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Client survey follow up, how a coffee shop got it right, but my gym failed (and what you can learn)

I’ve completed two customer surveys recently, one for my gym, the other for a local coffee shop (not Caffe Nero!). I want to share with you today how they dealt with my feedback because their different approaches can teach us all a lesson.

The gym

Last month, I completed a survey for my local gym.

It’s great value, something I mentioned in the survey and there’s a lot to love about the place. However, equipment is often broken, many of the lockers don’t lock (that’s the minimum you’d expect them to do, right?) and parts of the changing rooms can be dirty.

Since providing the feedback I’ve heard nothing from them, the machines are still broken, the same lockers don’t work and the cleanliness of the changing rooms hasn’t improved.

The coffee shop

Last Saturday afternoon my usual Caffe Nero was full, so I headed to a different coffee shop to get my head into some work for a couple of hours.

I queued for 10 minutes to be served, then waited another 10 for my drink to arrive. During that time, the number of students squatting on tables, working and not buying drinks, meant I struggled to find somewhere to sit.

The next day (presumably because I had to give my email address to sign up for the Wi-Fi) I received a customer survey. I answered their questions, raising the two issues but praising other aspects of my visit. Then within two hours (on a Sunday!) I had:

  • Received a personalised reply
  • Been told what their plans are to solve the issues
  • Been offered a free drink next time I visit.

My gym could learn a lot from the coffee shop

I’m only one member out of hundreds, but because my gym hasn’t followed up, I feel ignored. I’m also far less likely to complete another survey in the future.

Contrast that to the coffee shop:

  • I feel important because they responded quickly
  • I feel heard because they explained what they’re doing to solve the issue
  • I feel they are taking it seriously because the reply they sent was long and detailed.

They also guaranteed I’ll return because they offered a free drink, which allows them to prove they have taken action. That’s very clever!

Follow up after client surveys

If you receive negative feedback after a client survey, you have two options; own it or ignore it. The coffee shop’s response enhanced my perception of their brand, while the opposite is true of my gym.

To avoid falling into the same trap, if clients are critical in a survey, bite the bullet and call them. In multi-adviser/planner firms, go a step further and have a senior member of the team, perhaps even the managing director, make the call.

The combination of:

  • Running the survey (which shows you’re listening)
  • Picking up the phone (which shows you want to address their issue)
  • Taking clear action to address the problem (which shows you mean what you say)

is incredibly powerful and will help turn a potential detractor into an advocate, just as the coffee shop has done with me.

In contrast, if you ignore their criticism, and do nothing to change, resentment will grow to the point where the client disengages or worse, becomes a more vocal (and perhaps public) detractor.

Of course, the same applies to feedback provided in other ways, for example, an online review, call to the office or email.

9 more things you should do after your client survey

As we’ve said before, if you know how to use them, your client survey results are a gift that will:

  • Boost your marketing
  • Improve your business
  • Underpin your referral and recommendation strategy.

But those things will only happen if you know how to use the results, so here are nine more things you should do after your client survey.

PS. 3 ways we can help with your client surveys

If you run the project well, a client survey will help to improve your business, boost your marketing, and increase the number of referrals/recommendations you receive. There are three key parts to the project, and we can help with each:

1. Running the survey itself

Working collaboratively with you, we’ll agree on the questions, build the survey, and send it to your clients.

2. Analysing the results

Once the results are in, we’ll analyse them before presenting them to you, showing you how you compare to other firms. We’ll also help you build a to-do list of follow-up actions.

3. Helping you capitalise on the results

Some of the follow-up actions will be your responsibility – for example, discussing the results with your clients. However, others, such as using the reviews to boost your marketing, you can leave to us.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you with a client survey project please email or call 0115 8965 300.

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