You are a groomer. You are a pet service professional. You provide your services to pets day after day— polishing Poodles and dandifying doodles. We see your grooming photos on Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok. You are proud of your work and the service you provide. You are a rock star.
But let’s talk about the service portion of your career that may not come as easily as scissoring or clippering your clients’ pets. Customer service is a hot topic these days. From educating clients on how to care for their coated pet between grooming services to pandemic puppy owners who are reaching out for their first groom, groomers like you get frustrated. You are drawing lines in the sand around your time, your value and your willingness to accommodate clients’ unreasonable demands. You are entering the realm of being a trade professional.
As the grooming industry moves forward by leaps and bounds, let’s make sure that we are taking the time to offer professional service to our clients; the people who are choosing our services and bringing us pets to groom.
Here is a handy reference list of customer service touchpoints that you should be applying so that your clients experience exceptional customer service alongside your exceptional grooming skills. Some of these are obvious ways you can excel in offering exceptional customer service, but by making sure that you consider each opportunity to interact with your clients as a chance to shine, you will elevate your client experience to another level.
How do your clients find you?
Whatever the point of entry for a client may be, this is the first impression touchpoint. Your clients may be coming via a website, Facebook, online scheduler, phone call, text or email; however, when they first engage with your services, make sure that the process is efficient, informative and easy to navigate. No one wants to run an obstacle course before they sit down in a restaurant for dinner; likewise, clients don’t want to jump through too many hoops to engage with their groomer or learn about your services.
One simple way to navigate this touchpoint is to determine what clients should know at these four stages: before they decide to use your service, after they decide to use your service and book an appointment, when they meet you for their appointment and following an appointment. This allows you to not overwhelm a new client with policies yet still offer relevant information at the proper time in a client’s journey with your business.
I’m here for my appointment!
As discussed above, you should already have an idea of when you should be delivering information about your services, policies and even skill sets to your client. When a client arrives for an appointment, this is your opportunity to make a great first impression EVERY time they visit you. From a clean environment to a welcoming atmosphere, your service is represented by everything around you.
This touchpoint is critical because, as a pet professional, you are tasked with gathering information to help you succeed in grooming the pet before you. In the meantime, you are challenged with being friendly and open while still educating the pet owner about their pet’s needs and your ability to meet those needs. Consider which information is most relevant to offer at this stage and this will help you make sure that this touchpoint of service does not overwhelm the client with information.
A suggestion to keep your customer service seamless is to ensure that this touchpoint is well-organized and fluid for the client. Coaching them through your process is a great start: “Mrs. Smith, I’m going to gather some information about you and your pet, let you know about our services, and then we can discuss your grooming service for today.” Just coaching a client through your process is the equivalent to offering a guided tour of your services.
Share specific information with the client.
Sometimes it’s as small as a quicked nail, while other times the news you need to share may be of a larger scope. Regardless, how and when you choose to give that information to the client is particularly important in the scheme of customer service.
While you are a busy groomer—moving 1,000 miles per hour through your day and managing multiple pets—the client who is using your service is imagining that you are focused on and attentive to their pet alone. They are purchasing your professional service and deserve your dedicated time and attention when it comes to something as important as the health, safety or wellbeing of the pet. Anytime you have information to share with the client which may impact one of those parameters, it is important that you record the information in the pet’s file and deliver the information to the client. Stopping to make a phone call to deliver the news that a pet was shaved (when the client had hoped for otherwise)—or worse even—is an important touchpoint in your customer service plan.
Advising the client of any difficult situations, listening to their concerns and taking time to answer their questions allows them the time and attention they expect from a professional groomer. Adding a mid-service phone call if something does not go as expected, or just to reassure a concerned client, is a great way to keep open communication with clients at the time it’s most needed.
Mrs. Smith is here to pick up her dog.
Like many groomers, you are most likely tired at the end of your day—emotionally and physically. When each pet leaves for the day, you may have more pets waiting to be groomed, another stop on your route or cleaning chores to finish before your grooming day is over. Having predetermined which information you wish to share at which point during the service is critical for time and customer management. Check-out is a common time to explain proper brushing techniques to the owner of a freshly shaved pet. Other times, this can be accomplished with pre-printed, curated material.
Determining how you wish to invest your limited time with the customer is key to ensuring that you provide thorough instructions. I commonly see groomers who are simply too tired at the end of the day to prebook a client’s next appointment. If that’s the case, you may consider moving that task to the initial check-in timeframe.
While all groomers enjoy receiving a generous tip at the end of the day, understanding that you can utilize these common touchpoints to educate, provide service to and communicate with your clients in unique ways is an important factor in how you organize your grooming services. The key takeaway is to have an organized method and recognize that each of these are opportunities to shine and solidify your position as your client’s groomer. ✂️