In previous posts, I’ve written about marketing strategies to retain your customers and to provide great customer experience. Having these strategies in place will help you keep your customers happy, and the reasons why this is so important for your business are fairly self-explanatory. When your clients turn into loyal, repeat customers they will spend more money with you. If you’re interested in reading more about the topic, you can also read my post on Customer Lifetime Value, which gives you a clear example of why a satisfied and returning customer is worth gold to your business. But if keeping your customers happy is so important, how can you find out if they are indeed happy? How do you know how they feel about your products and services? In marketing, we use a metric called customer satisfaction. So what is customer satisfaction and how do we assess it?
Why is customer satisfaction important for your business?
Customer satisfaction is a metric that is used to quantify the degree to which your clients are happy with your products and services, or with the customer experience you provide them with. In other words, it’s a reflection of how your clients feel about your business. It’s an insight into their satisfaction levels when it comes to your brand. There are various scales and methods that big corporate businesses employ to work out their overall customer satisfaction score. But if you’re a small, customer-facing business, you’ll probably want to keep things simple.
As a consumer, you’ll be familiar with the concept of a ‘How did we do?’ or customer satisfaction survey. You’ve probably seen it in an email. Or maybe you’ve received a series of text messages from your car insurance provider asking you to rate their service. Perhaps it was at the end of a customer service call, where you were asked by the agent if you could answer a few questions about your experience. This is how companies measure customer satisfaction – literally by asking their customers!
So how can you collect information from your own clients to measure customer satisfaction in your business?
1. Send out a customer satisfaction survey
Do you collect your customers’ email addresses? If you do, why not send your list an email survey after your latest session? (Always make sure you have permission to contact them, as per the new GDPR rules). If you’re an Osteopath, a Massage Therapist or a Physiotherapist, for example, you’ll be seeing your clients regularly and face-to-face. So after your session, simply ask them whether they’d be happy to answer a few questions for you. Make sure you clarify that this helps you improve the level of service you provide to them and it ensures that your offering still meets their needs. Sharing their opinions with you will only take a few minutes, and in turn, it’ll benefit the service they receive, so it’s a win for everyone involved!
What questions should you ask in a customer satisfaction survey?
If you’re not sure what questions to ask or don’t know how to create a questionnaire from scratch, I can help you. Or you can use a free online tool like Survey Monkey, which provides templates and suggestions which allow you to put together a quick survey in minutes. I’ll write more about the kind of questions you should ask, but for now, I’d say:
- Ask targeted questions.
- Ask open questions.
- Remember to keep it short – less is more.
Don’t fall into the trap of asking questions for the sake of it. If you’re a Personal Trainer who only uses the gym equipment that your venue provides, don’t ask your customers if they’re happy with the quality of the weight machines you use. They may not be, but if you’re not in a position to do anything about that, why ask? Equally, if you are considering moving your sessions to another location or are thinking of buying your own equipment to improve levels of customer satisfaction, do ask the question! In this example, if you feel that the quality of the gym equipment you use impacts the level of service you’re currently providing to your customers, you need to know what your clients think. Hear it from the horse’s mouth and make sure you then act on the feedback you receive.
2. Ask your clients for direct feedback
If you run a small local business and have a number of key clients you’re working with regularly and frequently, then sending them a survey may not feel necessary. Maybe you’re a Massage Therapist working part-time hours from your home studio, and at the moment you only serve a small number of regular clients who fill up all your slots. You see them week in and week out – sometimes even twice a week. The fact they’re coming back again and again shows you they’re happy and loyal.
But maybe you’re thinking of extending your hours or moving to a bigger practice. There’s no point in spending time designing an anonymous survey or sending an email out. Just ask some of your clients a few questions at the end of a session. Or if you have a customer who’s happy to engage in conversation during their massage, they may even be happy to share their opinion and ideas during the session. Gaining insight from your clients can be as easy as that.
3. Monitor your social media channels
If you run a bigger business or if you don’t see clients regularly for repeat sessions, you may have a bigger pool of clients – that means more people you can ask for feedback from! For example, you may be an Osteopath specialising in spine-related problems. You get to see your clients for a number of sessions, but when their issue has been resolved, they’re likely to stop coming to you. Because of the nature of your business, clients come and go, and they’ll only use your services for a limited amount of time. Sending them a written survey or questionnaire could be a very good way to get some feedback on how they experienced your services. But another option would be to monitor your social media channels to see what these clients are saying about you and your brand.
Perhaps they left you a review? Sent you a private message to thank you for your help? Maybe they’re sharing that post you wrote with postural advice, on Facebook? Are they recommending you and your services in other local groups? Get into the habit of playing close attention to how your existing or previous customers talk about you and your brand. This might give you valuable information on how your brand is perceived and received. Knowing what you want your business to stand for (your values, your mission, your ethos, etc.) is one thing (and a very important one, at that). But knowing what your customers say about you ‘when you’re not in the room’ will give you precious insight to help you make your business stand out even more.
4. Send out a personal message
Maybe you can’t justify the effort required in sending out a full-on questionnaire. Maybe you want to keep things personal and simple. You may be a Physiotherapist who noticed that a client bought a short series of physio sessions with you a few months ago but never came back to see you. Of course, you no longer see them regularly, but you had built great rapport with them, and you have a feeling that pain in the knee they were trying to get rid of may not be gone. You may be interested in finding out why they decided not come back.
Perhaps they’ve interacted with you on social media before, so why not send them a quick personal Facebook/Instagram/Twitter message to check in? Ask them how they are, and if they engage in a conversation, ask if they wouldn’t mind letting you know how they found the experience of working with you. Maybe they still need your help. Or maybe they’re now seeing another local professional who specialises in knee-related problems. Does that give you any feedback or insight about your services? Is there anything you could do, going forward, to retain these types of clients?
5. Have a suggestions box (or equivalent)
If you have a physical business (for example, you run PT sessions or Zumba classes at your local gym), why not have a Suggestions Box at Reception? Or, if you can, place it in your studio. You could even tie this in with your loyalty programme, if you run one, and encourage your clients to give you feedback by running a prize draw, for example. Tell your customers that anyone who fills in one of your feedback cards will be entered into a prize draw. Collect all your forms, and on the day of the draw pull a name from the hat. One lucky winner will get a free class or session with you.
This can be a great, fun way to solicit feedback. And you can use the information you get back to improve the services you offer, your customer experience, and ultimately, drive your business (and your profits) forwards. What’s there not to like?!
Do you run an online business?
If you run an online or virtual business, you may not be able to have a physical Suggestion Box. But with a bit of creativity, you could still do it! You could send out an email survey to your audience and invite them to reply to you directly. If they do, they get automatically entered into a prize draw. Or you could do this in your Facebook group, if it’s an active and engaged one. It goes without saying that if you do promise to give out a prize, you actually deliver on your promise. Don’t just collect the feedback and run! On the day of the draw announce the winner as publicly as you can, perhaps on a Facebook live. (Of course, always be careful of not disclosing any personal pieces of information that you’re not allowed to share. That would get you in trouble!)
Would you like some help with measuring customer satisfaction in your business?
If you’re new to the concept of creating a customer satisfaction strategy, knowing what steps to follow to get the best results can be confusing. If you want to get some clarity on what marketing strategies you should employ for your business, get in touch. I can help you get a better sense of how to measure key marketing metrics like the customer satisfaction levels in your business, and together we can turn the feedback you receive into a plan of action that will move your business forward.