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One of the great things about doing online surveys is that you can get completely honest feedback from people about virtually anything. One of the downsides of course of doing surveys is that you have to collate the data afterwards which normally means figuring out how to download it from the survey system and then get it into a spreadsheet. Once there of course, there is the hassle of arranging the data in a way that you can do something useful with it, say make a chart or two.
A while ago we ran an event where we wanted to collect some data before a client workshop and share the data among the attendees in advance of it, then during the workshop have the attendees answer some additional survey questions but have the information available real-time and ideally chart it within the session, enter one of our favourite survey solutions – Survey Anyplace.
One of the great things about Survey Anyplace is the integrations you can have via Zapier. Now, if you haven't checked out Zapier then check here. Zapier works as a conduit to bridge 2 web-based apps together to move information from one place to another, not everything has a Zap (the linking program) but thankfully at the last count Survey Anyplace had 70+. What this lets us do is integrate into several different web apps and trigger events without having to get too hands-on, essentially, we automated the heck out of things, here's what we did.
We embedded the survey into MailChimp to distribute it, now we could have just shared it directly a URL or a QR code, but we wanted to add some instructions so embedding it into Mailchimp using the embed script you get was nice and simple.
Then we used Zapier to link it to excel to automatically download the data to our external spreadsheet, again we could download the data from Survey Anyplace as a single batch if we wanted to, but we wanted to populate it as the data came in. We also set up a Slack channel that the Senior Leadership team could use to chat about the results in real time and look at the feedback we were getting since they were dispersed around the country. We also set an additional channel for people responding to the survey to be able to log in and discuss things in more details as we posted updates there as well of some of the feedback points we got and wanted more thoughts on those points raised, essentially converting the survey into an organisational conversation. So, the scheme basically looked like this:
The response to the survey was pretty good, we achieved just over 60% of the organisation took the time to respond, we purposely didn't 'demand' or force people to complete the survey, if they didn't respond to the survey we sent them 1 follow up mail and then let it go. This way we also got a good indication of overall organisational engagement.
Since we now had a whole heap of data and the discussions behind the data when the workshop arrived what we found was that the leadership team where ready to hit the ground running in the 1st 15 minutes. There wasn't need to analyse things or debate too much as we had done that along the way on slack as the results coming out from Survey Anyplace rolled in, plus we had the background.
About half way through the day we ran another poll with the leadership team, there were 30 of them. Now we could have run a show of hands or got people to stand in corners etc or write on post its, and we do all of those things as well but we tried something new. We launched another poll in Survey Anyplace that the guys filled in over their lunch break, this one wasn't linked to anything just a straight survey. What about the results, the analysis the charts!?, well the great thing is that the system will actually draw charts for you real time, an example of those are shown to the left
What that meant was we could instantly share feedback during the workshop and look at what the data was, we ran a 2nd survey at the end of the day where we asked if we implemented all of the things we had talked about what would the new results be?.. again, we were able to see the results real time.
The next day we were able to build an entire report based on those 3 surveys to feed back to the organisation with an implementation plan for their new lean approach, which guess what, we are now looking for feedback from a wider audience by way of survey feedback after some town hall meetings.
The aim for this client was to run a business change workshop based on real data from the organisation and try to make it as interactive as we could and give them the chance to answer questions on the day in a way that they also felt safe to answer truthfully as well.
We aren't saying that surveys are the answer to everything, clearly, they aren't. However, if you want to get as much input from as many people as you can then a easy to use and engaging survey is a great start, and if you can turn that into a conversation then you have a pretty powerful tool. The key is making sure you ask good questions and more importantly follow through on the process, in this case we used Survey Anyplace because it's easy to use, they have a myriad of templates you can build from and it'll build the charting for you or link via zapier to a multitude of other apps. It doesn't matter what system you use as long as people feel engaged and you act on the survey, doing a survey and not doing anything, well, that's worse than never asking the questions in the 1st place.
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