So, your event has finished, the final chairs and tables have been stacked away, and the last of the vol-au-vents have been eaten. You feel that everything went swimmingly - the attendees appeared to have a great time, and there were no disastrous technical hitches. Despite the good vibes you picked up, there is one important thing that every good event organiser must do: a post event survey.
Getting feedback from your attendees is crucial, and post event surveys are a really invaluable tool to ensure that not only did you not overlook any issues, but that the quality of your events can keep going up and up and up.
Even if your event was a total sell-out, and you saw for yourself the smiling faces of your guests… no good manager can truly call their event a success until they’ve gathered the data and feedback to confirm it.
There are plenty of post event survey tools out there to try, and many of them allow you to create custom surveys to obtain deeper and more accurate feedback and analyses.
However, you choose to go about constructing and distributing your survey, there are certain components which are absolutely necessary to ensure you get the data you need.
Here at Ultimate Experience, we’re always looking out for our clients and followers, and want every event to be as successful as possible. In this spirit, we’ve compiled a quick series of tips for your next post event surveys, to ensure your gatherings continue to gain greater success time after time. Check them out below!
Your attendees are busy people, and probably have their next big event lined up soon after yours has finished. As such, it’s important that you manage to distribute your survey quickly once everything’s wrapped up. And by quickly, we really mean within 24 hours - if you want to ensure the best possible response rate.
By doing this, you’ll guarantee that your post event survey questions reach your guests while your event is still fresh in their minds, and while they’re still reliving the great memories of the day before.
The aim of a good post event survey is to gather feedback that’s as specific as possible - after all, you need a decent amount of detail in order to accurately analyse the feedback given.
However, it’s important that you keep your survey relatively short and snappy; nobody likes wading through page after page of questions, and long surveys generally get stuck at the bottom of people’s ‘to do’ lists, and ultimately ignored.
At the very beginning of your survey, it’s always a good idea to outline how many questions you’re going to be asking, and how long it’s probably going to take the recipient to fill in.
By doing this, you’ll be managing the attendee’s expectations - they can set aside ten minutes or so in their tea break to sit down and do it in its entirety… and that’s exactly what you’re aiming for.
In order to keep things as brief as possible, think carefully about the type of feedback you feel will be most valuable for you to use. Tailor your post event survey questions to fit that bill, and you’ll end up with genuinely useful data that’s all killer and no filler. A maximum of ten questions is usually advisable here.
Everyone knows that multiple choice answers are preferable to open-ended questions - this is something we all learned when we were taking our high school exams! Essay boxes tend to be quite off-putting, and usually they ask a little too much of your attendees.
Nowadays, most of your guests will be using smartphones or tablets for most of their correspondence, and the thought of having to think carefully and type out an answer on a phone is understandably off-putting.
If you need any more convincing that multiple-choice answers are going to be your new best friends in this regard, consider this point: essay boxes and open-ended boxes are really, really time consuming to analyse, and often don’t end up providing reliable data.
Checkboxes, rating scales, multiple-choice questions etc can easily be transformed into graphs - the perfect visual tool to help you analyse satisfaction.
If you really feel you want to give your attendees their say, simply provide a comment box at the end of the survey, and encourage them to note down a few thoughts if they feel the survey wasn’t thorough enough.
There’s no question about the fact that anonymous surveys are never a bad thing; they give your attendees the freedom and peace of mind to answer freely and honestly. However, it might be a very good idea to ask them questions which clarify exactly what sort of attendee they are - especially if your event attracted people from a wide range of backgrounds.
There are a few things you’ll need to ascertain from your post event survey, in order to get a clearer picture of who is filling in the forms. Information like professional status, age bracket, gender etc is all highly helpful, and will allow you to get an idea of the opinions of each segment of your target audience.
When you’re constructing your post event survey questions, imagine you’re putting together the plot of a story. Allow the questions to follow a natural, flowing order, starting with the beginning (for example, ‘how useful were the pre-event promotional materials?’) and leading to a logical end (‘on a scale of 1-10, what is the likelihood of you attending next year’s event?).
Other questions you’ll need to include will depend on the goals your event set out to achieve. If, for example, your event was aimed at helping industry professionals network and make new contacts, one of your questions could be: ‘Did you manage to make new contacts that might help your business in the future?”
One of the most important questions you’ll need to ask in your survey is how likely your attendees will be to recommend your event. The following question will allow you to calculate the ‘Net Promoter Score’ or NPS for your event:
“Give a score of 0 to 10 based on how likely you are to recommend the event to another person”
- People who score your event with a 9 or 10 are known as ‘promoters’ - they’re the ones who are highly likely to encourage other people to come to your next event.
- Those who give a 7 or 8 are known as ‘passive respondents’. They’re positive, but generally quite indifferent to your event.
- A score of 6 or below will be given by your ‘detractors’. Essentially, these are the ones who are least likely to push other people towards your events in the future.
In order to come up with your event NPS, all you need to do is the following: take the percentage of ‘promoters’, and subtract the percentage of ‘detractors’ from that number. This numerical value is your baseline, and your job is to try and beat that score with your next event!
Focus on what you can improve
Once you receive the results of your survey, it’s always a good idea to keep an open mind on one factor more than any others: what can be improved? Bear in mind that no event is ever perfect, and no matter how well things have gone, there is always, always room for improvement.
When considering improvements to be made, it’s important to focus on the processes rather than the people. After all, you can’t entirely control who comes to your events, but you can take control over how the event is run, and what happens during the course of the event.
Be honest: which tactics didn’t bear as much fruit as you’d hoped? What could have gone more smoothly? What mistakes could be avoided next time?
By answering these questions in line with the feedback you received from your survey, you should be able to focus your efforts for the future, and pinpoint exactly what needs to change.
As we’ve seen from this article, there is simply no doubt surrounding the fact that post event surveys are an invaluable tool for events organisers. They will allow you to see exactly what you’ve been doing well, and what needs more focus the next time you hold your event.
Here at Ultimate Experience, we’re old hands at running events, and have learned so much from our post event surveys. If you’d like any further advice on this subject, or want to know how else to hold a top-notch event, don’t hesitate to get in touch!