Collect Member Feedback
Insights and firsthand experiences from members can help inspire you to periodically fine-tune your tools and program. But collecting those insights and experiences from members isn’t always easy. It is important to know when to ask for feedback, what questions to ask, and what formats for collecting responses are most useful.
When to Collect Feedback. There are multiple times throughout the planning and implementation phases of your program when you can ask for member feedback:
|At this juncture...||Ask for feedback on...|
|During early program development meetings||Program design, methods, and member resources|
|When new tools are being developed and introducted, or existing tools are updated||Tools' design and usability|
|Once your program expands and you welcome new members||What drew them to the program and which recruiting approaches resonated|
|After the first few years of the program||The evolution of the program so far and key turning points|
Gather additional insights by soliciting feedback from third-party stakeholders, experts, and academics on your program’s impact on the local and regional industry, environment, and economy.
What to Ask When Collecting Feedback: The questions you ask members will vary depending on the stage of development your program is in and the information you seek. Some examples of questions you could pose to members include:
To evaluate member engagement:
- Do you read the program tool user guides (and/or program technical documents)?
- Do you regularly visit the program website?
- Do you read the e-updates and attend webinars?
To learn about the value and success of your program’s tools and resources:
- How do you rate the ... (program tool, user guide, technical document, website, or program support materials)?
To better understand whether your members understand your program elements (on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 meaning “strongly agree”):
- I understand the goals of the program.
- I understand how to participate in the program.
- I understand how to find information on the program website.
To learn how satisfied members are with your program (on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 meaning “strongly agree”):
- The program provides good customer service.
- My business sees strong value in its participation in the program.
- I enjoy participating in the program.
Also consider asking such open-ended questions as:
- What do you like about the program?
- How can the program add value to your business?
- What would you like to see changed in the program?
- What could the program do to enhance your experience?
How to Collect Feedback. Some common tools and techniques to collect feedback include:
- Online or Paper Surveys. Surveys are good for collecting feedback from a large number of people. Ask respondents questions in multiple choice or open-ended response formats. Consider taking advantage of free, online survey tools that allow you to create questions in minutes and create basic reports with graphics from the responses.
- One-on-One Interview. Personal interviews are more labor intensive than surveys but can provide a great amount of meaningful information. Interviewing allows an opportunity to dig deeper and pose follow-up questions immediately to the interviewee.
- Focus Group Discussion. Focus groups collect feedback from a group of participants with a common experience or background. They are often used to test out program tools, marketing strategies or publications prior to formally unveiling them to see whether they are understood and effective.
- Stakeholder Meetings. Use meetings or workshops to present program information to a wide audience while also collecting feedback through one-on-one conversations, attendee evaluation forms, and listening to discussions from panelists and audience members.
The Nature of Feedback. Remember to not lose sight of your program’s goals and mission as you consider feedback. Many respondents will offer comments and suggestions that you will not be able to incorporate soon or that are unrealistic for you to implement.