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I Thought Three Months Was A bit Long

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  • I Thought Three Months Was A bit Long

    I groomed Harley today. Second time with me and once inbetween at Pet****. I asked why they took him there after liking my service. Answer. He went to the vet for his puppy shots and vet said he needed a trim. So thinking I was busy they rushed him over to the nearby Pet***> I want people to think they need to prebook, but not just go elsewhere thinking they have to wait for a Saturday. He is a boy with teeth and attitude too and the newbie at Pet*** cut his skin in two places. I can see why....he is a fighter biter and trimming ears is hard to do. I use thinners in areas where he struggles the most.So I joked, they were unfaithful? I"m hurt. I think they learned their lesson. A neighbor w/and old Schn, may call. I told them I offer $5 for every referral.

    How can you get them to be faithful, prebook and not assume I am too busy? My best 3 dog Westie client * friend did the same thing to me in November! Never called to ask, just went to PetC****. Arugh. She said she was taking them to kennel for vacation and figured I wouldn't have time. I was actually booked that day. But i'd have fit her in. They come back, that isn't the problem....They didn't want to wait for my appt but went to PS thinking I was too busy.
    Last edited by Jenneversage64; 01-09-10, 05:18 PM.

  • #2
    Although my clients like my grooms, I think what keeps them coming back is how I make them feel when I'm taking care of their pet. I'm always super friendly and cheerful (I make it appear that way even if I have a splitting headache and just finished grooming a landshark). Make them feel like their dog is special to you.

    Plus, I don't get upset when my client go somewhere else because they only do it once. I've had a couple go to a chain and came back to pick up a totally naked dog (since they were unwilling to take the extra time to dematt) or a super stressed out puppy.

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    • #3
      How? By grooming the dog better than anyone else.

      If it's just a shavedown, make sure you do it well, no lines, no little hairs sticking out, wash the dog so clean it squeaks. The dog should smell clean, not be covered in cologne. I watched a Petsomethings groomer once spray aerasol cologne on a dog as if he was getting a bath in it. I was shocked. She didn't learn from petsomethings, I talked to her once, so I can't blame petsomethings.

      The one thing that can make a HUGE difference, though, is your customer service. Do you get to know your clients? Don't guilt trip them, if they go somewhere else, so be it. Let them learn on their own if it was a bad idea or not.

      Do you know your clients well enough that you know which ones can take a joke or not? I have a cairn owner who, when I call to let him know that Cooper is finished being groomed, asks, "Does he look handsome?" and without missing a beat I say, "Not really. But I love him anyway, lol." I have an OES owner every 2 weeks who, upon drop off says, "Same as last time," to which I respond, "Shaved bald, with a pink mohawk, right?" "Yep" as he walks out the door. Of course she has TONS of hair and she doesn't get shaved OR a mohawk.

      GET TO KNOW your clients, get to know their personalities, their likes, dislikes, and let them know you want them to be happy. If they go somewhere else it is not the end of the world, but if they like YOU, they want YOU to work on their dog. I have clients that wouldn't let Kelsey, our other groomer, touch their dog with a 10 foot pole. But Kelsey wouldn't hurt a fly. If Kelsey find a little spider in the groom room, she doesn't kill it, she carries it outside with her BARE hands! Yet the clients wont let her touch their dogs. I try to pawn some of them off onto her, but no go.

      Find out about what they do for a living, chat with them, etc... Yep, I do fewer dogs, but I enjoy my job, and charge a little more to compensate for what I can't do because I am getting to know the clients, and it has worked for me. They are great clients. If they can't wait for a groom, someone else can, and they can fill the spot of the person that has moved on. Don't get me wrong, I don't want people to move on, but you can't retain 100% of the clients. Sometimes we just don't mesh.

      Tammy in Utah
      Groomers Helper Affiliate

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      • #4
        Well said Spikey!
        ~*~*~Shawn, C.M.G.~*~*~
        Apparently common sense isn't all that common
        *~*~emipoo on egroomer*~*~*

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        • #5
          You guys missed the entire point of my question.

          Harley was 10 weeks and I gave him his first groom. I was chosen by his owners because I am known for doing good terrier trims. I discussed many things with them about Harley. I am so friendly that my Second year Westie client (3 of them) often takes me out to lunch, and tips very well. It wasn't about not being friendly, it is that they thought I would be too busy on short notice. I just wonder where the happy medium is between wanting them to think they have to prebook, or wait. I just want them to call me before assuming I am too busy. I have been grooming more years than many of you and I already know and do your suggestions. I even make hand painted ornaments like MYLady, but my Westie lady went out of state and we skipped the Holiday groom. Harleys' vet suggested a groom and I suspect because they are banfield. They were there so he got a bad trim. I know who I can kid with. In fact Liz, my Westie friend called to tell me she bought a Westie pup and it was all my fault...kidding. But she did buy the pup.

          I lost a Schnauzer Molly age 10 before Thanksgiving. I was shocked as I had groomed her recently. I got a call today, and jsut as I had figured, Mrs W got a new schnauzer pup over Christmas. I am going to see her and groom her Monday, my day off because I am so excited to see her, I can't wait til I have an opening.

          I do love you guys, and who doesn't love Tammy? But sometimes I feel you speak in a condescending tone, as if I, or someone is a newbie groomer and doesn't treat clients "Special". I go out of my way for most. I gave little Kimba the Westie pup a free off schedule B&B so he'd match his bro and sis. Don't get mad, but read the post more carefully. Pet *** is a two edged sword, good for them to compare and see for themselves I offer better, yet I lose some money too when they get a quickie at the time of vaccinations.

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          • #6
            I agree with everything Spikey said! I've had a dozen or so clients not be able to get in and end up at another salon, and they only make that mistake once, lol! It truly is about getting across to the clients that you are someone who cares about them and their pet!

            Mr. Smith tells you his daughter just got accepted into college? Make a note on his grooming file, next time he's in, bring it up! People love to be remembered! I know I do!

            Christmas-time? Write clients a "Happy Holidays" thank-you note with a picture of their freshly-groomed pet attached. Those were my client gifts this years and they were a SMASH hit.

            It's all about establishing a relationship. Picture yourself as a client, what would really make you think, "this is a person who loves her job and cares."?
            Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on.

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            • #7
              Hmm, that's a tough one. You want people to at least call you before assuming you're booked but you don't want people to think they can always get in last minute. Maybe in these instances you can politely say something like "Oh you should have called, I ended up with a cancellation that day..." or something so at least next time they think to at least try calling you first. Right now my issue is that I am now booking out a bit and all of my clients had gotten used to getting in whenever they needed to because I was new and still building. Some have opted to book with my other groomer and some have opted to wait. Wish I had better suggestions for you.
              What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.

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              • #8
                This can be tough. I no longer have a Pet-something near me at my home since I moved, and now the nearest groomer now is only 4 miles away- so occasionally I will notice a client's been gone for awhile before they return,,,,but they always return! My point is that when I was near to a Corp. store, I would occasionally have clients who wanted in the same day and there was just no way, or clients who would price shop, or clients who felt that they might inconvenience me by wanting to get in the same day (how ultra-polite is that!!). And they'd occasionally go to a Corp. store or elsewhere once in awhile,,but I think this could happen with clients going to any other groomer from time to time for most groomers- Corp. or not. When they did return, I impressed upon them to please always give me a call because I missed them when they were gone!
                It seems that we can only hold so tight to them, and in the end, even the greatest of care we give could still mean they might visit another salon from time to time. But if they are going because they think we might be busy, all we can do is to try to get them to pre-book, and if they can't, the only other thing I can think of is maybe letting them know with a 5 week reminder postcard, or a reminder call or email, etc. in regular rotation for those who you know never pre-book, that way they can still hopefully get in within their 6 to 8 week rotation. But some are just too busy to do this, and that's understandable, too. For those who are at 4-6 weeks, it seems most of mine always want to schedule in advance,,its always the ones at 7+ weeks who linger 'til the last minute or price shop--so they seem the greatest risk of salon hopping.
                Some competition is healthy and actually benefits businesses, especially from Corp. stores--not because of quality,,but because of price. Most chain stores are less expensive than independent salons- at least they are around here anyway. So,,if they come to us who are near a chain store,,we can be sure they are doing so because of the quality they get in comparison to the big box places. If they come & go,,then you know its more about $$ or time, and there's little we can do about that. But still, there are some times when no matter what we do, we may lose some income from clients going elsewhere. And I should also add that some big box places do have some very talented groomers, and some independent groomers might need to do better in the quality area,,so there's lots of factors in any equation irregardless of talent. I don't want any Corp. groomers getting their feelings hurt--some of them are some of the hardest working groomers in our industry,,believe me!
                The good thing is that they always will likely come back if we are covering all of our bases. And all we can do is what it seems you are doing--let them know they are valued, be available as much as possible, politely remind them if you have the time (but sometimes we can only do so much), and give them quality care and services. There's really nothing else we can do except our best right!? I don't think you are missing anything from what you've posted,,some people just come & go...
                Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
                www.ChrisSertzel.com

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                • #9
                  For my clients, I always let them know, from their very first appointment, that if anything comes up---a skunking, flea/tick problem, a troublesome mat, or a quick neat and tidy before company arrives, you can ALWAYS call. I will do my best to accommodate them.

                  However, if it's a regular groom, I prefer they pre-book so my schedule stays consistent, and that way I can serve everyone better. It lets them know that I'm always there for them, but not to walk all over me when I prefer consistency.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Windy, My lady, Kitty

                    That is the kind of reply I like. the first ones just kind of hurt my feelings. Yes, I do those things and it is good to read them and recheck to see if I did miss somethig. I also mention especially for a new pup that having the same groomer and experience being groomed is beneficial. Make it focused about the dog, not me. I have been doing this a while and there are patterns people seem to have;even for you folks out there. It is as if we have had the same clients tho' we may live states and many miles apart. We all eventually as groomers experience similar client/business experiences. Good reminders however. Think I will make a list and check it monthly. I have a beautiful leather appt book with places to list such things to refer to. It never hurts to review how we can be the BEST we can be. So please don't be turned off by what I commented.....it just hit a sensitive spot. I do enjoy my job and especially cute feisty pups and I like to see how I progress and gain their trust. I think I really do have a kind of gift of service for lack of a better description. I enjoy helping others.

                    THANKS ALL

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                    • #11
                      Jen, I think you maybe misread or misunderstood where Tammy was coming from. I think she gave really good testimony of what she does in business to ensure loyalty in her clients and also to keep herself happy w/her own work. I don't think she was suggesting that you DON'T do those things, because she probabaly doesn't know if you do or not. She was just saying what she does that works for her.

                      Tammy, hope you don't mind that I spoke for you ;-)

                      I like all of the advice that was posted here. I used to have my feelings really hurt if a client that I thought of as loyal went somewhere else for "whatever" reason. I made myself get over that though because after a bad or less than stellar grooming experience elsewhere they DEFINATELY become loyal to me.....lol... I have also found that most of the time a client gets their pet groomed or kenneled somewhere else it is either on a spur of the moment whim, or they got a gift certificate from someone, or it's on the urging of a friend or family member to try "their" place. I make myself content w/the fact that they have come back to ME.

                      I know there have been times that I have gotten my hair done by someone else besides my usual stylist or gone to a different massage therapast and usually regret it. Looking back my reasons were always a spontanious decision and weren't meant to be a insult at my usual professionals.

                      It sounds like you are doing a great job in managing your business and customer service but if you continue to take things like this so personally you will give yourself sleepless nights and stomach pains. Been there, done that!
                      SheilaB from SC

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                      • #12
                        Jane, sometimes your initial posts are hard to understand. Once you edit them they become clearer. Just saying...

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                        • #13
                          I was just wondering when Harley went to the other shop. Was it before Christmas or Thanksgiving? If so, I can definitley understand where they're coming from. There are people that want to make sure they get clean before the holidays, and might have thought they were doing you a favor by making things a little less stressful for you. I actually have a couple of clients with dogs that don't have ambitious haircuts that will take them for a bath and tidy up at Pet&& because they know how busy I am. I actually refer them to a groomer that I know that works there. They book their next appointment ahead with me and on to the rest of the year we go.

                          I would just let them know that occassionally you have customers that need to postpone their appointments (I don't use the word cancel), and that they just may luck out and get a spot with you, so always be sure to call.

                          It can be frustrating when you work with a puppy to get it comfortable with your procedures, because then you fear that what you have done will be undone.

                          The bottom line...they came back to you, and you know that they want you to groom their dog first, so I'd feel pretty good about that if I were you.
                          Last edited by furrybestjob; 01-10-10, 11:15 AM.
                          don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

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                          • #14
                            i don't stress prebooking
                            when someone does go somewhere else..I LOVE it when they call me again they are always sorry they went somewhere else. you knida have them wrapped around your finger when they DO stray LOL

                            don't sweat it and one can be the most adorable person ever and a client STILL strays!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jenneversage64 View Post
                              That is the kind of reply I like. the first ones just kind of hurt my feelings. Yes, I do those things and it is good to read them and recheck to see if I did miss somethig. I also mention especially for a new pup that having the same groomer and experience being groomed is beneficial. Make it focused about the dog, not me.

                              THANKS ALL
                              >>>>>>>

                              My experience has been that there are some clients that are fickle. No matter what you do, no matter how you treat them, they will go to whoever they think might offer a better deal or the new shop. And some clients will be loyal through everything. I'd honesly chalk it up to the clients flakiness rather than your grooming skills. You sound like you are covering all the bases, and that you really love your job.

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