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Why You Have To Survey Your Clients Annually And How To Pull It Off

Have you ever thought to yourself "I wonder why that client I loved so much left" or "Why the heck don't my clients ever buy retail".  I know I have!  I consider myself to be very intuitive when I'm face to face with a person, but unfortunately I'm not a mind reader so intuition only gets me so far.  Most of us haven't developed our psychic abilities enough to read our clients minds, but don't worry, you can still find out exactly what they are thinking.  All you have to do is ask!

I sat behind my desk for years stressing about how to better serve our clients and wondering if there was anything I could do differently to improve the guest experience.  Would our retention improve if I started serving wine and beer?  Did our clients feel like we were due for a remodel?  And that's when I took the leap of faith and created a couple of client surveys.  I clicked send on a Friday afternoon and then bit my nails for 48 hours until I logged back into my account on Monday morning and saw 132 happy little responses staring right back at me.  I combed through each survey analyzing the results over the next week and these results alone created an entire business strategy for the upcoming year.  

Surveys are so easy to put together and could be the most effective exercise you do for your business all year.  Want to know where to start...

  1. Create your email marketing system-I truly believe that the only way to survey your clients effectively is by email.  If you hand the client a piece of paper to fill out it feels out dated, unprofessional and high pressure.  Just don't do it.  If you don't already have an email marketing system in place, today is the day to start.  If you need help setting up your system, you'll want to consider joining the Thrivers Society.
  2. Determine your questions-What exactly are you trying to learn from the survey?  How to improve customer service?  Want feedback on the retail you sell?  Think of 5-10 questions with no more than 3 of those being open ended.  You want the survey to be short and sweet.  If it takes your client more than 3 minutes to complete, they won't do it.  Don't ask questions like "how much would you be willing to pay for my services" or "how often do you like to come in for your appointments".  Questions directly related to your business are things that you should know the answers to.  You want to keep the questions to your clients experience focussed.  Some of my favorite questions are listed below.
  3. Determine your format-Since you are only allowed 3 open ended questions at most, you'll need to format the rest as multiple choice.  You can have multiple choice and allow your clients to select multiple answers to a question or only give the option of one answer per question.  Feel free to customize as much as you want, just be sure that the system is clear and easy for your clients to understand.
  4. Build your survey-My favorite tool for surveying clients is Survey Monkey.  This is an internet based survey system that allows you to customize all aspects of your survey including questions, colors, logos and delivery methods.  It summarizes your results into easy to read charts and also sorts the results by individual responses.  There are other services like Demandforce that offer surveys as a well, however I end up back to survey monkey every single time.  If you aren't tech savvy and this sounds overwhelming, you can simply create a  survey in the body of an email and ask your clients to answer in the body of the email as well.  It will be harder to summarize your results and you won't get the same response rate, but it does work.
  5. Decide who to survey-I usually send out two types of surveys; one to my top 20% of clients based on retail and service sales and another survey to the rest of my clients.  I actually send out a third survey too, but we'll talk about that another time.  I like to break my survey into two segments because my top 20% are dedicated to the salon in a completely different way than the rest of the clients and I like to be able to compare the results between both segments.  You may decide you just want to survey all of your clients at once and that's okay too!  Just don't be afraid to break your clients into segments based on services received, annual spend, length of their patronage or any other factors that you value.  
  6. Invite your clients to take the survey-I usually use my email marketing system and include a link to my latest survey.  I explain to my clients why I'm doing a survey and why they were selected to participate.  I also always put a deadline for completion in the message.  A sense of urgency is super important and also gives you a hard stop on incoming results.  At some point you want to be able to say that you've received all the responses you're going to get and it's time to analyze.  I wouldn't give clients more than 5 days to complete the survey.  If they don't complete it within the first 5 days, they won't ever do it.  
  7. Analyze your results-This is it! Your moment of glory.  Resist the temptation to peek into your system and check on results as the responses are coming in.  You'll get a skewed view of the results since you really need all of the combined opinions before you have the answers you're looking for.  Once the deadline is reached, grab a glass of wine and enjoy all of the amazing, honest feedback you've just received.
  8. Create a plan-Here comes the real work.  Once you've reviewed the feedback, create a task list of all the adjustments you want to make to your business.  Maybe you need to reposition your retail offerings or you can see that your clients are looking for upgraded amenities.  Set a deadline for yourself to take action in the next 90 days or less and make changes happen.  Your clients will love seeing their suggestions come to life and you'll love the increased revenue in your business.

Excited to send a survey, but don't know where to start?  Here are a few of my most successful questions:

  • Are you satisfied with the amenities offered in my salon?
  • Are you satisfied with the magazine selection?
  • Are you aware of our referral rewards program and have you referred any friends to the salon?
  • Please rate your experience working with our reception team.
  • Are you satisfied with the retail offerings at the salon?
  • If you aren't currently purchasing retail at the salon, where are you making your retail purchases?
  • Are you able to recreate the look you receive at the salon at home?
  • Is there anything I can do to improve your experience at the salon?
  • Are you satisfied with the ambiance in the salon including the decor, music and level of cleanliness?

Have more questions about sending surveys? Reach out to me directly at any time XOXO