By Mary Oquendo
I was sitting at a client’s kitchen table after I finished grooming Misty. I was talking to Mrs. about something funny Misty did when Mr. handed me the customer survey I had given him when I first arrived. He told me that the reason they followed me from the shop I worked at was because I had the best customer service they had ever received from a groomer.
Good customer service does not mean you are a doormat or that the client is always right. It means you are the professional. One of the tools in my professional arsenal is a survey.
What Does A Survey Accomplish?
- Improves Service By Offering Actionable Insights: Your clients are taking the guesswork out by telling you exactly what they do not like. It identifies your weaknesses so that you can implement the necessary improvements.
- Measures Customer Satisfaction: You are able to recognize and capitalize on what makes you special, as well as identify your client advocates. Advocates are those wonderful people that you can get testimonials from.
- Increases Customer Retention: You are validating your client’s importance to your business. Your business is telling them that their feelings are valued. Clients who feel important are more likely to stay and tell their friends how awesome you are.
- New Ideas for Products and Services: Be on the forefront of new marketing trends by offering what other facilities are not.
I keep my survey short and to the point. I prefer brief, easy answers as opposed to a number ranking. Number rankings do not give the entire story or offer the insight needed to effect real changes. However, written answers may not be filled out without some sort of hold (return of their pet) or small token (inexpensive gift or coupon).
My survey has five questions:
1. What Do You Like Best About My Service?
By starting out with a positive, it begins on a constructive, rather than a destructive note. Repeated words and phrases can be used for other marketing materials such as websites, ads, and brochures. If it is important to current clients, it will attract future customers. It also identifies those clients that are open to a testimonial. I am the proud owner of a new grooming van along with a substantial new payment. As I needed to add clients again, these answers were invaluable when designing an ad. I chose the five most reiterated phrases.
2. What Do You Like Least About My Service?
This identifies where I can improve, particularly if several people mention the same thing. I have found that most of the time it is very specific to the client. One client didn’t like the shampoo scent. Another wanted the rear feathering removed. Someone else wondered if I offered weekend appointments. All very easily remedied resulting in very happy clients.
3. What Service Would You Like to See Offered?
This will identify upcoming marketing trends. Even if it is only a handful of people who request a new service, word gets around. I have added spa services, such as mud baths and paw treatments, as well as grooming/reiki packages which have increased my bottom line.
4. What Products Would You Like to See Offered?
As I am mobile, there would have to be a sizeable demand. However, if there are only a couple of requests, I may send out an email to gauge a truer answer. On the other hand, a shop may have room to offer products that may not sell quickly.
5. Any Thoughts on How I Can Improve?
This is rather open ended and a much harder question to answer. This is not always filled out, but those that do, offer incredible insight.
As I am a mobile groomer, I hand the survey to the client when I arrive. If the owner will not be home, I email the survey along with their appointment and tell them I will pick it up when I arrive. I have 100% fill out rate. Shop groomers can give it to the client upon pick up. Have them fill it out before you get their pet. On average, I give my clients the survey every other year at the same time I ask them to update their information and re-sign waivers.
As business proprietors themselves, Misty’s owners implemented client surveys shortly afterwards as well. They contacted me after they moved well out of the area. The information they collected on their surveys allowed them to market a new business in an unknown area successfully.
My business is exactly where I want it to be. I attribute that success to being able to pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses and making changes that correspond with the direction I want my business to grow in. ✂