that I can reach them at (instead of work #) and I usually don't get many calls on my days off.
              I need those to recoup. lol..

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              • #8
                This is the bane of mobile grooming. I have struggled with this since I opened and honestly, I don't know if I am addressing the problem correctly, but I just don't call everyone back. I don't call anyone during the day, I am just too busy, so I do all my return phone calls at night...if I get home at a decent hour. I will not return phone calls after 6:30p. I give my email and website information on my voicemail which states my prices, area I cover and rules. Honestly, there is not much more you can do. I wouldn't worry about it but I agree, it is a PIA.

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                • #9
                  Someone here called me "rude and snobbish" for stating that I didn't call everyone back. I am sure glad I am not the only one. I do not have time to call back the people with matted cats, giant dogs who need their annual shave down or people who live 50 miles away. When I do get people who leave 3 messages in 2 hours who are then pissy when I return their call, I just pretend to be surprised by their impatience instead of defensive. I have a lot of elderly clients who are sitting around doing nothing but watching the clock so i get many repeat calls.

                  I really like the idea of stating when calls will be returned. I am currently not doing this, but I tell them I am with a client and may not be able to return their call for several hours and add " I hope you will understand". I find that this statement invokes empathy. In fact, I have had several clients comment that they are glad I do not take calls while I am grooming, so they must listen to at least that part of the message. I also like the idea of stating when the next opening is "for new clients" (I often will work existing clients who I like into my schedule and don't want to turn them away). This will also take care of the OAYs that are rolling in who I don't want to service....because you know, they have waited a whole year since Cujo was groomed last and now it needs to be done yesterday! LOL.

                  One thing I have found to work to make people actually listen to the message is to start off with "Please listen to this message...Fur Elite mobile grooming returns all calls between the hours of......please leave your name, number...." Otherwise people tend to not listen to messages at all and just wait for the beep.

                  Otherwise, for people who I choose not to call back yet who call me again and catch me on the phone, I just pretend to be oblivious if they say "well i called but you never called me back". What do they expect, I am "just" a groomer after all (LOL....OK, who is going to flame me first?).

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                  • #10
                    I sometimes wonder if on some of these big "press # blank" messages when you hear at the beginning of the message "please listen to the entire message carefully since the options may have changed" is true or just a way to get people to listen to all of the message, might that work for you?? Know what I am talking about??

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                    • #11
                      Well, Fur Elite, I am on your side of the fire! When I return to work Monday morning there are just too many messages to call them all back. Anyone looking for "now" appointments or asking prices do not generally get called back. (because I am not taking new customers) Regular customers who don't book ahead may wait 2 -3 days more for me to get everyone called back. It will be 3 -4 weeks before I can book their appointment so I figure, "what's the rush"! Anyone who gets aggitated with me may even wait a bit longer (I'm spiteful like that) I tell them lightheartedly that I need a secretary!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by maleary View Post
                        hi - i own a store, not a mobile, but i go thru the same thing all the time with receiving over 50 calls on days i'm closed and about 20-25 per day. Couple things that have worked for me - have a website done - you can do a trade with someone, its worth it ! then you can give the areas you cover so you can weed out the people that don't live in those areas - or you can also make friends and provide other mobiles that do serve those areas; can provide weights and types of dogs you do, etc etc. - also guidelines "require an appt., will return call within 48 hours, etc. ) then on your vm message, please refer to website - i also started giving my email so i can check at night and respond with appts. when i have time ! it works!

                        I also changed my phone message to reflect dates i'm booking for - ie.., next available is two weeks out, etc. and include "if you want to be put on cancel" list, please leave info. rarely do they hang up and not leave name, address, so you won't really lose people.

                        I have my bus. on the market now - in bus. for 5 yrs, as i want to do something else, but have over 1000 regulars now with close to 300 that book for year - and we are most expensive in the area - call us "nordstrom" of dog grooming. hope this helps, if want more info, let me know. thanks and good luck !
                        Thanks! I already have a website and it definately helps. I have a new pet application that when filled out goes straight to my email inbox.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I enter my current clients into my cell with their own separate ring so if they do call while I'm grooming I can see who it is without picking up. If I'm going to their house that day I do answer in case they have a special message. If not, I wait until evening and they are fine with it. I use a bluetooth handsfree so I can groom/drive while talking. You all should have one. Cheap and v. convenient. If it is a new client(different ring for all incoming calls not saved in memory) I never pick up while grooming/driving. The voicemail just says I am grooming or driving and cannot answer. I will call back in the evening. As you know, these are always the most time-consuming calls and I just don't mess with them. I typically only book 1 out of every 3 calls anyway because so many people are just silly price-checkers thinking it won't cost any more then the shop. Does it really matter if you wait til evening to return these calls. And for the good new client, they never have a problem as they usually realize you are busy and in demand. I went to a seminar with successful mobiler Sue Watson last year and I think she said her message said she will call back within 48 hours. If you're pre-booking most appointments, IMO it's not necessary to pick up every call. It's part of the "weeding out" process.

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                          • #14
                            well, when my mobile business started to get very busy and I didn't have openings for 4-6-8 weeks this is what I put on my recorder.

                            basically, i said you've reached so and so grooming unfortunately i can't take your call right now. Currently, there are no opeings, if you are a new client and would like to be placed on the waiting list, please leave your name, number, location and breed of pet. I will call you as soon as I have an opening. if you are a returning client and you need to reach me about an appt. scheduled for today you can call 000-0000. thank you and have a great day.

                            the 2nd number is my cell and surprisingly enough I didn't and don't get that many other calls.

                            i've recently had to change the message again to state that I'm not taking on new clients at this time because I would still have to call people back and tell them I couldn't get them in. So now it says I'm not taking new clients right now, but if you want on the waiting list leave your name blah blah blah. I still get a few calls and people want on the list. So far it has been working much better.

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                            • #15
                              I had a full clientele after 6 months in business. I promptly changed my phone greeting to state that I currently did not have any openings, but if they would like to put their name on my waiting list, pease leave name, number, breed of pet and location in a message and I will get back to them as soon as there is an opening. By doing this, I was no longer returning phone calls each evening.

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