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April 2009

Client Questionnaires- A Building Block for Your Business Plan

I don't know if any other business owners- especially home based salons- do this, but I send out a client questionnaire once a year, and I can't wait to get the answers back in the mail!  I do it in Spring when business picks back up and the holidays are past, but the weather is still cruddy, so people are thinking about getting their pets in and even the summer OAYs are back to being totally overgrown and muddy, and due for a groom.
I believe firmly that a well thought out questionnaire of short length is a HUGE opportunity to gather much knowledge about your current clients as well as those who may have fallen through the cracks or gone on to another groomer for some reason.  A questionnaire can do MANY things for your business!  One way is for you to gain honest feedback to help form your business plan for the upcoming year.  Another asset is the honest effort you are showing at trying to give your clients a voice in their quality of service and showing genuine interest in caring for and about them.  Also, it gives those who are unhappy, whether they are repeat clients or not, a platform of anonymity to get out their displeasure and for you to digest it with ample time to get over feelings being possibly hurt!  Either way, the factor of being able to give their opinion will get your clients to be open and honest with you and this can only benefit your business by helping you to realize what you are doing well, and what needs improvement. 
I always put in positive and leading questions and keep them short and open ended.  And since I have a smaller clientele, I can afford to make the questionnaire on one side and the salon address is printed on the other side with a stamp provided so all they have to do is seal it up and pop it is the mail- no excuses like postage or finding an envelope for those clients who really dislike taking their time for such things.  All of the questionnaires are anonymous, but they can put their name at the end if they like, and many clients just bring them in with them at their next appointment. 
Here is a copy of the template that I sent out this year to my clients, feel free to use it to help write your own, or you can copy it direct as well.
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In this current state of economy, many business owners are finding it harder and harder to stay afloat and continue to keep the businesses that they love and prosper from, both financially and emotionally.  I personally take great pride in my work and truly love what I do, but, I am also human and therefor make mistakes.
So, with this questionnaire, I am sending to all of my clients, in efforts to give you each an opportunity to give me some input on what you are happy with and especially on the things that you feel need improving. If you'd like to discuss any of your input or concerns, you are welcome to leave your name and contact number on this questionnaire, or you can certainly call me directly at my salon at: 555-555-5555. 
Again, please take just a moment to give your input and contribute to the quality and longevity of my business.  I do need to know that all of my clients are happy, and those that feel I need to make changes have an opportunity to share their thoughts in efforts help myself and my business grow. 
Thank you so much for your time, and please accept this tear off coupon for 10% off of your next groom in return for your time and thoughtfulness. 
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1. Are you the owner of a large or small breed dog or dogs?
_____________________________________
2. Do you own more than one pet that comes to my salon for grooming?  Of so, how many groomable pets do you own?
______________________________________
3. What is the acceptable amount of time for your pet between grooming appointments?
______________________________________(4,6,8,10,12 weeks, etc.)
4. What negative issues, if any, have you even encountered when coming to my salon?
(hours available, days available, location, salon layout or equipment used)
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
5. What do you like about coming to my salon for your pet's grooming needs?
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
6. What other services would you like to see offered by my salon?
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
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7. On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being very unhappy and 10 being extremely happy; how would you rate your overall experience with my salon?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8. Would you like to receive a quarterly grooming newsletter including updates, service notices and offers?  If so, please list your address here:
___________________________
___________________________
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Please feel free to make any additional comments or to add any concerns that you feel need to be addressed here in order to help me help you.  Thank you again for your valuable time and help!
_______________________________________
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BRING IN THIS COUPON TO RECEIVE AN ADDITIONAL 10% OFF OF THE FEES FOR YOUR NEXT FULL SERVICE GROOM OR SPA DAY STAY!!

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