Customer Service

When Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Doing Client Surveys

When you want to know what’s hot and what’s not with your clients, ask them!

“You can double your survey into a promotion by offering clients a $5 gift certificate off a $25 retail purchase, or a discount on a service if they include their name, address, and phone number on the survey,” Oskin says. “Maybe the headline says, ‘Share Your Feedback and Receive a Special Gift’, and the body copy thanks the client for visiting and explains you’re surveying your clients to make sure you’re offering the best products and services at all times.” For useable results, Oskin says you should receive a response rate of at least 10% or 100 surveys, whichever is greater.

Use What You Get

Too often, salon owners who survey customers drop the ball after receiving the surveys by just glancing through the responses. If you format your questions correctly, tallying up the responses should be a quick exercise that yields some immediate useful information. With open-ended questions, on the other hand, the results may be harder to tally, but the individual comments may be quite valuable when it comes to client perceptions or suggestions.

Also, share the results with your staff, especially when it’s positive. “When clients compliment a technician, I make sure she is aware someone said something nice because when you give people positive input in puts a simple on their face,” Shapiro notes.

Gower agrees and takes it one step further. “The general manager at each location is responsible for viewing the completed surveys on a daily basis,” she explains. “All surveys are then posted in the employee lounge for all to see. This allows each team member to be recognized by her colleagues. It also applies just enough peer pressure to encourage each team member to provide the absolute best service they possibly can.”

While the results of a survey can tell you it’s time to extend your hours or your service menu, for example, don’t overact to customer comments. For example if 10 respondents of 100 ask a new service like tanning, that’s just 10%. While that may be enough to do a second survey focused solely on tanning, it is probably not enough on which to base investing several thousand dollars in space and equipment for the service.

“When we did our survey we got a huge call for hair, massage, and facial services,” Yaksich remembers. In the expansion they incorporated hair and massage services, both of which took off, but when Yaksich and DeCort later examined the numbers, they discovered only two of their regular clients had booked massages. All of the rest of the appointments came from guests of the hotel where they had moved their business. “Next time I would get more specific with the questions because we would have fallen on our face with that service if we weren’t in a hotel.”

Which raises yet another point about client surveys: You can’t believe everything clients tell you. Just as you do in everyday conversation with your clients, you must listen, evaluate, and respond appropriately, which sometimes means doing no more than simple listening. 


Through a Client’s Eyes

By Rachel Gower

While client surveys can be quite valuable, you can’t always assume you get clients’ honest, uncensored feedback. For this reason, The Upper Hand has recently launched a mystery shopper program.

Each category of services (manicure, pedicure, massage, facial) has a Mystery Shopper form with questions appropriate to the category. The questions also include appointment-making services, check-in/out services retail knowledge and recommendations, and overall salon atmosphere.

Each month a different customer from each salon is selected at random to participate in the program. Customers love this opportunity because not only do they become involved in the salon’s improvement, but they are reimbursed for services rendered.

The selected customers simply make an appointment for the previously decided upon service at a time of their choosing. This makes the test as real as possible. The customer’s only “homework” after the service is to complete the form and return it to the project managers.

The completed forms are analyzed by the entire management team. The program is not intended to be a “watchdog” disciplinary effort. Rather, it is designed to give management important feedback and alert them to areas that need improvement.


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