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5 Tips on Dealing with Difficult Pet Owners
dealing with difficult pet owners with dog trainer software

At times, human customers can be more difficult than their canine counterparts. All customer service situations are different, but whether you are on the phone or in person, it’s always helpful to have a plan in mind just in case your customers are on their worst behavior.

Hopefully you won’t run into this issue too much with your kennel software to help you out, but just in case, we’ve listed a few tips you should remember when dealing with difficult customers.

1. Understand the problem.

Don’t just simply nod your head and agree with them, or even worse, disregard their frustrations. Listen and then let them know you are listening. Their problem may be an issue with you, your services, or a specific employee. You won’t be able to help your customer if you cannot fully grasp why they are upset. By first relaying that you understand and being able to paraphrase the customer's problem, you are equipping yourself to handle the situation.

2. Be aware of your surroundings.

There may be other customers listening in and your employees will surely be watching. Remember that as the owner, you should set an example for the rest of your staff—and the dogs. The canines in the room are sensitive to tension and you don’t want them to start adding their two cents in by barking and raising frustrations. By giving yourself a wider perspective, you will able to manage a clearer assessment of the situation and be less likely to give into any negative emotions.

3. Maybe it’s not you.

This customer may have been having a streak of bad days for reasons unbeknownst to you and they see you as an easy target to growl at. Maybe you should even feel sorry for this person because they most likely have no outlet for their stress or anger.

A good tip to remember when dealing with these types of customers is to wait a moment before speaking (or risk getting your head bit off). When they have paused between their complaints, try to decipher whether they are waiting for your answer or are trying to collect their thoughts because they are not yet finished. Sometimes the escalating anger is inevitable and unfortunately you will just have to be the bigger dog and take their barks with your head held high.

If you can no longer feel sympathy for your customer, then feel sorry for their dog! That little guy is the one that will have to endure a car ride home with their angry owner. This customer’s bad day does not have to be yours, and feeling sympathy instead of anger will help you to not take anything personally and give you more clarity on how to respond.

4. Know when to offer their money back.

If your customer seems like they just want to blow of some steam rather than find a solution, you should just offer them a refund. This is more ideal than offering a discount for any services because you probably don’t want to have to deal with this customer again. Sometimes stressing out over a difficult customer is not worth the money. You have other customers to tend to and there is no point spending too much time on a customer that you simply cannot win with. 

5. You do this for the dogs.

Difficult customers may get you upset, but lighten your mood by thinking about the perks you provide for the canine customer. Even if their owner did not like something in particular, hopefully their pooch did! Did the canine client make new friends? Did he have a great afternoon nap? One mistake should not detract from the all the other excellent ways this pup has enjoyed your facility.

At the end of the day, this difficult pet parent provided you with feedback that you can use to make your pet business better! Even if their feedback may not have seemed constructive, you can refer to this instance as an example to train your employees on how to deal with future difficult pet parents. Learn from all the negative feedback and over time you’ll be seeing less difficult customers and more happy-go-lucky dogs.

To try to avoid the occasional run-in with a difficult pet parent, read our other Customer Service article: 7 Ways to Improve the Client Experience.

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How do you deal with difficult pet owners?

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