Dogs, cats and surveys
One day I won’t have to write client satisfaction surveys for people. I think working at a dog and cat shelter would be easier. ‘Are you satisfied with the service fido?’ ‘Woof.’ imagine how easy results collating would be… ‘of the canine cohort 97% agreed they were satisfied and the remaining 3% ate the survey form. In the feline cohort, 70% refused to participate, 20% were satisfied, 5% put a hairball on the form and 5% were hiding under the bed.’ But seriously for a moment, how much easier would survey writing be when expecting a bark or no bark response? Gone would be the discussion about Likert scales. If you used them, you’d most certainly opt for the 5 point agreement scale over a 7 or 9 point scale. You wouldn’t have a debate about ‘agree acquiesce’ because you know that a cat is not likely to acquiesce!
Writing surveys is not an easy task. Here’s a few things I’ve learn over the years.
• Before you start, is a survey what you really need?
• Keep it short!
• If you are asking numerous ‘free text response’ questions, ask yourself again whether a survey is the right tool!
• On your general satisfaction question always follow with a question like ‘why do you say that?’ Don’t just do this for those who are dissatisfied, include everyone. I recommend this to any not for profit because I’ve found people are grateful for the service and therefore hesitant to be negative. Ive found even those who are satisfied respond to an open question with what they love about the service and what they love a little less.
• when writing each question ask what you would do, if you had that data. If you respond, ‘it’s nice to know’, delete the question now!
• act on your survey responses. I’m surprised how often a not for profit will go to the effort to collect the data and then do nothing until next years survey comes around.
• tell clients the findings of the survey (yes, would seem a no brainer but evidently not…)
Lastly, if it gets all too hard, consult a cat like I did last night. She sat on the survey draft. It didn’t help with the writing, but it made me smile.