When you are working to improve your business, employee surveys and customer surveys provide important data, but have you considered also employing a survey focus group to dig deeper into your survey data? A focus group can provide invaluable information concerning sentiments throughout your company and customer base.
Surveys and focus groups are both valuable research tools used to understand how to better meet the needs of your customers and improve employee engagement, morale, and a number of other factors.
Briefly, surveys are used to collect specific information from a specific group of people. Surveys can be conducted by mail, email, in person, or on the telephone. Surveys ask questions that are designed to be answered by checking boxes on a form or with simple responses if conducted by phone. The data is then analyzed.
Focus groups bring together, in person, a group of people for a discussion about a topic or product. The group should be small with a minimum of four people, but no more than 15. Most experts believe having six to 12 people in a focus group is ideal.
Each individual in the group is pre-screened according to the criteria you establish. For example, if it is an employee focus group, do you want group members to have been employed for one year, three years, five years or more? Do you want only employees with cell phones? Only employees who drive red cars? You establish the criteria for selecting group members depending upon the information you want to solicit, the goals you have established, and how you plan on using the data.
A facilitator guides the discussion of the focus group towards the topic you hope to learn more about from the group. Do you want feedback on a new advertising campaign? Do you want to generate ideas for improving employee morale?
The facilitator should remain neutral and not express his or her own opinions on the subject, but should inspire the focus group members to talk freely about their own ideas and opinions. The meeting place for the group should be one where the participants feel comfortable and free to express themselves. They should also be given some incentive for their participation.
The main purpose of the focus group is to inspire a meaningful discussion on the selected topic. In contrast to surveys, which provide you with answers to specific questions, individuals in a focus group explain why they think the way they do. Participants can provide input on problem solving as well as generate new ideas.
Whether you choose a survey focus group, an employee survey, a customer survey, or all three, you will gain valuable information that can assist you in improving your product or service and enhancing employee and customer satisfaction.
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