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!

While having her three LaBelle Day Spas named the best source for both nail and skin care services by readers of the Palo Alto Weekly for the fifth straight year is a point of pride for owner Bella Schneider, she’s not about to rest on her laurels. This spa owner and skin care manufacturer works hard to stay one step ahead of her clients’ wants and needs.

“My goal is always to be on the cutting edge,” she explains. Schneider relies heavily on client feedback obtained from the customer-satisfaction surveys that all clients receive with each appointment, as well as the annual planning survey she conducts in-salon.

“My surveys have very specific goals,” Schneider explains. “They’re not simply geared to finding out how well we’re doing because we already have the answer to that – we’re booked three months in advance for weekends. My surveys are developed to promote certain services and get feedback on them from clients, or to find out if clients have spotted new services elsewhere that they want me to add.”

While most salon owners and nail technicians probably have a pretty good grasp of their clients’ overall satisfaction level with their salon, a periodic client survey is still a great way of gauging how well your business is responding to your clientele’s wants and needs.

Left or Right?

Client surveys are an invaluable tool for salon owners to keep their finger on the clients’ pulse, so to speak, says George Franke, an associate professor of management and management and marketing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

“When you come to an intersection, do you want to turn left or right?” Franke asks, adding that marketing research reduces the uncertainty of decision-making by providing a marketing roadmap of sorts.

“The ability to have your clients rate you becomes a necessary stands of accountability and measurability if you strive for consistent improvements for your salon business,” adds Larry Oskin, president of Marketing Solutions (Fairfax, Va.), a marketing, advertising, PR, and consulting agency. “To improve the quality of your customer service, you must also measure the gap between your clients’ true needs and wants versus what you and your staff perceive.”

Schneider, for example, has added a slew of new nail services such as a smooth and Soothe Pedicure, Polynesian Pedicure, and Fruit and Cream Manicure based on client survey results. And Rachel Gower, co-owner of the two Houston-based The Upper Hand salons, says she and her partner have made both minor and major adjustments to their salons based on client feedback from surveys. “When the company was in the developmental states, one of the most critical factors to each element of the salon was that all decisions must be based on what the customer would perceived and desire,” she explains. Initially they obtained client feedback through focus groups, but after the salons opened they began surveying clients.

“We learned even the brands of polish we needed. And we learned that we needed to redesign certain features of our second location, such as the seating and reception areas, and to expand our offerings to include facial services, waxing, and massage.”

“The most important answers we get are to open-ended requests for clients’ suggestions,” says Bob Zupko, owner of the Robert Andrew DaySpa Saon in Gambrills, Md. “Surveys help us ensure we have implemented each new positive customer service enhancement. We also use the survey to update our computer databases, mailing lists, and telephone lists.” 

A Simple Yes or No May Do

The first task in creating a customer survey is to identify your own business goals and objectives, and then plan a customer survey that measures how well you’re reaching those goals. “You can open yourself up for a lot if you just put yourself out there for clients to shoot at, but if you start with a targeted idea, you can learn a lot more,” Schneider notes.

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