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, January 3, 2013

What Would You Do?....Customer Service

Today I had a minor situation that I needed to figure out how to handle.
It was not a hard decision for me, but everyone did not agree with my way of thinking.
So, I thought that I would ask my fellow groomers...What would you do?

I had one of my regular Standard Poodle customers come in today.
When she arrived, she had on a really nice, new fleece dog coat.

I was still finishing my first dog of the day so we put her in a kennel to wait for me to shave her face and feet before being bathed.

She was not in the kennel very long, but when I took her out I immediately noticed that she had chewed on her coat.

 She did not just chew it a little, she chewed it a lot!

When I took the coat off of her, I felt it to see if it was wet from recent chewing, or dry, and maybe the chew spot had already been there.

It was slightly damp.

She had definitely chewed it recently.

But when?

Crap, crap, crap.

Sometimes I take sweaters off as soon as the dogs come in, sometimes I don't.
I didn't this time, because I knew that I would be getting her back out shortly.
I have also never had a dog chew on their sweater while it was still on them before.
It just never crossed my mind that her coat would get damaged while she was still wearing it.

All of that being said, I am still responsible for the dog and the dogs belongings while they are in my care.

There were three possibilities....
✓ One, the hole was already in the sweater when the dog came in. (although I did not notice it when she came in)
✓ Two, she chewed it in the car on the way to be groomed, where as it would not be my fault.
✓ Three, she chewed it while waiting in her kennel, because I didn't take it off right away when she came in. (my fault)

The coat could be easily sewed and repaired, but would no longer look new.
It was also still useable.
Even so, the coat was in my care, and I felt responsible.
The coat should go out of my shop the same way it came into my shop.

Okay, so I watch too many court shows. ☺

So, what did I do?

Even though she could still wear the coat...

Even though you couldn't even see the chewed spot from the other side...

I told my husband to ask the owner if the chew spot was already there.

If she said 'no', then I told him to tell her that we would replace the coat.

I felt very strongly that that was the right thing to do.

The owner was very understanding and laughed it off.
She said that she would think about the replacement, but that she thought the coat was still fine.

I still feel bad that it happened, but I am very glad that it was settled smoothly, with no ill feelings.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I would make a very cute Bow or Flower and sew it on with a patch to cover it up, no need to buy a new jacket and it would make a very cute addition to the jacket. yeah she might chew that too, but really if she had that jacket before and never chewed it she obviously didnt want to be wearing it in the kennel and wanted it off for some reason or just didnt want to be in the kennel so she chewed it... anyway, it could be any one of those reasons and it isn't like she chewed off her toe or something. make a bow/flower and there ya go.

    1. Hi,
      What a clever idea. If I had had my sewing kit at work I would have at least sewn up the tear, but I would still have offered to replace it. ☺
      Lisa, MFF

  2. Your action proved you are a proffectional with a conscience. I would have done the very same thing.....fretted over what the customer was going to think/do, vow to fix the situation even if it was not really my fault. I make dog clothes so I would have repaired it and offered to make a copy (also good for my craft business) but to offer to replace is the best cx service you could have given. Now that person will tell her friends how wonderful her groomer really is. Way to go.

    1. Thank you forest lea,
      You are right, even though I knew the owner to be very nice, I still fretted over how she would react. ☺
      Lisa, MFF

  3. I would have done the same thing. Sometimes collars get misplaced or leashes get chewed on - I figure that's just part of the cost of running a grooming business - and also a lesson learned!

  4. Are you sure you don't want to move to San Diego? The more I read your blog the more I wish you were in my area so I could frequent your shop.

  5. At our shop we would have just called as soon as we seen it to let them know it looks like she chewed on it. Honestly I wouldn't have felt like I was responsible for it, since you know you didn't do it. I work in a boarding kennel too, so we constantly have toys and blankets and beds that get damaged, by the dogs of course, so I guess we are used to not feeling responsible for replacing them. It actually irritates me when the customer wants money back for a bed their own pet damaged.

    1. Hi,
      I have a friend who owns a great boarding facility. When she first opened she had a problem with dogs destroying things that their owners left with them while boarding. She very quickly put in her boarding contract that the owners where allowed to leave toys, beds, blankets, ect., but in no way was the boarding facility responsible for what condition they received their things back.
      Since I don't board and the dogs are only in my care for a short time, AND I did not remove the coat right away, I felt responsible.
      Lisa, MFF

  6. I would also have offered to replace the coat. It's a small price to pay to keep client relationship strong. For most people, the offer alone would have been enough, and they would not make you replace it, as your customer seems to have done. You did the right thing. Karen in NJ

  7. I agree with others, its so worth the small price of a jacket to keep your customer relationships up. Customer service is SO important. I groom only 1-2 days a week now b/c hubby and i run a business, and it is insane how happy our customers are because we go that extra bit to make them happy!

    Grooming-wise, I've bought jackets and made pretty custom-colored ribbons and etc. for lots of people over the years, even just random folks who come in wanting me to do a tied-up-topknot or something, so many other people I've worked with flat out refuse to do anything like that without paying for a full groom/whatever. I feel like just taking a minute to do something special for them goes miles. blah, im rambling now. love reading your blog as always <3

    1. Hi Kat,
      I agree. A lot of time when someone walks in for their dogs nails to be clipped, I will trim up the feet a little, or trim around the eyes, or give a quick brush out at no extra charge.
      The little things can go a long way with customer relations. :)
      Thanks for reading my blog!
      Lisa, MFF

  8. Id like to thank you for your blog page. As a new manager of a pet store, that has a grooming salon, of which I know nothing about, this blog has certainly helped me understand the needs of a grooming salon, and a lot of what goes on in the salon. I was wondering if you had any tips on how to find experienced groomers-as I walked into a situation with this job and have only 1 groomer and 2 assistants due to poor mismanagement on part of the last manager. Any advice you could offer would be appreciated!
    David (hubby of Patti)

    1. Hi David,
      Boy, if I had the answer to that question I would have half a dozen groomers and be grooming at least 50 dogs a day. My shop would be rockn'.

      I spent more then 10 years trying to find good groomers. I was sure that all other groomers out there felt the same way about grooming as I did. I found 4 good ones (not all at one time). The problem was keeping them. Every one of them quit grooming to have families. Oh, I hired many more then 4, it is just that the experiences with the others isn't even worth talking about. :(

      You say that you have a groomer and two assistants. What do the assistants do exactly? How many dogs does your grooming salon do a day? Are you turning grooming customers away everyday? There are so many questions. A good, experienced groomer, along with a good bather should be able to groom around 8 to 12 dogs a day, depending on the difficulty of the clips/bathes, and sizes of the dogs.

      I wish that I could tell you what the secret to finding a good groomer is. They are a fickle group of people. And unfortunately, from my experience, not a very reliable group. I no longer hire other groomers. I gave up! It is just my daughter and I grooming, with one bather.
      If you are lucky enough to have a good groomer that people keep coming back to to have her/him groom their dogs, take good care of them. Finding a good groomer is like finding a needle in a haystack.

      I am sorry that I couldn't be of more help in this department. I am glad that my blog has helped you in other areas. Thanks for reading. :)
      Lisa, MFF

    2. Thanks for that Lisa! It makes me feel that Im not a complete failure for not being able to find qualified people-now that youve opened my eyes to your world a bit. :)
      I will continue to keep my eyes open, and I will be passing your blog page address to my grooming staff, as well as keeping an eye on it myself. Our business is growing steadily-so it is a challenge to keep up with the demand. Thanks for your great info and support!
      David (hubby of patti)