I have had two situations in the last week that could have been potential problems.
The first one:
To lie or not to lie, that is my question.
Last week we had a customer with a large Shih-Tzu come in.
We had groomed her dog once before, about a year and a half ago.
Between then and now she has made at least half a dozen appointments and has either no showed or cancelled late.
We really did not expect her to keep this appointment.
I happened to be in the lobby waiting on a customer, that was picking up their dog, when she walked in, so I waited on her.
We talked about her dog and what she wanted done with the dog.
He was not very long, so it ended up sounding like a bath and neaten up all over.
She had just picked the dog up from being boarded at her Vet for the holiday.
She was upset and complaining that the Vet was treating her dog for a urinary tracked infection that she (the owner) believed the Vet somehow caused.
I did not comment on this information.
I just let her vent.
She was also upset that she was charged for shots that her dog had already gotten a few months earlier.
"So your dog got a second series of shots?" I asked her.
"I guess they must have, they were trying to charge me for them," she said angrily.
I could understand her anger.
She was not the type of person you would fool around with.
She is the type of person that wants things done her way, and her way only!
Anyway, here is the situation.
Right before the owner left she suddenly asked me if I was the only groomer.
"No, my daughter also grooms," I told her.
"Will you be grooming my dog?" she asked.
"I want you to groom him," she finished.
I truly was not sure who her dog was scheduled for.
I quickly assured her that my daughter had 10 years experience, has competed, and that I had taught her to groom.
I also told her that my daughters grooming was very good.
I was fairly sure that her dog was not booked on me.
I was right.
My daughter was very upset when she found out that the woman asked for me to groom the dog.
This is a very sore subject with my daughter.
She has been working so hard to get customers to accept her grooming dogs.
Sadly, if my daughter is waiting on a customer, and I come up into the lobby, they will stop talking to my daughter, ignore her completely, and start talking to me.
This would, understandably, really upset my daughter.
It was like she wasn't even there, and didn't know what she was talking about.
It has happened so many times, that if I know that she is waiting on a customer, I will not go out to the lobby.
When I am not around, the customers talk to my daughter just fine.
Back to the Shih-Tzu.
I was very booked and already running a little behind.
The dogs that I had left were dogs that I had to do.
I could not switch a dog with my daughter in order to groom this woman's dog.
Not to mention the fact, that my daughter felt that the woman didn't have any right to request a groomer, when she had missed her last 5 appointments.
Plus, it was only a bath and neaten.
Here is my problem.
My daughter wanted to know what I was going to tell the woman if she asked who groomed her dog when she picked him up.
Needless to say, my daughter was not happy with my answer.
If she asked, I was most likely going to say that I groomed the dog even though my daughter was grooming him.
At least that is what I was thinking of doing.
Let me explain.
Yes, I know it is not right.
Yes, I know that it would be an out and out lie.
But my decision was based on the personality of the owner, and this owner.....
Well, it is just not worth the confrontation that I am 99% sure it would cause if I told her that I did not groom the dog.
I can hear you yelling at me.
There are some customers that you can easily explain things to and they are very understanding...and then there are the others.
There are some people out there that just look for things to complain about, and start trouble.
I was 100 % sure that this woman would have no problem starting something.
To me, the easier thing to do was just let her think that I groomed her dog.
Is it wrong?
Yes, yes, yes.
Was my daughter upset with me?
Ooooooh, you better believe she was.
I truly believe that telling a small white lie to keep the peace (with the customer) does not hurt.
Yes, I could stand my ground and tell the owner that her dog was not booked on me, and my daughter had to groom him.
But you know what?
I would bet that that owner would have found something wrong with the grooming.
How do I know?
Because it had happened a number of times before over the years.
When I had my daughter, I had hired another groomer 6 months before my due date, to groom while I was out.
I also had another groomer at the time who had been grooming for me for about a year.
During this time, we had no complaints about the other two groomers.
As soon as I had my daughter, and my customers knew that I was not grooming their dogs, the complaints started coming in.
Even the groomer who had been with me for a year had people complaining just because they knew that I was not there.
Needles to say, the owner never asked who groomed her dog, and she was happy with the groom when she left.
In the end, I am not 100% sure that I would not have told that owner that my daughter groomed her dog.
I am a bad lair.
I feel like it is written all over my face when I lie.
I am very proud of my daughter.
I am very proud of her grooming skills.
At 20 years old, she could take over the business tomorrow, and do a great job. :)
My second situation:
It occurred today.
Another customer who should not be given anymore appointments.
This customer has three small Yorkies.
I have groomed her dogs once, about 6 months ago.
Since that time she has scheduled and missed 4 appointments.
All three dogs were booked for each appointment.
When called at the time of the appointment, she always has some out there excuse for missing, or not being able to come.
This is another customer that should be refused anymore appointments.
So why did we give her another appointment for her three Yorkies?
Because this is another customer that I know for fact would blow her mind if told we would not take her anymore.
Not only that, but she would most defiantly bad mouth us.
Now I guess that some groomers would not care.
They would not give her an appointment no matter how much she fussed and bad mouthed.
You can't please everyone, so I understand that there is always a chance that someone will leave your shop and bad mouth you.
But, I have worked too long and too hard to built up a great reputation to deliberately piss off a customer and send them out there to bad mouth me.
So we gave her another appointment.
Hopefully she will show up this time. :/
I read all of the time, on the grooming boards, about how tough groomers have gotten with their customers.
They fire customers, they make customers pre-pay, they don't let their customers walk all over them.
I wish that I was that tough....well a little tougher than I am at least.
I am very lucky that my shop is continuously busy all year round, but I am not so confident in this economy that I want to piss off customers.
Yes, I have lost money because of these customers.
I most likely should not schedule these two customers anymore.
But, I have to say, if I got rid of every customer who cost me money at one time or another, or was a pain in my a**, I would have to let quite a few customers go.
The bottom line is, that I don't like to start trouble where there does not need to be trouble.
Okay, I have rambled on way too long.
I feel like I haven't even come close to explaining myself clearly.
I am going to stop now, its been a long week.
I am sure that I have made myself sound like a fool.
Sometimes I feel like a fool when dealing with customers too.
Why do you think I like working with dogs.
I am going to try to end this post on a lighter note.
The Baltimore Ravens are in the playoffs. :)
It is purple crazy here in Baltimore.
Hopefully we make it to the Super Bowl.
Today a long time customer asked me to color their dogs Mohawk purple.
He always gets a Mohawk.
I have never seen him without it.
I usually shape it up and leave it.
Today I decided to spray it and spike it along with the coloring.
I used children's, non-toxic, blow-pens.
Oh, and some hairspray.
He is such a good old guy.
His Mom was VERY happy!
Happy Grooming, MFF