Benefits to Having a Satisfaction Survey

June 1, 2010 - 6 minutes read

questionnaire and computer mouseSo, your event is over and you feel like things could not have gone better.  Your registrants were smiling both during and after the event, you woke up to find the sun shining brilliantly on the event’s big day, and there was not a problem in sight, but let us stress that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. As an event organizer, it is important to be aware of the behind-the-scenes situations that may have hindered the event’s overall success, but how does one know of these issues, if no one brings them to your attention?  The best way to do this is to create a satisfaction survey.

Satisfaction surveys for events are becoming more and more common and can do a lot of good for the future of your event.  The future success of your event depends solely on learning from past mistakes and this is why a survey should be distributed. The survey should be brief, but should include specific questions that you want answered.  For the most part, there are three main areas of interest that we want to measure in terms of satisfaction, they are: communication, the event registration process, and overall event satisfaction.

For communication, you’ll want to find out what perceptions registrants had on the frequency of the communication, the content of the communication, and the medium of the communication.  Here are some example questions that can help you:

  1. Did you feel that the frequency of communication from the Event Director was… Too much, Too little, or Just Right?
  2. Did the content you received from the Event Director seem relevant to you? Yes, or No.  (If no, further the question by asking what they didn’t like about the content they received and make the question open-ended)
  3. What is your preferred method of communication?  (This question could either be asked open-ended, or in a multiple choice format)

For the event registration process, you’ll want to determine registrants’ perceptions on the event registration system that was used, the price of the event, and the ease of use in terms of the registration process.  Here are some example questions:

  1. Overall, please rate your satisfaction with the event registration system used to register for the event.  (This question should be formatted on a 5 point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied–you could also include an area below that would allow the registrant to give more specific information about what they liked or did not like about the event registration site)
  2. How would you rate the price of this event compared to similar events you have participated in? More, About the same, Less, This is the first time I have registered for an event like this
  3. How easy was the event registration process for you? (This question should be on a 5 point scale from extremely difficult to extremely easy)

For overall event satisfaction, determining how the registrant perceived the quality of the event itself is very important, as well as determining how they felt about the venue of the event, and the customer service at the event (if applicable). Here are some examples:

  1. Compared to similar events you have participated in, please rate the professional quality of this event? (This should be on a 5 point scale from very unprofessional to very professional–there could also be an open-ended question following this that asks for additional comments)
  2. Did you find the event venue pleasing? Yes, or No (If  No, please tell us why)
  3. Do you feel you were treated fairly by either the Event Director or other people working the event? Yes, or No (If no, please tell us why)

These are just a few examples, but there are hundreds of ways you could ask your participants about the event, how you do it is up to you and your comfort level. Here are some additional resources with advice and tips on surveys.

Send the survey by mass email, and ask registrants politely if they would be so kind as to answer a few short questions about their experience with the event.  Be sure that you limit the number of questions you are asking (maybe 6-10 at most) and be specific enough in your questioning that it is clear how the registrant should respond.  Multiple choice questions would make it easier for the information to be synthesized quickly, if you are on time constraints, but open-ended questions would allow you to get a more accurate view of registrants’ individual experiences.

There are a lot of great websites that let you create a survey for free or paid premium services, like SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang

What have you learned from using satisfaction surveys?  Please comment on this post with your ideas.