Are You Using These Best Practices to Survey Your Parents and Staff?
Do you survey the parents and staff at your child care center? If so, how often? Today I’m bringing you Part I of a two part video series and will show you how to use surveys to improve your child care program.
In this video we will focus on WHY and HOW to use surveys.
The Why is simple, surveys provide feedback to you directly from your parents and will help you address issues and improve your child care center.
I recommend using an online survey tool such as Survey Monkey (surveymonkey.com) to AUTOMATE your survey process.
In this digital age it is just SO much easier to use an online tool, and you will find that you receive higher quality responses and increase your response rate compared to putting a paper survey in the children’s cubby. All you need is your parents email addresses.
I use this tool all the time to reach out to my members after Child Care Success Academy live events. I also use it to find out what my members are looking for, so I can meet their needs. It has been a highly valuable tool for building my business and I KNOW it will help you with retention and customer service issues and enable you to work on continuous improvement in your program.
The thing that is so great about these online survey tools is that they are email driven and AUTOMATED! You just set the survey up and the tool gives you a link to copy and paste into your email blast. Then send it out!
They also capture the results all in one place, making it easier for you to understand feedback. For example, Survey Monkey will compile the results using a scale of 1 to 10 and include 7 beautiful bar charts, so you don’t have to do any monkeying around (no pun intended) to figure out what the results mean.
Here’s all you need to get started:
- An online survey tool like Survey Monkey.
- A list of your Parents email addresses.
- A way to blast the survey out to the email addresses.
It’s that easy!
As you start to use surveys for your business keep these best practices in mind:
- You want to have a 25-30% response rate, which is the industry standard. A higher response rate is great and will tell you that your parents are more engaged. Anything less and you will need to spend some time to better engage them. Keep in mind that a paper inquiry usually nets about a 10% response rate.
- Make sure your survey has a due date. Allow 7-10 days for participants to complete the survey. Then you can send out reminder emails and a FINAL reminder to complete the survey. Don’t worry about bugging them, remember their feedback will improve your center and give them a better child care experience.
- Make sure you give your participants a REASON to complete the survey. Let them know that you will be able to respond to them better and improve your child care center if they provide feedback.
- Provide an incentive for completing the survey, but make the name field optional. This way anyone that completes it and provides their name can be entered into a drawing for a gift certificate or an Ipad. However, if someone is not comfortable with providing their name they can still give feedback and remain anonymous. This allows them the freedom to complete the survey without worrying about retribution and will give you more honest results.
You also want to think about the goals for your survey or what you want to get out of it. You need to have consistent content and make it measurable over time (more on content and actionable items to come in Part II).
So those are the nuts and bolts to making a good survey:
- Use your parents email addresses to blast out Survey Monkey or another online survey tool.
- Shoot for a 30% response rate and make a deadline for the survey.
- Make sure the name is optional but offer an incentive to folks that will provide their names on the survey.
Once you start using Survey Monkey you can keep all your prior surveys so it won’t take you much time at all to go in and update it and send out a new one.
This whole AUTOMATED system will save you tons of time and will give you great results that you can use to improve your customer service and other processes at your child care center.
I hope this video has given you enough information to feel comfortable getting started with your own surveys. I’d like you to START surveying if you haven’t already, and shoot for a once a year survey at the MINIMUM. Don’t forget to survey your staff also! We will talk about the content of your surveys and how to make content actionable in Part II, so stay tuned.
PS-You can get a trial account at SurveyMonkey.com. Constant Contact may also have a survey mechanism, so if you use Constant Contact you will want to check that out. There are also other online survey tools, the point is that you want to choose ONE and then USE it to find out how your parents and staff are doing.