Checking in with your clients: gaining feedback
It is important to have knowledge of how you are progressing in your practice and one of the best ways to gain information on this is via your clients. It is vital that we understand the needs and expectations of our clients and it can be easily obtained via a survey. Clients are such a valuable source of information and can help you improve the quality of your practice by learning more about the strengths and weaknesses you have. Here are some suggestions for how you can gain information from your clients on how you are progressing.
Conduct personal interviews. These can be over the phone or in person. It is important to allow the client to share their story and provide information. Very structured interviews can make clients feel put on the spot so try not to have too many. Informal information may reveal wonderful information that is very valuable. Have some specific questions and allow the client to answer them as they feel “If we had a massage therapist on site, would you make use of their services?”, “Do you think the time you waited for your appointment was excessive?”
Create a focus group. Selecting the right clients to participate in a focus group is really important. They should be a cross-section of people – not just those who love your practice, but also someone who has voiced dissatisfaction at some stage as well. Call and invite people personally to be part of the group and limit the session to 1.5 hours.
Start a suggestion box. Having a box somewhere easily seen and clearly labelled is a good way for people to make suggestions. Provide cards for them to write their suggestions on. Using this method means people can remain anonymous if they would like. Make clearing out the suggestion box part of your daily routine and review the suggestions. If people sign their name, make sure you thank them for their input via a letter or phone call. Letting people know you have followed up on their suggestion is also important.
Engage a ‘mystery shopper’. This requires moving out of the comfort zone a little. Make sure you have a list of the things that you want to be evaluated by the shopper and a list of things you want them to do or say when they visit. For example, you may get them to ask your staff about a particular aspect of your practice to learn how your staff articulates their answer. Try to ensure the mystery shopper also reflects your clientele. If you mainly see clients who are elderly, it is better to get someone to assess your practice from that perspective.
Use client surveys. These are written and can be sent to clients via email (using a program such a Survey Monkey) or sent via the post. Clients can remain anonymous this way and can complete the survey when they have time. If sending in the post, including a self-stamped return envelope can boost return rates. Remember to ask specific questions. General ones can make it confusing. For example, “rate your satisfaction with your visit to our practice” might sound like a good idea but when analysing the results you will not know which parts specifically they like and didn’t like.
If you haven’t ever asked your clients for feedback or have not for a while, make sure this one is on your to-do list.