webmasterMarch 12, 2015March 12, 2015Surveys used to be something you did once in a blue moon to take the pulse of your attendees, employees or company stakeholders. Now they seem to be everywhere from the receipt on the bottom of your purchases to a one question survey when you sign into an app. However, even with the prevalence of more feedback methods (web-based surveys and mobile apps), surveys still are only as good as the questions being asked. Let’s focus on why surveys work and how to make yours even better. Surveys Work When They… Have a Purpose. Without a reason for collecting the data, attendees will not take your survey seriously. I was asked once to fill out an extensive survey geared exclusively to meeting planners. When I asked the event organizer the purpose of the survey, she said it was to gather information about each planner for the exhibitors at an upcoming conference. That was not a purpose worthy of my time – it was a marketing reconnaissance tool. Spend time asking the following questions before formulating your survey: Why do I need to know this information? What are we going to do with the results? If you are not prepared to take action, don’t ask the questions. Have Been Tested in Advance. Rather than springing a survey on a group of 1,000 attendees, why not test market it on a group of 10? Getting valuable feedback about the intent or phrasing of a question will save you hours answering tweets and texts from individuals at the conference trying to determine what a particular question means. Test, restructure and test again until there isn’t any ambiguity about your questions. Have a Combination of Close- and Open-Ended Questions. Yes or No, Agree or Disagree and Multiple-Choice questions are the easiest for survey respondents to answer but they leave little leeway for opinions, thoughts or complaints. You don’t have to ask a lot of open-ended questions, but one or two will help garner how your attendees really feel about the meeting. Are Short. SurveyMonkey determined from a pool of 100,000 surveys that were 1-30 questions long, that survey participants spend more time per question on the first 10 questions than the remaining 20. The effect? Respondents end up racing through the survey thus making the quality and reliability of the results questionable. SurveyMonkey recommends that your survey consist of no more than 10 questions that are directly actionable. Are Rank Ordered. SurveyMonkey also found that respondents spend most of their time on the first question. I would recommend that you rank order what you want and make certain your questions follow that logic. That way, if the participant abandons the survey toward the end, at least you have captured the most valuable information. Can be Taken Anywhere at the Conference. Allowing attendees to take the evaluations on their mobile devices may work, but for those who may not have them readily accessible, you want to provide options such as iPad rentals or touchscreen rentals placed strategically throughout the venue. Survey Says – Hartford Technology Rental Can Help Do you need help determining what equipment you need for your next event? Hartford Technology Rental’s staff will work with you to find the right rental solution that meets your needs. Give us a call at 888-520-5667 or request a quote online today.