Why the public sector needs to survey customers and staff – and how to get started

Topic: Public Sector

I recently received a flyer inviting me to provide feedback on the issues local councillors were campaigning about – and two things stood out.
Firstly, that this was the first time I’d ever been asked for feedback by my local authority, and secondly, that a paper flyer really wasn’t the best way to go about prompting a response. To get it back to them I’d need to mail it back at my expense, or take it to their offices.
Looking at those issues in turn: firstly, why aren’t more public service providers soliciting the feedback of their customers?
With feedback you can identify poor performing services, and gather practical suggestions for improvement; you can understand your strengths and apply that knowledge to other departments / interactions with the public.
Equally, it seems particularly important for employers to assess the mood of their team, given the recent news that half of all local government employees are considering leaving their current roles for a “less stressful” position elsewhere (source).

How can surveys be used within the Public Sector?

Satisfaction surveysSatisfaction surveys

A practical example of satisfaction surveys in the public sector could be repair visits for housing associations. Questions could be asked like did the engineer attend site? Was the problem resolved? Are you happy with the service you received?
All of the data collected from that survey could then be used to evaluate the engineer’s performance and make improvements where necessary. 

Database management

Rather than sending out large-scale questionnaires and forms via post, public service providers can do this faster, and more cost-effectively, through a survey.
So that customers’ details are kept up to date, providers can send a survey which asks for personal details and requirements – all of which can be easily fed back into existing data management systems, making sure that each customer is being catered for appropriately.

Staff surveys

To prevent loss of talent, it’s important for public service providers to find out how happy their staff are working for them – or find out how they feel about a change to their working environment. A great way to do this is by connecting through a survey.

Identifying the best survey solution for public service providers

SMS SurveyIf you’re broadly on board with the idea of surveys, the next question is how to conduct them in a way that’s labour and cost-effective for you, but just as importantly, easy for your recipients to complete.
There are three main options for creating your survey, and two main options for prompting completion of the survey.
Products like Survey Monkey will allow you to create online surveys which are great for completion on a desktop computer. This could be an effective option for businesses or office workers.
A mobile web-based survey provides a user experience specifically tailored for a mobile device. This is ideal for targeting customers on the move.
In both of these cases, you will need to promote the survey via a text message or email.
An SMS Survey sends a series of texts to your customers or staff, which they reply to in order to provide feedback. The beauty of this method is that it combines both the channel and the content of the survey in one go – and SMS is not limited by internet connectivity or data usage.
SMS Surveys are typically reasonably short – we find 3-5 questions to be an effective number – and they’re ideal for gathering simple Y/N or 1-10 rating responses.
You can also create a hierarchy, or ‘branched’ survey, meaning that the question currently being asked is a consequence of the response to the previous one. This makes them perfect for gathering more specific information, like individual product and service requirements.
Public service providers can quiz their customers in a way that increases the chances of them responding by using SMS Surveys. They’ll then be able to take an in-depth look at their answers and opinions in a graphical dashboard environment, which in turn allows providers to make improvements to services where they’re needed most, backed up by data provided by customers.

Like to know more?

If you’re interested to know more about how the SMS Surveys platform can be used to help drive better decisions in the Public Sector, please get in contact with our team today on 0345 356 5758 or email us at [email protected].

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