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Marketing your service - Know your existing customers

What information do you have?

What do you know about your existing customers – who are they and why do they use your setting? What do they particularly like about it, and what bothers them? A simple survey can help you to get up-to-date information if you don’t have it. It is a good idea to ask all new customers how they heard about you and keep a record of this.

Finding out more

You could ask your current customers:

How did they first hear about you?
Did they seek the views of others before choosing you? If yes, who?
Why did they choose you?
What do they particularly like/dislike?
How could the service be improved?
Would they refer others to you? Why?

Asking for customers’ views may seem a scary prospect, but customer surveys are a great way of finding out about your strengths and weaknesses. The positive feedback is really good to have, and quotes from parents and children can be used (anonymously) in your marketing activities – prospective customers like to know what other parents think of your service. If the survey reveals issues that are bothering parents, then it is better to know so you can then address these issues before parents move their children elsewhere.

Children are your customers too, so think about some questions that you could ask them.

Designing your survey
Keep your survey fairly short and make sure it’s anonymous so that parents feel they can express themselves freely. Try to keep it fairly simple – people are more likely to fill it in if it only takes a couple of minutes.

Some questions could have a number response, for example:

Please circle a number from 1 to 4 with 1 being poor and 4 being excellent.

How would you rate the overall quality of the childcare we offer?
1  2  3  4

Some could have a simple yes/ no response for example

Would you recommend us to other parents?

Yes  No

Other questions will need to allow space for comments

Plan to repeat the survey perhaps once a year.

What do you do with your findings?

Think about how you're going to address any issues that have been raised. As the survey is anonymous you probably won’t know who has raised issues. Show parents that you have read their responses and tell them what actions you are planning in your next newsletter.

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