Thursday, October 26, 2006

What makes a good survey?

I hadn't originally intended to blog this, but a recent entry on Gareth Davies mktg blog prompted me to follow up on my comment against his blog entry.

And, as surveys are one of the most common uses of Clicktools for AppExchange I thought it would be a good place to start.

As a company Clicktools is method "agnostic" (We don't enforce an approach) as many organizations/requirements need a different approach. However, there are some common denominators that we (amongst our customer base) see:

  • Focus on Action. The aim of the exercise is not to collect data but to improve
  • Start at the end. Don’t start with building a questionnaire but with the results you want people across the organisation to see. Build surveys that deliver this information.
    Share the data widely. Getting everybody to drive improvements is more effective than a few centrally planned initiatives.
  • Keep surveys tightly focused. Lengthy surveys often results to low response rates and unreliable data.
  • Ask people only about what they experience. Ensure that data are
    collected from people who have first hand experience of the interaction and don't ask for feedback and then try and sell-on any thing.
  • Remember the emotional element. Ask how people feel about your
  • Seek competitive comparisons. Success is not about being perfect but
    about being better than the competition in the things that really count.
  • Gather timely feedback. Forget about the ‘annual do you love us survey’, collect feedback from people while the experience is fresh in their minds.
  • Use simple language. Jargon, three letter acronyms and convoluted sentences are to be avoided at all costs.
  • Ensure the data is representative. Ensure your responses are representative of the targeted customer base.
  • Follow up. Asking for feedback raises expectations of action. Failure to act effectively says to customers that their views don’t count.
  • Integrate feedback with operational and financial data. Remember that the reason for gathering feedback is to drive performance improvements that improve financial performance.

Knowing how a customer feels about doing business with you is essential to being able to do something to improve it. The former is data collection, the latter is performance improvement.


Mas Boontjes said...

Nice tips. I'm sure many aspirant surveyors will benefit from this!

The SurveyProf said...

The idea 'Start at the end' really makes sense.

SurveyTool said...

These are fascinating and will be really helpful.