In the “old days” the way to get statistically accurate quantitative research results was to conduct a phone, mail or in-person survey. All of which were extremely costly to both field and collate the data. By the early 2000’s many online survey tools gained traction in the marketplace offering free and extremely inexpensive options to gather member insights. This means you can collect more data from key stakeholders more often. Which is great, right?
The information collected from surveys can be really valuable unless you fall into this common trap.
Not understanding what the forced-choice answers really are.
Have you ever taken a survey where you picked a choice available that was sort of the best choice but, not really how you would have answered? This happens a lot and it may be happening to your members.
Your members are picking the best answer but, not their answer. If this is the fault in your survey the results you get are inaccurate. The decisions you may make are wrong which introduces a lot of risk into the business.
How do you determine the best forced-choice answers?
Choose a methodology that lets you move from qualitative (open-ended, interview style) questioning to quantitative (closed-ended survey style) questioning. When I used to work for the big brands we routinely fielded rounds of one-on-one interviews or focus groups before fielding a quantitative survey. In this way we uncovered all the challenges and opinions customers had – in their words.
Talk to members. Look for the patterns and use the ideas the float to the top as fodder for the quantitative (i.e. Survey Monkey) survey.
Survey Monkey and it’s peers open up a lot of opportunity for associations to better understand their members. It is easy, however to conduct surveys incorrectly and get inaccurate results. If you are going to take the time and effort to field a quantitative survey learn from members first what the range of forced-choiced answers should be.