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Get Feedback In Small Bites

Get feedback in small bites

An excellent practice to engage your customers, members and students, and to dramatically increase response rate is the use of bite size surveys given at regular intervals. Just as you would in a conversation, the bite size survey asks only a couple of questions.  They respond.  Then you ask follow up questions in another survey. Each bite size survey has a single purpose and no more than five clear questions with room for comments so participants can clarify their answers.

This is particularly effective for membership organizations or alumni offices. In 2007 we resuscitated the membership efforts of an organization that had lost contact with many of their members. But now the organization needed funds!  How do you ask for money when you have little or no relationships with your members or alumni?

Learn the 9 Principles of Feedback to retain customers and grow your membership


We could have blasted out one gigantic survey to ask every question desired by every department within the organization (including asking for money), which would have been widely ignored and annoyed the members. Instead, we administered 3 bitesize surveys over a 6-month period, each with a specific purpose:

  • Survey #1: Reconnect = confirm contact information, touch base
  • Survey #2: Share = learn their needs, get feedback, offer new training
  • Survey #3: Give = ask for donations, gather marketing data, invite back

By asking just a few questions on each survey and allowing a *conversation* to develop, the results were impressive:

  • Restored ties with 21,000 members
  • Updated contact information for 10,220 members
  • Made members aware of training opportunities, generating new tuition dollars
  • Received enough financial gifts and renewed memberships to pay for the bitesize survey campaign 5 times over

Here is a successful application of bitesize surveys in a Training organization (way back in 1998!): Managers across 12 countries were given four short surveys over an eight week period to gather their feedback during a satellite-based training program.  By quickly addressing the feedback and closing-the-loop through bitesize surveys, we earned an 86% response rate, manager satisfaction greatly increased and obstacles to the technology and learning were removed.

Although the practice of bitesize surveys has been successfully used in Higher Education, membership organizations and training organizations for 17 years, it has only recently gathered momentum in other industries. No need to wait – apply bitesize surveys to your feedback practices this month and watch your relationships with customers, members and students grow!  /Doc

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