QC Pet Studies graduate Casey Bechard works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she gives a run-down of her 3 nightmare clients she encounters in her dog grooming career!
Over the course of your career as a dog groomer, you’ll encounter many difficult clients. There will always be those clients that you can’t make happy—some may never step foot in your shop again! I’m still learning how to deal with these specific people, so hopefully this article helps you out. I will explain some common behaviors of nightmare clients and then provide you with advice to help you resolve issues in a professional manner.
1. Unrealistic Dog Grooming Clients
Clients who don’t really know what a professional dog groomer does or who don’t understand how we factor in their dog’s health and well-being would fall under this category. They will say things like…
- “Can you cut my dog’s nails as short as they’ll go? I hate having them long!”
- “Can you go right down to the skin for my dog’s haircut?”
- “I would like my husky shaved because he’s just too hot all the time.”
The client might question your dog grooming abilities or skill level if you refuse. This has happened to me when I try to explain why I don’t accommodate these requests. I recommend thoroughly explaining why it’s better for their pet if you don’t. Here are some sample responses.
“Can you cut my dog’s nails as short as they’ll go? I hate having them long!”
I will say this if a previous groomer or if the owner clipped away the nail’s quick (a sensitive vein in the nail).
My response: “I got the nails as short as I could. The quick in the dog’s nail (the bleeding part) has previously been nicked. Don’t worry, this is not permanent damage. But the quick nourishes the nail around it and is important to have for healthy nails. We will need to encourage the quick to grow back. If you bring your dog back to the grooming salon regularly, like every 3-4 weeks, we will use a nail grinder that will decrease the chances of injuring the quick.”
“Can you go right down to the skin for my dog’s haircut?”
If a dog has fair skin and thin hair, I will leave a layer of hair to protect their skin.
My Response: “I am going to leave a little bit of hair just so your dog doesn’t get a sunburn or isn’t too exposed to the elements. You will still need to be careful when your dog is outside for long periods of time, but the layer of hair will help.”
“I would like my husky shaved because he’s just too hot all the time.”
Believe it or not, we get this one a lot.
My response: “We understand that big fluffy dogs get hot but it’s not the best option to shave them down. Their double coats help regulate temperature and protect them from sunburn. If you shave off the coat, it will likely not grow back normally. It’s best to just trim up the longer parts and give them a good brushing.”
2. Stubborn Dog Grooming Clients
Stubborn clients won’t ever be happy with your work. No matter what you say or do, stubborn clients won’t ever be happy with your work. They may also be picky with their grooms. Usually, they’re the ones who bring in a list of what they want done. Be calm and collective in front of a stubborn client and be confident when explaining yourself, too. Here are some example scenarios.
They may say that they’ve been calling the salon all day but no one has gotten back to them.
The phone at my dog grooming salon has an answering machine—we can’t pick up every call all the time! Sometimes the salon space it loud and other times, we are in the back bathing another dog.
We do get those clients who continuously call, believing we will be available the next second they call. When you eventually do call them back, of course, they are going to say something about not picking up before. You need to apologize for not getting back to them sooner as it was a busy day at the salon, and ask them how you can help them now. It’s all about keeping your cool!
They may want us to drop everything we were doing to make them our first priority.
The second someone walks into the grooming shop, we try to help them right away. But if we have a dog in the tub or a dog on our table, they shouldn’t be left alone. Especially if they have grooming anxiety or any physical disabilities.
It’ll be hard to assist new clients right away when you have some shuffling to do. Even if you can tell that they want to be helped right away or are in a rush, attend to your dog first. Your first priority is the dog you are grooming and making sure they are safe.
3. Clients Who Bad-Mouth Your Dog Grooming Business
These clients can be detrimental to your confidence and the work environment. You will, without a doubt, work with awesome clients. But be prepared for those who hide behind their phone to say what they wouldn’t say to you face-to-face. Here are some situations where I have come across these types of clients:
Clients who love your grooming job in the shop but write a nasty review at home.
As soon as I complete a groom, I will ask the owner what they think. I’ll be open to their suggestions if they want me to fix anything. In this scenario, the client may say, “No, it looks great. She’s so cute!” and then tip you.
The next day or so later, you discover the bad review they left you on Google or Facebook. They say something along the lines of, “The cut was not what I wanted. It was uneven, and I won’t be going back.” Okay, folks, this is pretty devastating. But how are you supposed to evolve and improve if no one tells you face-to-face that they don’t like something?
I wish so deeply that people would speak up and point things out. That’s how we learn as groomers! We need those comments to help us become more confident and work on certain techniques.
They use social media to tear you down.
Social media can be a good and bad thing, let’s be honest. People share all about their lovely experiences at our dog grooming salon, but they may also share some not-so-good things. From there, all we can do is to take those things to make us better at our craft. Yes, it’s not awesome hearing the problems people had with us, but it happens. It all comes down to how you act and deal with it.
I hope these examples help you feel more confident in taking on clients who won’t always give you the benefit of the doubt. Stay strong, and stay true to your groom knowledge.
What other nightmare grooming clients did we miss? Leave us a comment!