It’s the end of the year, and you’re looking at your total revenue over the past 12 months. You realize that in order to reach your goals for next year, you’re going to have to increase revenue per client. In a brief moment of dread, you whisper (or maybe scream internally) to yourself, “I have to raise these lovely clients’ rates. How am I going to explain this to them? Everyone’s going to hate me for this — my client tally’s going to go down to zero within a week!” Never fear, dear readers. I’m here to show you how to raise rates on your clients without risking them dropping like flies. The answer lies in what we call the customer satisfaction, or CSAT, survey.
CSAT surveys are extremely valuable tools to give clients space to suggest improvements to your service, while also reminding them why they chose you in the first place. Basically, it’s your chance to remind them why your work is special and worth their time and money. There are many platforms for such surveys, including SurveyMonkey, Microsoft Office, and Typeform (a personal favorite of mine). Whichever platform you choose, sending out a CSAT survey before raising your rates will help keep your clients engaged, and will lower the chances of them bailing on you the moment their bill comes in higher than last year’s.
When clients get a chance to provide concrete feedback, they feel heard and appreciated, and know that they matter to you. Plenty of businesses will never communicate with their clients except to say, “Please give me more of your hard-earned money.” A brief survey adds that extra personal touch that reminds a client that you’re different; that you care about their success just as much as your own. One thing’s for certain: people will spend money on services that help them succeed, and they’ll spend even more money to feel important!
Remind clients why they chose you.
Step one completed! You’ve decided to send out a survey at the end of the year. Now comes part two: figuring out what questions to ask. Remember that a major purpose of this survey is to remind your clients why they chose You in the first place. This is a chance for them to take a trip back down memory lane (perhaps to a less pleasant time before you came along and added some sugar and spice to their culinary world).
You can structure this part of the survey as a before-and-after style pair of questions. For example: “On a scale of 1-5, how would you have rate your level of stress surrounding meal prep before finding [your service]?”
The next question should be phrased similarly, but in the present tense: “On a scale of 1-5, how would you currently rate your level of stress surrounding meal prep since subscribing to [your service]?”
You can even take it one step further and ask your clients how their professional and personal lives have improved since finding you. For example, you could ask them if they’ve made more money, or if they’ve had a better work-life balance. I’ve had many clients say their family’s income has risen since finding me because both parents get to work two extra hours per day!
All of these questions serve to leave a good taste in the clients’ mouths (after all, we are chefs — that’s what we’re paid to do!) that won’t be soured when the time comes to raise their rates. Who wouldn’t be willing to pay a little bit more for something that’s made them that excited for dinnertime?
Ask for specific feedback, both negative and positive.
According to a 2015 article by Forbes, the average American will tell 16 other people about a bad experience with a brand, but will only tell nine people about a good experience. This isn’t too surprising — after all, how many of us have written the same number of positive Yelp reviews as negative ones? Since clients have a propensity for speaking up about negative experiences, it’s important to address any concerns before they turn into a cancellation. Make sure to utilize open-ended questions, particularly at the end of a survey, so that clients have a chance to provide feedback specific to their own experiences. They will be appreciative of the chance to have their concerns heard, especially if those concerns are subsequently addressed. This is another advantage of CSAT surveys — they offer a platform for your clients to bring issues to your attention before they become dealbreakers. Even if it hurts your ego to get negative feedback, remember that your wallet and your future self will thank you for taking it all in and working to improve your offerings.
Incentivize clients to complete surveys.
Not many people want to spend 5-10 minutes on a survey so keep it to 60 seconds. I know I’ve deleted plenty of feedback requests in my inbox without a second thought. However, your client’s feedback not only benefits you, but also benefits them. If they bring an issue to your attention, you can take action to make their experience better. To help encourage clients to participate in your survey, here are a couple tips:
- Start the survey with brief, multiple-choice or numerical questions, to make them feel like they’ve progressed rapidly through the survey. Save the open-ended questions for the end of the survey, when the client can see that they’re almost done.
- If possible, you can offer a small gift or bonus like a $10 coffee card to clients who complete the survey. Don’t go crazy with this; make sure you’re not offering more than makes sense!
- Finally, make sure to keep the survey short — my CSAT survey is only five questions!
The easier it is for a client to complete your survey, the more feedback you’ll have to work with and the less stressful it will be to raise rates.
To sum it up:
Customer satisfaction is key to client retention. Your clients have to want your service just as much as you want to provide it to them. So don’t be afraid to make sure they’re happy! Happy clients lead to happy chefs, and happy chefs make better tasting food. This world may need different things at different times, but it can always use more delicious food. If you’re still wondering how to get your satisfaction survey to truly shine like your fine crystal, or if you’re interested in learning more about my offerings, book a free 25-minute Discovery Call with me at https://cheftiffanythomas.com/contact/. Let’s work together to turn your cheffing business into everything you’ve envisioned it to be!