Last Updated: March 25, 2023 • Visit Blog Homepage


Handling difficult customers is a common challenge faced by many businesses, including dog daycares.

Perhaps one of your groomers heard your client say that they wanted a certain type of groom, but then, afterwards, your client said that they actually wanted a different type of groom. It happens all the time. You also might have to deal with bite incidents where one of your dogs in the outdoor play area nips another dog and draws blood and the owner is upset that you didn't have them separated.

You get the idea. There are a thousand different reasons why your clients might get upset. However, with the right approach, you can effectively manage difficult customers and maintain positive relationships with them.

Here are some tips for handling difficult customers in your dog daycare:

Listen to their Concerns and Don't Pass Judgement Too Quickly

The first step in handling difficult customers is to listen to their concerns. Don't just pretend like you're listening. Sit down with your client and have them lay out exactly what it is that they're upset about. One of the best things you can do when you have an angry client is to LISTEN to them. They want their opinion to be heard and the worst thing you can do is brush them off. Allow the customer to express their grievances, and actively listen to what they are saying. This can help you understand the root cause of their frustration and find a solution to the problem.

Stay Calm and Professional at All Times

It’s important to remain calm and professional, even in the face of difficult customers. Avoid getting defensive or argumentative, and try to maintain a positive and empathetic demeanor. As soon as you start getting defensive, your client is going to put up a wall and you're going to have a hard time getting them to change their opinion or listen to your response. Even if you feel like the client is completely out of line, it's best to act professionally and listen to them. Don't let your temper get in the way, because that could lead to negative reviews.

Find a Solution that is Suitable for Both Parties

Once you have listened to the customer’s concerns, try to find a solution to the problem. This could involve offering a refund, providing a discount on future services, or finding an alternative solution that meets their needs. In all reality, your client wants to feel like their complaint was heard, and they want to feel like you respect their business enough that you're willing to make amends in order to keep them around. Sometimes it's okay to "fire a client" but other times, it's best to just swallow your pride, say you're sorry, and do your best to keep them as a customer. Losing a customer can greatly impact your revenue, so it's usually best to refund the $50 instead of losing the $600 they would have spent over the course of the year.

Follow Up with Your Client in a Timely Manner

After you have addressed the customer’s concerns, it’s important to follow up with them to ensure that their issue has been resolved to their satisfaction. This can help build trust and improve customer loyalty. Perhaps a week after the "grooming failure" you can reach out to them to once again say you're sorry for the mixup and ask how their pet is doing. By now, the client should be quite a bit more calm and hopefully you can start rebuilding a rapport with them in order to keep them as a client.

Use Customer Feedback to Improve Your Services

Use customer feedback, both positive and negative, to continuously improve your services. This can help prevent similar issues from arising in the future and improve the overall customer experience. Take the time to figure out why the problem occurred by doing a root cause analysis. If it was a grooming issue, try to figure out where the confusion was. Did the groomer mishear the client or did the client not say what they wanted? Perhaps it would be better to have the client sign a piece of paper with the proposed groom on it, so that if they complain, you can show them the paper they signed agreeing to the groom. If it was a bite incident, figure out why those two pets were together or what caused one of them to bite the other.

By following these tips, you can effectively handle difficult customers in your dog daycare and maintain positive relationships with them. Remember, every customer is valuable, and it’s important to treat each customer with respect and understanding, even in the face of difficult situations. By providing high-quality service and addressing customer concerns in a timely and effective manner, you can build a strong and loyal customer base, and grow your dog daycare business. And remember, it's sometimes better to refund one payment than to lose all future payments. Figure out your lifetime value for clients so you know what your refund limits should be.

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