If you hold live or virtual events regularly or even sporadically, then you know how important it is to evaluate the success of an event and to know what attendees thought of each aspect of your event. That can cover everything from how well-organised the event was to what was included in terms of activities, levels of participation, guest speakers, and so on.
Just as you would collect feedback on products, customer service, and overall customer experience, you should also collect feedback from people who attended your event. However, you also want to make sure that said feedback is honest and that it points out faults as well as successes. Just how do you undertake that process so that you can improve future events and ensure good engagement levels at those events?
This article will give your all the tips you need to get honest feedback from your attendees so that you can improve your events in the future !
1. Why are event surveys necessary ?
However often you host events, it’s essential to have some sort of process in place to collect feedback and to review how well the event went. It can help you identify areas where organisation was outstanding (and thus give you a benchmark for the future) but, perhaps more importantly, it identifies places where there is room for improvement.
Every event has a goal (or goals). It may be to launch a new product, expand a network, etc. But it is crucial that you, as an organiser, know if those goals have been achieved. Feedback helps you analyse how close or how far you were from your goals by the end of the event and what changes need to be made to reach those goals in the future.
As well as goals, there are other aspects of your event you need to analyse :
- Was it financially successful (and would similar events be sustainable in the future)?
- Was the number of attendees satisfactory?
- What were attendees’ perceptions of your event? Their perceptions are valuable and can be a crucial element to your future event’s organisation.
2. 5 Tips to secure honest reviews
Let’s assume you have never held an event before or are relatively new to event organisation. You need feedback but you want to ensure its accuracy. Indeed, attendees saying what they think you want to hear will never be helpful. From there, how do you go about collecting honest feedback?
1. Give your attendees the option of anonymity
It may come as a surprise, but people are often reluctant to leave negative feedback when the organiser will know where that feedback originated. By offering an option to remain anonymous, you can ensure that their comments will be honest, even if brutally so. While you don’t want to wish for negative feedback, you should welcome it as it can help you focus on areas you can improve.
When someone knows they won’t be identified, they are more likely to open up about any issues they witnessed at your event. Of course, anonymity can’t always be offered but can be achieved with some types of online survey (including on social media) or even by using a company rather than a personal email address.
2. Create a positive sharing environment
Another thing to consider is the environment you create for collecting and sharing feedback. For example, if you are collecting reviews on a dedicated Facebook event page, you want to nurture positive discussions. Avoid being confrontational just because someone says something you don’t like or disagree with. Instead, ask them why they felt that way and how they feel you could improve next time.
You want to build a reputation not only as an efficient event organiser, but also as someone who listens to feedback (even if critical) and who listens to ideas from attendees. This is essential, especially for any organisation that holds events on a regular basis. If you gain a poor reputation when it comes to collecting feedback, then attendance at future events will suffer.
To make sure your documents are secure while doing your survey, you can have a look at Proposify alternatives that also offer an electronic signature and proposal management solution.
3. Use social media walls
You already know the power of social media when it comes to things like spreading brand awareness. It is the ideal vehicle for every aspect of event organisation, from publicising the event to collecting feedback and reviews of your event. One of the great advantages of social media, particularly Facebook, is that it is simple to include anonymous surveys on your wall.
You will likely already have a dedicated event page for each of your events. One advantage of having separate event pages is that you can create clear demarcation between events so that you can easily collect feedback and make a comparative analysis between the different events you host.
4. Ask specific and deep questions
It’s not going to help future planning if you just ask basic questions. While questions such as ‘did you enjoy the event?’ can inform you of general feelings, it doesn’t contribute much to future planning. You want to delve deeper into their experience so you can get better insights. Your survey should contain three types of question:
- NPS aka Net Promoter Score : These questions ask attendees to rank a factor of your event on a numeric scale.
- Yes/no questions: Used for basic inquiries you can also link them to the last type of questions (NPS).
- Open-ended questions: These can be more specific and can provide you with more detailed information on important aspects of the event.
By combining quantitative and qualitative feedback, you are better placed to have a 360 degree view of how well-organised your event was and how satisfied attendees were.
5. Don’t add an incentive
What? Surely incentivizing feedback will encourage participation. Well, yes, but that’s not always a good thing. There are a number of reasons why offering incentives can have an adverse effect on your survey:
- In some cases, it may attract people who did not even attend the event. Of course, there are ways around this, but it can be especially harmful with social media surveys.
- If you hold regular events, the costs of incentives will soon mount up and may hurt your event budget. Also, if you start offering incentives and then stop, you may discourage participation.
- Incentives can mean getting biased results. If participants are being rewarded, they are less likely to be critical.
3. Best methods to get honest reviews
Now you have an idea of what to ask, but how do you ask those questions? Just as you might look at different standard business document templates, it’s worth considering different types of surveys. Here are three good methods.
This is a particularly good method if you have a close personal relationship with attendees (or want to build one). While it precludes any degree of anonymity, it does have that personal touch and you can make it more of a conversation than a box-ticking exercise. It can also encourage honesty when there is nothing to be gained by deceit.
As has been mentioned, a major advantage of using social media is that it is easy to add anonymous surveys on your main page or on the event page. There is also the opportunity to leave short reviews and star ratings which, though they may not offer deeper insights, will still give you a general overview of how successful your event was. It can also be a good way to start a discussion and get comments from the event’s participants.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to this method. The main advantage of asking questions in person just after the event is that memories are fresh. It has the same conversational aspect as a phone call so you can discuss specific points. The disadvantage is that the person may be reluctant to be too critical, especially if they don’t know you well.
4. The takeaway
Knowing why and how to collect feedback from event attendees is crucial to the future success of your events. Ensuring that any feedback is as honest as possible means you can improve your event where needed and maintain areas that performed well. If you hold regular events, building close relationships with attendees is an important part of your organisation. .
Of course, questions and ways of garnering feedback may vary according to your event type and the activities held. However, the general rules still apply and you should adapt those when needed. Get impactful feedback, act on it, and every one of your events can be a success.
Now that you have all the information necessary to create your own survey and make sure the feedback you get is honest, you can start thinking about solutions to help you organise your event. Weezevent offers ticketing, access control and cashless payment solutions with marketing and CRM tools.