Are you Getting the Most Out of Your Surveys?
Get your finger on the pulse!
As business leaders, having your finger on the pulse of everything around you is essential. But how often do we let our perception get in the way of seeing how things really are? It’s a common mistake for business owners and leaders to focus too heavily on the bottom line. If the profits are coming in, everything must be fine, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, which is why surveys are such a powerful business tool.
Most people have participated in surveys before, whether it be customer surveys or even as an employee. But from a business perspective, there’s a whole lot more to it than sending out a generic set of questions. Capturing information is one thing, but ensuring it’s the right information is a whole other kettle of fish.
Furthermore, how do you best take action on survey results? Let’s explore how you can get the most out of your surveys.
Be Clear on What You Hope to Achieve
Surveys are a great source of information; however, they only turn into a powerful business tool when their goals are well defined. Planning your surveys carefully is an integral part of the process, because you need to know what you’re looking for.
For example, if conducting a staff survey, do you just want to know if people are happy with their wages, or do you want to delve deeper into all aspects of their employment. For customer surveys, do you have specific feedback you’re looking for? Perhaps you only want to find out how happy your customers are with product quality. Or alternatively, your goal may be to capture information about the entire customer experience.
Whatever your goals, make sure they’re clearly defined and tailor your questions to extract the right information.
Increase Survey Participation
You could have the most well designed and structured survey project in the world, but without participants, you won’t get far. It can be a challenge to get people interested in surveys. Everyone is busy, with competing priorities, and surveys often don’t sit too high on their to-do list. So how do you increase survey participation?
Even for internal staff engagement surveys, it isn’t a widely accepted practice to make them compulsory. But you can come up with participation strategies no matter what your survey type. For employees, they need to understand the reason for the survey, and that real change will come from it. Ensuring anonymity is also important.
For customer surveys, they may need to be further incentivised. Think about how you can do this. It may be by offering a reward – if not for all participants, a chance to go into the draw to win a prize. If you have a customer loyalty program, perhaps offering ‘points’ for survey participation would work well. Think outside the box, and there’s always ways to increase participation.
Thoroughly Analyse the Results
Analysing the results can often be the hardest part of running a survey project. This is where expert guidance from a survey consulting service can really help. The main thing to remember is that a survey isn’t supposed to fix every little problem your business has. It’s about determining trends and major areas of improvement.
If your goals have been clearly defined, and your questions well-written, the process of analysing results is much easier. If you haven’t planned your survey well, this is where results can be open to interpretation, and that’s what a survey consultant will work to minimise.
Once you’ve got a clear snapshot of what participants are telling you, it’s time to develop genuine action plans.
Make Clear Action Plans
The most frustrating thing for survey participants is seeing no change as a result of their answers. This is magnified for employee engagement surveys because they’re living and breathing your company every day. People talk about surveys too, and the grapevine tends to spread its own common themes and concerns. As such, if no actions are put in place, it leads to further staff dissatisfaction.
With key areas of improvement identified, you must carefully develop actions plans to address them. Without this step, you may have wasted your time conducting a survey in the first place. The other important aspect to this is communication, and acting quickly. Don’t let months go past before sharing results with participants, and don’t wait too long to implement your action plans. A dynamic company works quickly to address areas of concern, and starts implementing change for the better.
Consider a Survey Consulting Service
Knowing what to ask is easier said than done. There are plenty of generic surveys out there, but if your goals are well defined, there’s a chance that basic surveys won’t do the trick. Each survey project has clearly defined goals, demographics, and policies for how responses will be interpreted and rated. That’s why it’s so important to get the questions right.
One of the best ways to get the most out of your survey projects is to seek help from a professional survey consultant. A consultant will expertly guide you through the process from start to finish. This includes goal setting, selecting target audiences, designing the survey itself, and perhaps most importantly, help you analyse the results.
Also, in larger organisations with many leaders, there can be differing opinions about what survey results really mean. By working with an external survey consultant, you can minimise this tension by having clearly defined processes for each step of the project.
Surveys get Teams and Leaders Focused
Using surveys can arm you with exactly the information you need to improve your business. From measuring staff engagement to conducting customer satisfaction surveys, the power is in your hands. But it’s crucial that you plan surveys carefully, and design them to obtain the information you really need. Furthermore, analysis of results and action is the only way you will maximise the benefits of surveys. Our survey consulting experts are always on hand to help you plan, design and analyse your next survey, and we’d love to hear from you!