Sight is probably the most developed sense in humans. Next is hearing, followed by smell. When you’re client walks through the door of your business, what do they see, hear and smell?
What type of image you present to your customers? Do you project a professional image? Do you project an air of authority as the expert? Your clients and perspective clients gain confidence in your ability by the clues should give them through sight, sound and smell. Will you handle their dog with compassion? Will the pet be safe in your care? Will you be able to provide a quality haircut that they love? People will automatically question your ability to perform at a professional level if what they see, hear and smell are not up to their standards.
A busy pet care facility can be extremely hectic. Sometimes we get so lost in our daily tasks, we lose track of what our clients see, hear and smell as they walk through our doors. If you’re immersed in the chaos, your senses can become dulled. It’s time to pull back and take a good look at what makes a first impression to your customers.
In Judy Hudson’s Learn2GroomDogs.com video called “What I Know for Sure,” she shares a great story told by a very wise grandmother. She said. “It doesn’t cost a lot of money to be clean. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to be neat and tidy. It does take a little elbow grease.”
Take a good hard look at yourself. Take a good hard look at your support staff. Take a good hard look at your salon. What could be done to present a more professional image to your customers? If customers can’t trust you — they’re won’t be coming back to you.
Start with yourself first. Are you freshly showered? Is your deodorant working well? Is your hair neat and tidy? Is it clean? Is it styled? If it’s long, is it neatly tied back? What about your clothing? Are you neatly groomed yourself in hair repellent clothing? Is it wrinkle free? What about that sandwich at lunch? Is it still stuck between your teeth? If you’re not neatly groomed, what kind of message does that send to your customer? Ask same types of questions of your staff. What kind of image do they present?
What condition is your lobby in? Is it old and tired or bright and fresh? If you have retail, do you keep the stock freshly turned? How organized is your registration area? What about the front entrance of the shop? Is there fur and dust bunnies collecting not only on the floor – but on the pictures on the wall too? It’s amazing what fresh coat of paint can do combined with regular dusting and mopping. If you are mobile, when was the last time you washed the outside of your van?
What do your clients hear when they walk through the door or if the phone is set down without putting them officially on hold? Are you fighting to communicate with the customer over the sound of a vacuum or high velocity dryer? Or are yapping dogs making it so distracting you can barely converse with your client? Worse yet — is somebody in the back room screaming at a dog? Some of these sounds can be controlled — some are just the nature of the business. However, you do have options to minimize the offensive noises through organization and salon policies.
When your customers walk through the door, what do they smell? Wet dog? Urine? Feces? Cigarette smoke? Anything offensive? Bottom line, if a salon doesn’t smell pleasant — it’s dirty. Working with animals is great. But what a lot of people don’t realize when they get into the business, you need to spend a great deal of time cleaning up after our furry friends. I don’t care what kind of animal is — animals create a mess! Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannually, and annual cleaning duties all need to be addressed on a regular basis. Not only do you need to deal with all of those, but you’ll also need ongoing cleanup as your day progresses.
That’s just the nature of the beast. A little bit of awareness and a lot of elbow grease will keep your salon looking — and smelling – professional.
You can gain a great deal of trust by paying attention to first impressions. These first impressions are going to be highly influenced by; sight, sound and smell. Clients and prospective customers look clues about a service. If they don’t sense you have what it takes to provide a quality service and build their trust, they look to other grooming services that do have them. So provide clues that will keep customers returning.