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.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Scheduling Woes

I wrote a post yesterday.

Where did it go?

I never published it.
I was almost finished writing it.....no I wasn't writing.....I was ranting.
It was a rant through and through.

I felt like I had turned into Ebenezer Scrooge.
All because of few customers.

I am better now.
Today was a pretty smooth day.

One more day of grooming left before Christmas.

Why is it that when I have so many really good customers, I let the few PITA customers ruin my day?
A few of them manage to do or say something just about every time they come in.
So why do I keep them as a customer?
Because every darn one of them own dogs that I really like.

During the first two grooming jobs I had, I was never allowed to wait on, or talk to the dogs owners.
The receptionist would bring in the dogs and tell me what the owners said.
I used to hate that!
I wanted to talk to the owners so bad.
I wanted to see their reactions to my grooms.

Boy, they aren't kidding when they say "be careful what you wish for."

I actually do like talking to the owners, but sometime I really wish that there was a way for the dogs to materialize on my table, and then when I was done I could blink and they would be home.
No interaction with the owner.

I think that I have watched way too much 'I Dream of Jennie'.

I have written before about how we book most of our customers appointments a year in advance.
We have been doing this for more years than I can remember.

 We send out almost 400 letters at the beginning of October with forms for our customers to fill out.

They tell us how many weeks between appointments that they want to go.

They tell us what day they want to come on.

They tell us what time that they want the appointment.

All we ask is that they check off three possible days and times that they would be available for an appointment.
They can even number their choices by preference.
If they like to come in on Tuesdays, they would mark it as their number one choice, maybe Thursday as their second choice and so on.

I only other thing that we ask is that they mail them back by the end of the month of October.

 We were still getting forms back as late as the end of November.    

Once we get the forms back, my daughter puts them in order of customer seniority.

The customers that have been with me since I started grooming go on top of the pile and so on.

I have to give my daughter all of the credit in the world.
She has always helped me with this job, but a few years ago she took it over completely.

One of her reasons for taking it over was, because she knew that I have a bad habit of fitting dogs in on days that I shouldn't.

 My daughter takes the whole month of November, working a couple of hour each night, to make up these schedules for our customers.
She works very hard to give as many customers as possible their first choices.
She works around their vacations.
She takes the extra time to figure out appointments for the people who want to come in every 4 weeks in the summer and 6 weeks in the winter.
Or, want their appointments to match with their paydays.
You name it, she figures it out.

We hand the customers their new schedule, for next year, when they come in for their last appointment of this year.

That is when the problems start.

Like I said before most of my customers are great.
They love and appreciate getting their new schedules for the next year.
They look at their schedule, say 'great', and that is the end of that.

Then their are the ones who always have a problem.
They forget what they wrote on their form.
They suddenly remember some event that they will be at on the days you scheduled them for.
They don't understand why they don't have an appointment for each month when they asked for appointments every 6-8 weeks.
God help us if we made one of their appointments for 5weeks instead of 4 weeks, because 4 weeks was booked.

One customer ask my daughter why her July appointment was one week longer.
"We are going to be on vacation that week. That is why your appointment is a week longer." my daughter told her.
"So why can't you groom her that week?" the customer asked again.
"We will be away," my daughter said.
"So you can't groom her that week? the customer asked with a puzzled look on her face.
"No, we can't."

What also amazes me, is how some of these customers seem to get personally offended that they were not given the day or time that they wanted.
Come on, I can't have every dog come in at 9am.
If we gave you a 10am appointment because there were no more 9am appointments left, please don't have a meltdown over it.

One year we had a regular customer storm in all upset about her appointments.
"Why did you make all my appointments every 8 weeks when I wanted 6 weeks?!" she said very angrily.
"Because you asked for every 8 weeks," my daughter told her.
"No I didn't," the customer said in no uncertain terms.
My daughter turned, walked into the grooming room and came back out with her big black three ring binder.
She looked up the customers number and turned to her form.
Then she turned the form to the customer so that she could see that she wrote 8 weeks on her form.

I give my daughter credit, she was very polite while talking to the customer, and things were smoothed over.
At least she waited till the customer was gone and she was back in the grooming room to celebrate her little victory.
"See Mom, that is why I keep all of these forms," she tells me with a happy little smirk on her face.
"Their not going to come in tell me that I did something wrong."
My daughter keeps all of the forms, and all of the customers little notes that they send with the forms.
It has paid off a few times.
Even though the girl has a photographic memory, she wants proof in her hands when someone disputes something.

Then you get the customer that is down right mean about their new schedule.
They don't yell or get angry, they get cocky, smart, and like to throw in "I have been coming to you since you opened. I thought that you scheduled by seniority. Why don't I have an appointment closer to Christmas next year? Why is my last appointment December 13th? Didn't you follow this years schedule?" We had December 21 this year."

"Because you made a note on your form that you wanted an appointment for the week of 12/9/12," my daughter told her.

I really should not have let this customer get to me yesterday.
I didn't even talk to her.
My daughter took the call.
It is just that this very long time customer  has burned their bridge...blown up their bridge...obliterated their bridge so many times over the years, that every time they do this kind of stuff it drives me nuts.

I know..I know...but I really like their dog.

They were not the only one to have issues with next years scheduled yesterday.
They were about the fourth.
They just happened to be the last one of the day.

I really have to work on not letting customers get to me.
They go home and forget all about it, and I go home and think about it all night.
You would think after all of these years that I would have learned not to let customers petty grievances bother me.
I have gotten a little better, but not much.

I am too sensitive for my own good.

It seems to take only one PITA customer to ruin your day.
I have to learn to concentrate on the nice customers that I had for the day.

Oh well, I guess I just ranted again.
Trust me, it wasn't as bad as last night.

One more day.

Tomorrow will be a good day. :)
Tomorrow will be a good day. :)  :)
Tomorrow will be a good day. :) :) :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. We were just talking about how the worst owners have the best dogs! The few customers we have fired - I mean referred elsewhere - are the ones whose dogs we miss the most.

    I have to work on not letting my co-workers get to me! My tomorrow will be a great day because it's my last day before a 10 day break. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, to you and your family!!!

  2. Bev,
    Co-worker drama...nothing like it.
    I hope that you are having a wonderful, well earned break!!
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family also!
    Lisa, MFF