Customer Service in the Pet Industry — in the time of Covid-19
Now that the country is starting to re-open and pet grooming has once again become essential, there may be some pet owners out there that need a little TLC… along with their pets.
· They may have tried to groom their pets on their own.
· They may feel very sensitive about how bad their pet looks right now.
· They may feel inadequate because they were unable to do the ‘simplest’ of tasks… like trim nails or cut bangs.
· They may feel ashamed at their own inability to be a ‘good’ pet parent.
· They may feel bad because even though salons are open, they still have to wait even more time because they didn’t call right away for an appointment.
· They may feel the way their dog looks is a reflection on them and the way they care for their pet.
· They may have a new appreciation for you as the groomer. The job is not as easy as they thought.
· They may have to be reassured they did the best they could in a ‘bad’ situation… this snuck up on everyone, so it was very hard to be prepared.
All of these emotions (and more, probably) are going through your customer’s mind as they come through the door to your salon… and it’s up to you to console them, encourage them, teach them, and inspire them.
Let’s start with Console… your client needs to know that you are not blaming them for the condition their dog may be in. No one could have predicted the level of shut down we faced (and are still facing) and your clients were temporarily left without grooming options for their pets. A lot of people did their best to remedy the situation… the pictures all over social media prove that. While the captions under those photos expressed what the pets were thinking after the home grooming was completed were hilarious, it’s important to reassure the pet parents they did the best they could and you are impressed by their initiative!
On to Encourage… this may the perfect time to encourage your less-than-stellar pet owners that taking care of their pets is pleasant and enjoyable! It’s a great opportunity to interact and have fun with their dog or cat while accomplishing a necessary task, like brushing or cleaning ears. It will make them feel better about themselves knowing they are doing a good job taking care of their pet and their dog is going around the neighborhood now lookin’ mighty good!
Now to the Teach… this could be a little trickier because not all pet owners want to ‘Be the Bad Guy’ when it comes to trimming nails or expressing anal glands. There are the owners that are the exception to the rule AND… there are the pets out there that won’t tolerate anyone else BUT their owner. It’s also possible the dog may have a chronic problem such as ear infections or anal gland issues. My first cocker spaniel had both… I had to learn how to clean her ears properly and express her anal glands often. This was before I became a groomer… I couldn’t go running to a groomer or the vet every time she needed either of these issues addressed… it would have cost a fortune and not have been very convenient for any of us! Teaching some pet parents some basic skills helps us in the long run.
Lastly, Inspire… we can help our clients become their own version of an ideal pet parent by helping them realize they are more capable than they think when taking care of their pets. They do have control over many aspects of their pet’s health and well-being…including simple grooming tasks. Tasks that may have seemed daunting a few months ago, but now that they’ve been thrown into the deep end of the pool, may not be that hard after all!