word boutique online survey

Gone are the days when if you wanted to know what your customers thought, you had to create a questionnaire, get it printed and hand it out, then wonder if anyone was ever going to bring one back. In 2016, online surveys plus social media and email integration make finding out what your clients really want a lot less hassle.

With a little bit of savvy you can use your existing salon mailing list to find out what’s working for your business, what isn’t, and why.

Why would you want to set up an online survey anyway?

It depends. Are you thinking about introducing new services but don’t know if anyone would use them? Test the waters and ask a few questions.

Looking at changing your product range? Ask clients what they love about the existing ranges, what they are looking for in a beauty product or what salon ranges they’ve heard of/love.

Thinking of ways to improve the service you give? Ask for general feedback – did people enjoy their last visit? What would they like to see? What were they not so keen on?

The possibilities for online surveys are endless, but don’t bombard people; they’ll soon start ignoring you.

Setting up online surveys

I’m just going to go through absolute basics here, as it’s all really easy to follow and set up simple online surveys if you use the right tools. For more detail, there are LOADS of tutorials on the  SurveyMonkey help pages.

How often will you be running an online survey?

If you’re not going to be doing online surveys regularly, and you’re happy with ten questions and a maximum of 100 responses to deal with, the best and by far easiest thing to do is set up a free account with SurveyMonkey. There are pro options available but you’re looking at a minimum of £26 a month – this gets you 1000 responses and lets you make your survey page look pretty.

Once you’ve set up an account, you can start a new survey. There’s a +createsurvey button which should appear on the top right which gives you options for creating a survey from scratch, editing an old one, or using a template they’ve set up.

I’ve never used a pre-designed survey so I’m not sure whether they’d be workable for salon/spa/beauty businesses but the design your own option gives you access to the Question Bank which I suggest having a look at just to get ideas for the sort of questions that might work. Or, you can just make up your own.

Once you’ve chosen your questions, you can ‘apply logic’ to them. This is where the Surveymonkey clever software works out that if you answer ‘no’ to ‘have you ever used Dermalogica home care products’, there’s very little point in asking you which ones you use.

You can tweak the design once you’re happy with the questions. Not very much, if you’ve chosen a free option, but hopefully you can get your survey page looking the way you want it, and then it’s ready to go. BIG hint: always preview it and test it to make sure there’s no bugs or typos. Make sure you’re totally happy with it and then save it.

Getting responses to your survey

Now you have a survey, you need to get people to answer your questions. In SurveyMonkey there’s a thing called a ‘collector’ for this. For the type of survey you’re likely to be doing, the best options are a web link (which you can send out via Mailchimp or your own mailing list programme) and/or social media. A web link is great for posting onto blogs and your website, and the social media option posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

There are other options available too, but the web link is the most flexible and social media sharing is very easy. If you just use those two options which you can do on a basic plan, you should have everyone covered!

Sending the survey to your client list

If you decide to send the survey to your mailing list, the great news is that SurveyMonkey is integrated with MadMimi and Mailchimp. It’s not yet integrated with Ovatu, but if you have a mailing list with Ovatu it’s easy to export your contacts and set up an email campaign as you would normally, including the web link to the survey.

To get a beautifully designed online survey invitation email to go out to all your Mailchimp contacts, they’ve made it very easy. I’m just going to paraphrase here:

  • Create a survey
  • Go to Collect Responses and click ‘Web Link Collector’.
  • Click MailChimp at the bottom of the page and you’ll open a new window.
  • Log in to MailChimp in the new window and set up your campaign details as usual.
  • The SurveyMonkey template is chosen by default, and your link is automatically added
  • Schedule delivery (remember to preview and test it)

Easy peasy!

SurveyMonkey will collect responses from wherever they’ve been sent – online, email or social media, and cleverly analyses the results so that you can see them in a way that makes sense.

But what should you actually put IN your survey? This post is too long already so I’ll get to that in Fabulous Feedback – see you there!