About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Customer Service 101

I have said it before in other posts.... Good Customer Service is very important!

Most of the time, something as simple as a phone call goes a long, long way.

Like yesterday for example.

Yesterday we had our car in at the dealership for a recall repair and an oil change.
We had an appointment at 8am for the car.
We always drop our cars off the night before and pick them up after work whenever we have repairs or maintenance done.
The service department always calls when the car is ready to be picked up.

The whole day went by without receiving any call from the dealership.
So, my husband called them when we where ready to leave work.
The service departments phone just rang and rang.
We have a 40 minute ride home. 
The dealership is about 10 minutes from our house.

My husband tried to call two more times on the way home with the same results...the phone just rang and rang.
We decided to go ahead and walk in to see if the car was done.
Mind you, it had been scheduled to be worked on at 8am. 

The lady behind the service deck copped an attitude as soon as my husband asked about our car. 
He was not in anyway nasty with her.
My husband explained that we just walked in to check because the phone was not being answered every time he tried to call.

"We have two people out today and I have been on the phone all day. How can I answer the phone if I am already on another call!" the lady behind the counter told my husband in a very snide tone.

 Our car was just then being pulled into the bay to be worked on.
"Your car will be ready in about an hour if you want to wait."

Needless to say, my husband did not stay.
He had to get away from the woman behind the service desk before he lost it.
It was now 4pm.
He checked to make sure the lady had our home phone number and told her that he was only 10 minutes away, and he would come to get the car as soon as she called.

Fast forward to 5:30pm.....no call.

My husband calls the dealership once again.
The dealership receptionist once again tries to transfer my husbands call to the service department. 
The receptionist comes back on the line and tells my husband that the service department is not taking calls at this time. 
My husband explains why he is calling and the receptionist says that she will pass along the message and have the service department call us back in a few minutes.

Fast forward again to 6pm.
My husband calls again.
He once again explains why he is calling and that the service department has yet to call him back.
The receptionist puts him on hold.
After a few minutes she comes back to the phone; "I am sorry sir, the service department is now closed for the day. I am sorry I can't help you. You will have to call again tomorrow." 

Fast forward again to this morning.
After we get to work, my husband checks the caller ID.
Sure enough the dealership called the shop at 5:51pm the the day before.
They called the shop number after my husband specifically told the woman that he would be home and made sure that they had the home number.

So many things handled wrong.

First of all....answer the phone!!

Believe me, I understand getting busy, but you should always answer the phone and do at least one of two things.

If you have multiple lines coming into your business, ask the person that you are already talking to to please hold for a second, answer the other line and tell that customer that you will be right back with them as soon as you finish on the other line, and then get right back to the first person you were talking to.
It is then up to the other caller whether they want to wait on hold or hang up call back a little later. 
At least you acknowledged the call and did not just let the phone ring and ring. 
The second thing that this large dealership should do is, have an automated system that will kick in and come on if the phone is not answered after a certain amount of rings to say that all their representatives are busy at the moment and give you the option to hold or call back.

We as groomers should always answer the phone.
Your customers pets are in your care, and if that phone is not answered owners will panic, and the next thing you know you will have an owner showing up at the door because you did not answer your phone and they thought that you closed up with their dog still there.

If you are the sole groomer and do not always hear the phone because you are drying a dog, you should have an answering machine that will pick up after two rings and let the customer know that you are working with a furry friend at the moment and unable to get to the phone,  and will return their call as soon as possible.

Remember to return the call!

The next example of bad customer service....

Don't take your bad day out on the customer.

I understand that some customers can be nasty. (my husband was not)
There is no reason to take having a bad day out on the customer.
I have found that most customers understand and are sympathetic when you call them to warn them and explain that your are having a rough day and have fallen behind in your work.
A simple phone call can go a long way.
Just give the customer the common curtsy of a phone call. 
A simple call from the dealership to let us know what was going on would have saved a lot of frustration and hard feelings.

If you are having a rough day and talk in a nasty tone to a customer you are waiting on, they are going to think that you are also being nasty to their dog....I would think that. 

And for goodness sake, don't wait on a customer and start gripping about your bad day, or the bad dog you are working on.
That is unprofessional.
Just try to make a little joke that 'you have had better days', or 'it's been a long day' and leave it at that.

I personally can't stand when I go into a business and the employees are having a discussion, while waiting on me, about how bad the last customer was, or how stupid their boss is, or how much they hate their job, or what an idiot a fellow employee is, ect.

It is not always easy, but keep a smile on your face and be polite.
If you have a grumpy customer try to get them to smile.
I like to do that.
I take it as a challenge.
Kill them with kindness till they smile.
It works almost every time.
I have to say, that I do have a few that couldn't smile if their life depended on it, but I keep trying. :-)

The last example of bad customer service...

Make sure that you do what the customer asks you to do.
Call them where they tell you to call.
Of course, in the grooming world this means do what the owner asks you to do if you can safely.
The dog always come first!

Great customer service will get you great word of mouth (free) advertising.
Today great customer service is hard to come by.
Customers will remember how well you treated them.
They will come back.
They will tell others about you.

 


 

 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday's Tip #62: Helping Tools

Well, at least I think these small silly tools could be helpful some days.

My kids.....
Well they took one look at what I bought today and told me I was officially crazy, nuts, insane, and have finally lost it.

True, all true, but that's okay.
I know that I am not normal. 
That is what the dogs love about me. lol

Anyway, I had to make a run to the bank today and Harbor Freight was right across the way.
I decided to go in because we needed to replace a couple of the earphones we use while drying the dogs.
And because I was by myself.

You see, my family hates to go to home improvement stores and tools stores with me. 
They say that I spend too long in them.
We never just run in, pick up what we need and walk out.
I love walking around home improvement stores.
Hence, just one of the reasons my kids think I am nuts.

So, I walked up and down every isle of that tool store.
That is how I came across these two things.



WHAT!!???

 That's right, I heard you.....all of you.

WHAT!!???
That is the same thing that my kids said to me when I got back to the shop and they saw these two items.

 "What are they for?" to be exact.

I am sure you are also wondering; 'how is she going to use these two tools to groom, and for that matter, what are they?'




This is a Telescoping Magnetic Pickup Tool.

I guarantee you that I will be using this tool just about everyday.

Yes, I said just about everyday.

Why?

Because I am guaranteed to drop my comb everyday, and sometimes a blade or two. 




My daughter took one look at this tool and said; "Mom, just how lazy can you be?"

Let me just say that I did not get this tool to be lazy. 
I got it because my back hurts everyday.
So do my knees, and I have tendinitis in my ankle.
I sit to groom about half of my dogs to give my ankle a break.
When I saw this tool, the thought of not having to bend over to pick up a blade or my comb was enticing.

But, there was one other reason I thought that this tool would come in very handy, and it was the main reason I bought it....

Now I know other groomers can relate to this.
How many times have you dropped your comb, or had it kicked out of your hand, and it falls to the floor into a pile of dog hair...and disappears!!
You spend precious grooming minutes searching through the hair, and sometimes still can't find the darn thing.

Wouldn't you just love to have a magnetic tool that would root through all that hair and grab that comb?
Or, you have a dog on the table that you can not, must not step away from, but your comb landed a couple of feet from your table.








Wouldn't this expandable tool come in real handy?

It expands to about 36 inches.









Picks that comb right up!








So, what if the comb is under a pile of hair?








Will it find the comb and still pick it up?









Yes!








How about a blade?









Yes!










How about a blade under a pile of hair?









Yes, even with all the hair.









See, there it is.






Yes, I am excited.
Do I sound excited?
Why not?
The silly thing only cost me $4.50




 Now you are just dying to know why I bought this and and what am I going to do with it, right?

Right?

You are still there aren't you?

I mean you have to at least be a little curious, right?



Well, if you have stuck with me through this entire post, thanks. lol

Anyway, I haven't tried it yet, but I plan on using this light to sit on my table when I am scissoring hard to see areas under the dog.
This old girls eyes are not what they used to be.




 I can stand it up and aim it at legs, or I can lay it down and aim it up at a belly to see better when clipping.

I will see, not sure if it will help or not.

I'll test it out the next few days and will come back and update this post.

Doesn't hurt to try, the silly light only cost $3.


So there is my silly tip for the day.
Maybe these tools can help another groomer. :)



Friday, August 21, 2015

Sad Grooming Days

One of the draw backs of grooming for 30 years is watching so many of your furry clients grow old and sadly, eventually pass.

Today I had one of my senior furry customers in for a groom.
Sadly, he is failing fast from several different health issues.
He did so good for his groom today.
I can no longer use the HV dryer on him, so he gets dried with the small hand dryer.
He can no longer see, so I scissor as best I can around his eyes.
He jerks his face a lot when he senses the scissors close to his eyes.

Thankfully he still stands still on the table.
So many of the blind dogs that I groom tend to have a habit of walking forward even though they can not see.
If you didn't stop them, they would just walk right off the end of the table.

It has always amazed me how a dog, that I have groomed all of its life, and has always stood very good and still on the table to be groomed, will suddenly become a 'walker' on the table when they become blind and can no longer see where they are going.

That can be a source of many heart attacks (for me) while grooming.

It is also hard to watch some of these senior fur babies become senile.
You may have been grooming them all of their lives, but they no longer remember you, or remember what you are doing.
You need to spend extra time grooming and reassuring them that all is well.
Sometimes it is like grooming them when they were a puppy and you have to show them that what you are doing is okay.
They do not remember you or what it was like to be groomed before.

Some can't see anymore.
Some can't hear anymore.
Some can't no longer stand up.
Some dribble pee constantly.

Some do all of the above!

The saddest thing for me is when a dog, that I have groomed since it was a puppy, becomes senile and aggressive.
I am talking about a dog that has always been very, very sweet and gentle.
They suddenly become very mean and very aggressive.
Biting for everything.
It is the saddest thing.
I have had this happen to at least a half dozen of my very favorite dogs.

I once read about a groomer that refused to groom any dog over 10 years old.
She would also stop grooming dogs that she had been grooming for years once they turned 10.

I can not imagine doing something like that.
How could anyone groom a dog for so long and then just say "no more".
No matter how hard a senior dog has become to groom, I have and always will try to continue to groom and make that dog feel good for as long as I can.

I do make sure that my senior dog owners understand that I will only do what the dog will allow and that the groom may not be the best that it used to be.
All of my senior customers have always understood and been grateful for any grooming I was able to do on their old pets.

I will say that I do tell all of my very senior, or sick pets (and I tell this to them right in front of their owners) that they are not allowed to pass on my time. 
All senior pets owner must be available to pick up their dogs the second that I finish them.
The owners also understand that the grooming will come to an end if I feel the dog can't handle being groomed that day.
They are also booked as an in and right back out dog.

I have actually had customers tell me not to worry if their dog does pass away while I am grooming it.
That they will not blame me or be upset.

Well I will!!!

I always tell them to "bite your tongue!" or "don't wish that on me!"
I actually had one customer that was hoping that her dog would pass away while I was grooming her, because they did not want to make the ultimate decision that was coming.
For the last two years of that dogs life I thought, that every time I groomed this clients dog, it was going to be the last time, but that dog just kept on going like the energizer bunny.
Scared me to death to groom it sometimes.
A small Terrier....need I say more?

The hardest part of watching my furry customers become seniors is when the owners ask me to tell them when it is time to help their dog pass.
It is amazing how many times I have been asked when, or how they should decide...

Receiving that finial phone call from the owner of a long time fur customer is hard, but I am so very grateful to have been able to make that fur baby clean, happy and beautiful for so many years. 

Even though it can be sad sometimes, I will always groom the fur seniors to make them feel good in their golden years. :)

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Attack!



Take a good look at this face!


Did you take a good look?

You can't imagine that this face could attack you, can you?

That sweet, sweet face...




He attacks me if I look at him!
He attacks me if I pet him! 
Oh boy, does he attack me when I dare to talk to him!!

It takes a few minutes after each attack to calm him down to continue the groom.
I have been grooming him since he was a puppy.
Every groom is the same.

Attack, attack, attack.

I have even told his owner about his attacks.
He just can't help it.

I have learned to be careful with how much I make eye contact while grooming.
I am careful not to pet him too much during the groom.
Most of all, I try to keep my mouth closed and not talk to him during the groom.

Or I would never get him finished.

Sometimes I just can't help it.
Sometimes I want him to attack.

Yes,  you read that right...I want him to attack.

He is the best and happiest attack dog I have ever groomed.
Just make eye contact, or pet him and he will attack you with the best kisses

Oh, and when you talk to him, or praise him he just goes crazy with a full body wiggle and an attack to the face with a million kisses!!



 This little guy....

I love this little guy!
He is one of my favorites to groom.
I would take him home in a flash.
Always happy, always good, always sweet.

And best of all....

He ALWAYS attacks!!!  :-)



No matter what kind of day I am having, this guy
is the best medicine to make me feel happy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On a side note:
For anyone still reading my blog, I would like to apologize for disappearing and not writing for a while.
It has been a long hard two years personally.
The loss of two parents and a very dear Father-in-law, with-in one year, seemed to have effected me more than I would like to admit.
Followed up with my son leaving to join the Marines was also a major adjustment for me.
There were many times, while at work, I would think 'this would make a good grooming post', only to get home and just not have it in me to write.

I also experienced a possible career ending injury this summer.
Thanks to the Doctor and a well placed Cortisone shot I am back to scissoring again.
My daughter Jessica was a life saver this summer when I suddenly found that I could not even hold a pair of scissors much less scissor a dog.

What to do?
We were fully booked for the summer.
There were no open appointments to move anyone to.
We did not want to cancel any of my long time regular customers.
And, I had to wait weeks for an appointment with the Doctor.

So, what did we do?
I should say, what did Jessica do? 
She stepped up!
I became a bather.
My son and I did all of the bathing and drying.
I roughed in what I could with the clippers, (I got very good at 'finish' skimming) and Jess did all of the scissor finish work.
She was grooming 14 to 16 dogs a day.
For over 8 weeks!
And, we managed to get done on time everyday. 

We are now back to each grooming our own clients.
I am so grateful to be scissoring again with no pain.
I could not even imagine having to give up grooming. 

My daughter has been after me to continue my blog, because she knew how much I enjoyed writing it.
I am going to make an attempt to continue it, so bare with me please.

Oh, and thanks to anyone who still checks in to see if I have posted anything new.  :-) 





Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Would You Do?

When an owner asks you to clip their dog short enough for the groom to last  3 months.


 This little one was in for her third groom.

She had her first groom in February, a hand scissor cut.

Her second cut, in March, was another hand scissor cut.

Her owner does a wonderful job of keeping her combed out.


She was in again today for her third appointment.
This time her owner wanted to cut her short.
Short enough for the cut to last three months.






It killed me to clip this coat.

She looks so cute when she is hand scissored.







So, what blade?
How short should I take her?
How fast will her hair grow?

What would you do?

What blade would you use?

So, what did I do?






I chose to use a #4F blade.

I just could not bring myself to go shorter than that.









I told the owner that we would see how long it took for this cut to grow out.

She could go even shorter next time if she wanted.




As for the face...nothing short of shaving it would stop it from growing out before the three months were up.

Even though the 'before' is from the dog growing out of a longer clip, around the corner of the eyes were scissored just as short as in the 'after' picture.

The 'before' picture is only 4 weeks growth.

We told the owner that no matter how short we took her around her eyes, the face cut would not last three months.



I think she turned out cute, but I still liked her longer cut. :-)


Just a note:
I am working on the step by step grooming posts, but have found it a little harder to get my pictures.
My oldest son took most of the pictures while I groomed for my blog.
He has now moved on to a new career, so I have to relay on my husband or younger son, and they are busy with their own jobs at the shop.
It has been crazy busy lately, which is a good thing.
I hope everyone else is busy with the spring grooming season also. :-)