One adage that I learned early on in my career is that disputes usually arise due either to a lack of communication or to a miscommunication. My own personal experience provides yet another example.

I have two English Springer Spaniels: Buddy and Cookie. Buddy is an aggressive male while Cookie is a sweetheart of a female. We got Buddy as a rescue dog when he was six; he had never really been to a vet or a groomer in his prior life. So, taking him to either presented challenges. He hates them both and is not shy about showing his dislike. We realized that to get his cooperation  we would have to dope him with anti-anxiety pills so that he would be mellow.

Consequently, I hesitated to make a grooming appointment for  Buddy as I do not relish doping  him up. I finally broke down and made the appointment.  I gave Buddy his  anti-anxiety pills to mellow him out. On the appointed day, the mobile groomer did not show and so I called and was simply told there was a double-booking issue. The company had switched to an online appointment system and the calendar was not yet up to date or accurate.

So,  I called again, spoke to a person and a made another appointment. Again, both the evening before and the morning of the appointment, I gave Buddy his anti-anxiety pills. But no groomer showed up at the appointed time. I called and left a message and thereafter left a text to find out why the groomer was a no show, no response to either. Finally, in the afternoon, I called again, and someone answered. It turned out to be the prior owner. I learned she had sold the business two weeks ago at which time the new owners put the appointments online and created a disaster. She also told me- reading the notes on the card for my account- that the usual groomer for Buddy did not want to groom him anymore as Buddy had bitten him last time. I responded that this was all news to me; the groomer had not mentioned it when he left nor did the person taking my call mention it when I made the appointment. (Had the groomer mentioned it at the time, I would have made sure he received adequate medical attention.) No one told me either that I was being fired as a customer or that I had to use another groomer. In the week between my making the appointment and the actual appointment, no one called to tell me of the issue and  thus I was not able to  advise that I was aware of Buddy’s aggressive nature and was intending to give him anti-anxiety pills to calm him down. It was a conversation that needed to occur but due to a lack of communication  by the grooming company, it never occurred. As a result, I no longer have a warm and fuzzy feeling for this grooming company that I have been using for more than 15 years.

The prior owner tried to fix the problem by sending out a groomer that afternoon; but by then the anti -anxiety medicine had worn off on Buddy and he was quite uncooperative. He did not get groomed.

While the prior owner did try to make things right, chances are I will take my business elsewhere from now on; the new owners have flunked customer relations 101, and probably even the remedial version of it as well.  They have lost my   trust… as well as my continuing business.

The moral here is obvious: when an issue arises, do not run from it, do not ignore it, do not avoid it; do not put your head in the sand, hoping it will go away. Do not meet it with silence.  Find the courage to raise the issue and discuss it. Chances are you will be pleasantly surprised at the result. Had the grooming company told me that Buddy was a problem, I would have told it that I was aware of the issue and was taking measures to resolve it by giving him anti- anxiety pills. I would like to think that my response would have been welcoming to the new owner. Instead, the grooming company avoided the real issue and probably lost a customer as a result.  I certainly will not recommend this grooming company to anyone either.

Communication is key: what more  can I say?

…. Just something to think about.


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