Surveying for customer feedback can be rewarding, constructive, sometimes shocking, often delightful and always really informative. A guide to surveying your audience, template and benefits
Surveys customers and patrons of different demographics, customer relationships and experiences can be really beneficial. Surveying is a useful tool, in order to improve service and experience, as well as to track how you are currently meeting expectations of your patrons.
When deciding whether to use surveys as a feedback tool it is important to think about what you are going to use the information for. You may find it useful to turn the question around and ask yourself “what information do I need to know to improve our operation?”
Do you want to know more about the booking process for people hiring your venue? How is the experience for touring shows that visit and how did they find the tech department? By asking yourself what the information will be used for and what purpose you are trying to achieve, this will inform your thinking about surveying and data collection.
If survey data is collated well and undertaken regularly then this information can be a powerful tool in building a case for funding of new equipment, extra staff or for demonstrating that your organisation is actually performing incredibly well already! Rather than just ‘take your word for it’ survey results and comments from customers, patrons and others can be incredibly compelling and provide hard evidence to back up your position, case and/or application.
Different organisations survey and gain feedback in different ways however there are several sub-groups that are worth considering:
Intrinsic Value of the Arts
Often in arts funding the emphasis in on ‘bums on seats’ and only on how many people came through the door for any one particular event.
By changing the conversation, to other areas of value, we can start to measure compelling feelings of our supporters, audiences and participants by collecting data on things like:
- Attending ‘Your Venue/Company Name’ makes me feel proud to live in name of your town /city
- By participating/attending ‘name of show/venue’ I feel more connected to my local community
- Asking people whether they feel that your show or event provides a good a unique alter
There are some great practitioners that have been looking at measuring value, experience and those things that are harder to measure.
Please check out:
Alan Browne : Assessing The Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance
Lisa Baxter : Audience Experience, Brand and Value
Other Survey Groups
Often touring companies are on the road for months at a time and visit hundreds of venues around the country. Venues who wish to know how the experience is for touring companies might consider a survey to all visiting shows and consider formulating questions that look at items such as:
- Cleanliness of back-stage and dressing rooms?
- Was the pre-rig done and were the tech team ready for their show?
- Did they feel welcome in the venue?
Show by Show
By surveying show-by-show it is possible to build up patterns of attendance, trends that may emerge for certain genres and types of performance and to track the experience of patrons attending the shows. Item to consider include:
- Experience in accessing the venue including parking, bars, toilets, front-of-house staff
- Content and themes of the work – how the audience reacted to the work itself
- How patrons feel about things such as value for money, ticket buying experience and quality of performance
How to complete the surveys
A lot of customer surveying is now done online, however many organisations may decide to have volunteers on the ground handing out hard surveys, with a collection point in the venue, or with a tablet, iPad or other device.
Another idea is to hand out a hard survey to visiting companies, with a stamped, addressed envelope back to your organisation so that the touring party can fill out on the road and then post back to you at their next stop.