The Power of Repetition -How to Measure Your Organizations Progress with Survey Research
All organizations want to be successful. But success is hard to quantify when you don’t have a set goal to strive for or a way to measure whether you have reached it. Today, we will look at how you can create a simple survey research plan that will both help you create attainable goals and measure your progress towards reaching them.
Why One Survey Won’t be Enough
FluidSurveys University has long focused its articles on how to create sound surveys that provide accurate data. Having a survey that properly represents reality is great, but it does not guarantee that your data is actionable or measurable. A survey’s results need context to make its findings measurable. Let me explain why:
Let’s say your survey results show your company’s average satisfaction score as 8.2 out of 10. Sure this number may seem high, but the meaning behind the number is very limited. Maybe 8.2 is an average score for your industry or maybe it is higher due to season or location. There is no way to know without having data to compare it with.
That’s where your multi-survey plan kicks in. By scheduling a repeating customer feedback survey, you’ll be able to conduct your own internal benchmarking. With this information, you’ll have the ability to effectively measure your company’s rate of improvement as well as help create and achieve your long and short-term goals.
Your Survey Research Plan Cycle
Your research plan will be based on a cycle of Assessment, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. The idea is to repetitively measure your company or organization’s progress to its goals as you develop and implement new strategies. Let’s look at each stage of the cycle as if our goal were to improve customer satisfaction:
Assessment: This refers to your initial feedback survey. Your survey’s focus should be two-pronged:
1) Gain an understanding of your company’s place within its current competitive landscape. This means collecting quantitative and scalable data (via rating scales, multiple choice questions, Likert scales, etc.). Your results will work as a starting data point to measure your company’s improvement and the effects of new action plans.
2) Focus on collecting open-ended feedback from customers on potential opportunities for improvement. Ask your customers for your company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the changes they’d like to see take place. This information will be crucial for your Planning phase.
Planning: After collecting your feedback, it’s time to put what you learned into action. Based on your survey’s results, set some goals for your company. Decide which areas you would like to improve, like customer satisfaction, loyalty, or even a specific part of your organization that was revealed as having room for improvement.
With your goals set, your next step is creating an action plan. Ask yourself, how is your company going to evolve in order to achieve your desired scores? A great way to get started is by looking at the open-ended feedback your customers provided in the survey. Were there any common sentiments revealed by your survey responses? Maybe your customers feel your products don’t have enough selection, or that there is an opportunity for better customer service. Based on this feedback, build a strategy on how your company will attempt to address these weaknesses and opportunities.
Implementation: Now for the fun part! Put your action plan to the test by implementing it into your company. Don’t let your hard earned research go to waste by refusing to make changes and take action based on your findings.
Evaluation: You’ve conducted a survey, planned a well-researched action plan, and set it into motion. Now it’s time to evaluate whether your plan was successful by conducting a follow up survey. By conducting the same survey again, you’ll be able to measure your action plan’s effect on your customers. If your scores rise, your action plan is pushing your company in the right direction, awesome job! If your scores drop, your changes may have been detrimental to the company and you may need to re-assess your action plan.
Regardless of your progress, it is important to continue moving forward with new goals and finding new ways to improve. Because of this, the cycle of your research plan continues on through the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation phases. For your next survey, add questions to your questionnaire that quantify the new issues that were revealed in the first survey. Let’s say your customer’s consistently said your company’s website had a confusing design. When it comes time to resend your survey, add a question asking customers to rate your website design on a scale of 0-10. Now you can begin to measure the progress your company is making in improving this weakness.
Tip: Before conducting a follow up survey, be sure to wait for your action plan to take full effect. That way your respondents will have been exposed to your new strategy. As a rule of thumb, try to conduct follow up surveys quarterly or at least every 6 months.
Time to Initiate the First Survey
No matter what you want to improve, you can build a survey research plan to facilitate goal creation and measure your progress. So whether your goal is to increase employee engagement, customer satisfaction, or public awareness, set into motion your very own research cycle and use it to steer your way to success!
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