Are You Asking the Wrong Questions?

Imagine an organization that provides its members with professional development workshops.  After each program, they survey the participants to get their feedback.  So far so good.  But in actual execution, they make three mistakes that make the responses they receive almost completely invalid.

First, they ask all participants to rate the event.  If the event gets high marks, high fives all around — the event was a success!  But not so fast.  What if only ten people attended when the goal was fifty?  And what if only six of the ten completed a survey?  Was that event really a success?  Probably not.  But interpreting it that way ensures that the organization is likely to repeat a program no one wants or needs.

Second, they overlook an obvious audience for their survey: the members who registered but didn’t attend.  What if fifty people registered but only thirty showed up?  The 40% who stayed away might have some insights to offer.  And since the organization has to plan — and pay — for all the people who register, it hits the bottom line.

Why did they stay away?  Is this the first time they registered but didn’t show, or are they habitual?  What’s the normal percentage of no-shows for your type of organization?  What would have made them attend?  How can the organization improve its confirmation and reminder process?  Is there a correlation between those who don’t show up and those who don’t renew their membership when it comes due?

Third, what about the members who never registered?  It’s worth finding out what motivated them to stay away.  Was it the topic?  The presenter?  The time or day?  The location?  If you charge, was it the price?  Was it so high it kept them away — or so low that it devalued the program?  How easy is the registration process?  How fast?  If it’s online, does member information autofill when they begin, especially if they’ve attended other programs?

Finally, how do you determine what programs interest your members?  If they have to get approval from supervisors, how different are their interests from their supervisors’?  Do you just ask them to suggest program ideas, or is it more methodical?  Do you list potential programs and ask members to rate their interest?  Do you experiment with special programs that cost more but offer more?  What if you began with broad areas of interest, then let them rank specific topics based on their responses?  If they don’t take the survey, do you re-send it?  Do you follow up with a phone call?

Of course, all of this applies to any business.  How does your company or organization get the feedback it needs to create smart products, services and programs.  Are you nimble enough to drop underperforming offerings and double down on what people want?

Remember that your brand — and customer loyalty — depend on continuing to remain relevant in your customers’ eyes.  And the key to that is getting, good, actionable information on a regular basis, then acting on it.

(If you could use a hand establishing a continuous feedback program for your organization, Idealogy can lend a hand.  Feel free to give us a call today — and get the data you need to do what you do more profitably.)