One of the best types of information we can have as business owners is, “What do our clients really think of us?”. This is the information that they share with others they meet, as well as provides the backbone for reduced churn rates & higher student retention … which leads to higher profits.
Being a fly on the wall
Wouldn’t it be great if we could intuitively know what our clients think about us or say about us to others? We could automatically make the changes in our studios & policies that would have the greatest impact. We would no longer have to guess if our new offerings are what they really want.
Unfortunately for me, I failed the precognition & clairvoyance courses which mean I have had to find out what my clients are thinking a different way. Asking them.
What do you need to know?
When I design my surveys, I like to keep a few things in mind.
Too long & people won’t fill it out. Too short & there isn’t enough information. My best success with my clients is ensuring they are able to complete it preferably under 5 minutes, no more than 10 minutes.
Barrier to completion:
Take away excuses for not completing the survey. Paper surveys are common, but unless the parent is filling it out during lesson time it may not get done.
My best method of getting parents to complete the survey? Create a Google Form & send them the link. Then, I remind them that they can use their phone to complete the survey anywhere while they are waiting for something else (i.e. child is at hockey practice or in piano lesson, after school before the kids have gotten out or are playing on the playground, dinner is in the oven, etc.) Taking away excuses & reminding them of those lag times means it is much more likely to get done.
Ease of answering:
I’m a fan of multiple choice with a few short answer questions. Before you have horrible flashbacks of tests at school, think about how you feel at the end of the day. I know that I really don’t want to have to put in a lot of effort figuring out how to word things by the end of my day or when my time is short.
Test out both multiple choice questions & a few long answer questions. While I began with multiple choice questions, I eventually moved to 2 or 3 long answer questions. In both cases I got great information & feedback. But with long answers I also was able to use them as testimonials on my studio site. (Give clients the option to opt in or out on the survey form if this is your goal.)
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
We all want to hear good things about our studios & it is important to know what we should keep doing. But if we never ask for the bad & ugly parts of our studios, we lose an important growth opportunity.
Wouldn’t it be great to make changes BEFORE clients leave the studio? Many times the changes my clients would like to see have been ones that are easy for me to implement or make a lot of sense.
Use the information your clients give you in surveys to set up positive changes for the next semester or year. Not only does this make it easier for you to know what changes to make; it also ensures you are not wasting valuable time & money on something your clientele just isn’t interested in.
By letting clients know BEFORE registration what changes are coming up, you reward them for sharing, let them know you actually listen to their feedback, as well as create the policies & programming your clients really want.
The caveat here is that we shouldn’t blindly implement policies & programming. This needs to be part of your overall studio branding & growth plan. However, having client input ensures that you are heading in the right direction.
A survey tailored to your studio
I recommend Google Forms for the professional look, ease of use (for both yourself & your clients), removing barriers of completion, & the great analysis (circle graph or spreadsheet). However, use whatever tool you are most comfortable with.
If you are wanting to create a short survey for your clients to see what they are really thinking, make is short & sweet. What are the least number of questions you can ask … & still get the information you need? Remember, it’s not just you that has limited time. Your clients are in the same boat.
Could you give a sample of some of the questions that you use for the survey? I need testimonial sources for my website and social media and I also need to hear feedback as I customize my upcoming term. Any tips?
Shelley, this is an area I’ve experimented with. I used to have detailed questions with a sliding scale. This did give great info, but these days I like to keep it simpler. Having a goal in mind will help you simplify the questions that work best for you.
If you are looking for testimonials, ask questions that will give you that info: what they liked, why they signed up, etc. If you need feedback, asking for one thing will keep it from getting overwhelming. For the second option, I’m honest in that I keep that feedback in mind to tailor my planning for the upcoming year.