Most of us haven't developed our psychic abilities enough to read our clients' minds, but don't worry, we can still find out exactly what they're thinking. All we 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. If I started serving wine and beer, would we increase our retention? Did our clients feel like we were due for a remodel? Finally, instead of worrying about it, I took a 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 into my account on Monday morning and saw 132 responses.
Over the next week, I combed through each survey to analyze the results. What I learned created my entire business strategy for the upcoming year.
Since that time, I've done many surveys that have shared a treasure trove of information that I probably wouldn't have known without asking. Based on what I've learned, here are some suggestions on how you can create a survey for your clientele or entire salon business!
● Email Marketing List: I truly believe that the only way to survey your clients effectively is by email. If you hand a client a piece of paper to fill out, it feels outdated, unprofessional and has a certain amount of pressure attached to it.
● Create focused questions: What exactly are you trying to learn from your survey? How to improve customer service? Feedback on the retail you sell? Whatever it might be, create 5 to 10 questions, with three or less being open-ended questions. This is important because you want your survey to be short and sweet.
I also recommend that you 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"? Instead, focus on client experience questions like, "Are you satisfied with the amenities offered by our salon?" "Are you satisfied with our retail offerings?" "If you aren't currently purchasing retail at our salon, where do you normally make your purchases?"
● Determine your format: Because you must limit the number of open-ended questions, you'll need to format the rest as multiple-choice questions. Regarding the latter, you can choose to allow your clients to select multiple answers or only one answer per question.
● Build your survey: My favorite tool for surveying clients is Survey Monkey [surveymonkey .com]. This is an inter net-based system that allows you to customize all aspects of your survey , including questions, colors, logos and delivery methods. It also summarizes your results in easy-to-r ead charts and sorts the r esults by individual responses.
● Decide who to survey: I usually send out two types of surveys: one to my top 20% clients—based on r etail and service sales—and another survey to the r est of my clients. I like to br eak my survey into two segments, because my top 20% ar e dedicated to the salon in a completely dif ferent way. This two-fold appr oach also allows me to compar e the r esults between both segments. You may decide that you only want one survey, which is okay too! Just don' t be afraid to br eak your clients into segments, based on services r eceived, annual spends, length of their patr onage or any other factors that you value.
● Invite your clients to take the survey: I usually email our clients and include a link to our latest survey. I explain to them why I'm doing the survey and why they were selected to participate. I also always put a deadline for completion. A sense of urgency is super-important and also gives you a cut-off point on incoming results. I wouldn't give clients more than five days to complete the survey. If they don't remit it by then, they're probably not going to anyway.
● Analyze your results: Resist the temptation to check on results as the responses are coming in. You'll get a skewed view of the results, because 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.
● Create a plan: Here comes the real work. Once you've reviewed the feedback, create a list of all the adjustments you want to make to your business. To show that you're responsive to your clients' suggestions, set a deadline of 90 days or less to make these changes.
Once you get your survey format down pat, make it an annual activity to keep your business up to date and increase your revenues due to greater client satisfaction!
Britt Seva, founder of Flourish Salon and Spa Business Development, focuses on making salon and spa marketing strategies simple and effective.
Specialties include how to quickly build your clientele; ways to increase your income; and the steps needed to improve your salon experience for clients.
Flourish seminars and education are also focused on teaching how to create marketing plans, even for busy stylists and owners with minimal budgets and limited free time.
To learn more about this company's programs, access: flourishsalonspa.com