If you’re a professional groomer that often works with Doodle clients, then you probably know all too well about the common issues that may come up in your line of work. Doodles are quite high-maintenance and their loving parents want their Doods to look and feel their best. In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the most common pain points that arise in the Doodle grooming business and give you some helpful insights into how you can make sure your grooming business flourishes and that your clients (both human and canine) will always leave your salon happy and well taken care of.
Table of Contents
- Here’s Why Your Doodle Client Is Upset
- 5 Ways To Have Better Experiences With Your Doodle Clients
- Proper Communication And Education Is The Key To Building Healthy Relationships With Doodle Owners
- The Best Way To Educate Doodle Owners And Increase Footfall
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Although grooming Doodles (or any other breed of dog for that matter) is certainly a rewarding experience, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Your clients want their Doodles to look absolutely gorgeous once they walk out of the salon, flaunting that signature fluffy Doodle look.
Of course, that’s not always possible, whether it’s due to fussy clients (i.e a Doodle that has trouble sitting still or enjoying the process), or because the canvas needs some serious work due to improper maintenance in between grooming sessions. There’s also the matter of understanding what your clients want and them knowing how to communicate their vision. There are so many different aspects to consider!
That’s why we decided to help you out and discuss some of the most important things that can go wrong and what you can do about them.
Here’s Why Your Doodle Client Is Upset
Oftentimes, when your client leaves the salon with their Doodle and they’re not happy with the end result, the main culprit is poor communication. Understandably, Doodle owners have their expectations when they bring their precious pooch in to have them professionally groomed. However, it can be difficult for them to communicate their expectations and for you to get through to them about what’s possible and what’s not.
Of course, this often goes hand in hand with the fear of getting bad reviews on Yelp and Google. And we can certainly understand why these situations happen! Think of it – you wouldn’t be too happy either if you get your dog back looking like a completely different creature. But that’s not to say it’s the groomer’s fault. And that’s where proper communication comes into play.
Although you and us here at Doodle Doods are extremely passionate about Doodles and every area of their upkeep, not every Doodle owner knows how to take care of their pup properly. It’s not uncommon for Doodle owners to walk into a grooming salon with a fully matted Dood who hasn’t been brushed or groomed in weeks, or even months. Their fur is impossible to brush out, it will take so much more time, and often these dogs leave the salon fully shaved. However, the clients’ expectation is to get back a Doodle with luscious, long fur that shines just like in those fancy shampoo commercials. You see where the disappointment stems from, right?
But even though it can be extremely infuriating for the groomer, it’s crucial to rather shift the focus on being proactive and not becoming reactive with the clients. Sometimes all it takes is a good conversation and reminders about proper grooming that needs to happen at home.
5 Ways To Have Better Experiences With Your Doodle Clients
Although the fear of negative reviews can get to you, there are actually quite a few things you can do to keep your Doodle clients happy. And they’re simple, too! Let’s take a closer look at the five easiest, yet most important steps you should take to ensure that you have better experiences with your Doodle clients and that they always leave your business on a positive note.
The following tips are inspired by The Pet Boss® Podcast with Candace D’Agnolo episode #53, Doodle Grooming & Being Proactive Vs. Reactive in Your Pet Business.
1. Set The Expectation Right
The first thing you must do before having your clients drop off their Doodles and leave, is to set the right expectations. As it’s often the case, dog owners tend to drop off their Doodles and quickly explain to you what they want to see once they pick up their dog from the salon. But this shouldn’t be the only thing that’s discussed before the grooming session. Of course, knowing what type of haircut they’re after is a good starting point, but you can’t give any promises to your clients before you’ve actually seen what condition their Doodle is in.
What we recommend you do is that you ask your clients to come into the salon about 10 minutes earlier or communicate in advance that the first 10 minutes will be dedicated to discussing their Doodle’s current state in terms of what can/can’t and what needs to be done.
For instance, if a severely matted Doodle comes in, take the time to inspect the coat and discuss with your client about the possible outcomes. If the coat is seriously matted, often the only course of action is to shave them down completely. However, make sure you explicitly explain this in-depth to your client so that they fully comprehend what’s going to happen. Otherwise, they’ll be in absolute shock and disappointment once they pick up their Dood. You need to get through to them that their dog will look drastically different after their fur has been shaved off.
That being said, don’t overpromise and underdeliver – don’t promise to keep the hair long when it clearly needs to be shaved. We cannot stress enough that this has to be communicated properly. Then, soften the blow by explaining that this is essential for their Doodle’s health and wellbeing. This will greatly minimize itchiness and skin irritations, and the hair will grow back very soon. And once the harder part is done, it starts to grow back healthy and nourished, provided that they keep up with maintenance at home and come back in time.
2. Tweak Your Client Onboarding Process
Another important step to consider is your client onboarding process. Way before your clients’ first appointments, you can provide them with a video or booklet about the different types of dog hair, including Doodle coats, and what happens when the hair becomes matted. Explain why this happens and what needs to be done in those cases. This is also part of setting the right expectations, as your customers will gain a better understanding of the importance of proper grooming.
For example, we recommend you explain how different types of dog coats, including Doodles, need to be brushed and how often they should come in for a grooming session. Depending on how your clients book their appointments, this can either be done over email or on the phone while making the appointment. You’ll want to explain this to your clients beforehand so that they understand the unique needs of Doodle breeds.
Of course, an important part of this is also to educate your team, either the receptionist or administrator who handles the appointments. Emails, on the other hand, can be easily automated whenever a client makes their first appointment.
You can also utilize questionnaires, such as Google Forms, for the clients to answer before their initial appointments. This way, you’ll get a better idea of how much they know about Doodle grooming and maintenance that has to be done in between grooming sessions. The goal is to educate your clients way before they step foot inside your salon so that the expectations meet the reality.
Moreover, you should also communicate with your clients that you’re always open to their feedback, even if it’s negative. Stay open and transparent, and you’ll soon notice that they first come to you, instead of leaving negative reviews on Google or Yelp without even talking to you. Of course, the key here is to refrain from becoming reactive and rather focus on educating your clients and understanding their concerns.
3. Level Up Your Social Media Game With Valuable Content
We definitely understand the concern of professional groomers not having the time or the ideas of what to post online, on social media, or what types of email newsletters to send out. However, if you can put forth the effort, providing valuable, educational content to your clients on your social media channels and through your email newsletters will ensure that you get the best clients who understand their part in their Doodles’ upkeep.
Some helpful ideas to include in your social media plan include how to groom a Doodle (or other breeds) at home in between grooming sessions, how and how often your clients should brush their dogs, what is matted hair and how they can prevent it, and so forth.
You can also share before and after photos or videos of how your groomed dogs have looked before and after their sessions. Highlight the state in which the fur was before the grooming session and what had and could be done on this type of fur.
Nonetheless, creating videos for your social media pages can be very time consuming, especially if you’ve got dogs coming in and out of your salon throughout the whole day. So, what you can do instead is to offer your clients a helpful resource that outlines everything they should know about Doodle coat care. Our book Coat Care Secrets For Poodle Mixes will save you hours of time and energy that you’d otherwise spend on creating and posting content. Oftentimes, clients don’t even know half that goes into at-home grooming and maintenance, so this book is an excellent way to ensure that they’re well-educated.
4. Create An Attractive Grooming Package And Be Prompt With Follow-Ups
Understandably, not every Doodle owner has the time to constantly brush their dogs and bathe them at home. For these clients, you can offer attractive “mini-packages” that could include a brushing, bathing, and blow drying session in between full-blown grooming sessions with haircuts.
These mini-packages should, of course, come at a lower cost, as they don’t include many activities you’d usually spend time on. They’re also a win-win for everyone – your clients won’t have to pick up a completely shaved off Doodle after every session and you won’t have to deal with tough cases each time they bring their dogs in.
Having different grooming packages in general is an excellent way to attract more customers, as you’ll be able to tailor the sessions to their unique needs. In fact, you can also provide some premium initial packages that include our book Coat Care Secrets For Poodle Mixes and take some extra time to explain the contents to them. By the way, we offer a 40% discount when you buy wholesale of 5 copies or more!
Moreover, as one of the goals is to remind your clients to take their Doods in for regular grooming sessions, make this process as easy and smooth as possible for them with follow-up emails and texts. Both of which can be easily automated within your appointment system! Another helpful trick is to have your clients book their Doodles’ next appointment at the end of the current grooming session. And don’t forget to remind them that the slots are filling up quickly, so the sooner they get onto it, the better for everyone involved.
5. Focus On The Positive
And finally, as difficult as it may seem sometimes, try to focus on the positive and don’t take things personally. It’s only natural for Doodle owners to be in complete shock and disappointed to see their Doods being shaved down.
Instead, focus on being proactive and communicating everything to your clients beforehand. Make sure they actually understand the importance of at home grooming and the consequences if they don’t take care of their Doodles’ coats in between salon visits. People have bad days, they get emotional (we do too!) and there’s nothing you can do about it. Once the initial shock wears off, they’ll likely feel just as bad for being snappy with you.
Proper Communication And Education Is The Key To Building Healthy Relationships With Doodle Owners
To sum it all up, here’s a helpful outline from A to Z that’ll help you succeed in your Doodle grooming business and increase your client satisfaction. More often than not, dissatisfied and disappointed clients simply haven’t been educated enough on Doodle coat care nor have had this properly communicated with them. With these tips, you can minimize those negative experiences and ensure that you continuously get good business from your clients.
|Set The Expectations||Client Onboarding||Educate Your Clients||Create Grooming Packages & Follow Up||Focus On The Positive|
|Always set the right expectations before the grooming session. This ensures that your client will leave the salon with their Doodle on a positive note. Never overpromise and underdeliver.||Gain a better understanding of your clients and how much they know about Doodle grooming needs. Also, offer educational content when onboarding new clients.||Educate your clients about Doodle grooming requirements and why these dogs are considered high-maintenance. Utilize this type of valuable content on your social media pages, website, and email newsletters.||Create different grooming packages for different needs. You should also follow up with your clients to ensure they come back in time for the next appointment.||Don’t become reactive and don’t take things personally. Focus on the rewarding parts of your job and don’t give up on educating your clients.|
The Best Way To Educate Doodle Owners And Increase Footfall
As a professional groomer, you already know in detail how much work goes into grooming a Doodle and maintaining their coat in between grooming sessions. However, you’re a professional, whereas your clients may not know much about this topic.
For this very reason, we created our new book called Coat Care Secrets For Poodle Mixes which outlines all the pain points and crucial aspects of grooming a Doodle. This is not just an excellent resource for groomers, but also for anyone who owns a Doodle pup, regardless of their crossbreed.
Our book outlines the importance of regular brushing and recommends some of the best Doodle grooming brushes and products available on the market. Your clients will also learn how to brush out knots and tangles, while also preventing matted hair and the consequent shaving of the fur. Not to mention, many other topics that a professional groomer would like to educate their clients on, but simply won’t have time to hash everything out with their clients before their next appointment.
We also offer a wholesale option that you can resell at your salon or include in your client onboarding package. So, if you’d like to optimize your client onboarding process, enhance communication with Doodle owners, and overall provide your clients the best possible experience they could hope for, then this book is certainly the way to go!
Frequently Asked Questions
For grooming a Doodle, you’ll need a good quality slicker or pin brush (depending on their coat type), a sturdy metal comb, dog clippers, dog-safe grooming scissors, thinning shears, dog detangler spray, dog shampoo and conditioner, nail clippers or a nail grinder, ear cleaning products, and a dog grooming table.
Doodles need to be groomed about every 4 to 8 weeks, depending on their heritage. For smaller Doodles, the usual recommendation is every 4 to 8 weeks, whereas larger Doodles can often be groomed every 6 to 8 weeks. In addition to that, daily brushing sessions and weekly nail trimmings are other activities to take into account – this usually falls into the owner’s responsibility.
Although high-maintenance in terms of grooming, one of the easiest ways to maintain Doodle hair is to brush them daily. This is the most effective way to prevent matted dog hair, minimize shedding, and extend the time between bathing.
Oftentimes, frizzy hair in Doodles is caused by washing them too often or using unsuitable shampoos. All dogs produce natural skin oils that act as a conditioner for their fur, so stripping the fur and skin too often can lead to skin and coat dryness. Also, make sure you use a specially formulated dog shampoo and conditioner, since a nourishing and conditioning combination of a shampoo and conditioner should minimize the frizziness and dullness
The best and easiest way to keep a Doodle fluffy with that signature Doodle look is to brush them regularly. Ideally, Doodles should be brushed daily to prevent mats from forming in the first place. This will also volumize the fur and distribute the natural skin oils, giving the hair that luscious and healthy shine.
In conclusion, providing an exceptional experience for Doodle owners can sometimes be a bit of a struggle, especially if your clients don’t have much knowledge about proper Doodle coat care. Fortunately, you can make this process easier with helpful resources, such as our book Coat Care Secrets For Poodle Mixes. Your clients can learn valuable tips on maintaining their pup’s coat health and you’ll be able to set the right expectations for each grooming session. We hope this guide can help you enhance your grooming business and make a positive impact on the Doodle community by ensuring your clients are well-informed.