When it comes to your event, your attendees are your #1 priority. So, knowing what makes them happy, what they want, and what they’d prefer to live without are all key pieces of information to ensuring they have a great time.
While it goes without saying that you need to ask for feedback about your event, figuring out what to say and how to collect analytics and interpret that data can be a big a challenge. Unfortunately, you’ll probably get one or two people who express things they aren’t happy with, but how do you know if they are outliers, or speak for your attendees as a whole? Finding the data behind everyone’s exact preferences requires you to ask.
And this is where the headache starts because how to ask for event feedback can feel like a science.
- How long should your feedback forms be?
- Do you do direct or indirect collection?
- Should you provide surveys at the end of every session or not?
- Do you hand out physical copies or put them on your app?
- What do you do with all the information once you gather it, anyway?
And the list really does go on, but learning how to receive and interpret your event data is important for the longevity of your event.
That’s why today we’re going to show you exactly how to ask for event feedback (and what to do with it afterward) so that your event can get better and better, year after year.
What Feedback to Gather From Attendees
The first step to getting out there and asking for event feedback is knowing exactly what to ask. While asking about ‘anything and everything’ might seem a little daunting, there is really no shortage of valuable questions. In reality, finding a way to let attendees rate as much as possible will only help you avoid second-guessing or making wrong choices in the long run.
Common areas to ask for attendee feedback are:
- How likely are they to recommend the event?
- How would they rate each session?
- What are their ratings for food/accommodation?
- Which were their favorite after-hours activities/networking opportunities?
- Which areas did they enjoy the most/least?
- Do they have any suggestions for future events?
Likewise, It isn’t just about what you ask them, but when. The sooner you can ask for event feedback, the better. Click To Tweet So, it is essential that any survey or poll comes out within 24 hours of your event. Getting people’s perspectives while the experience is fresh in their minds is key for receiving the most accurate data.
Finally, as Eventbrite points out, “you don’t only want to hear from attendees. Sponsors may have a gripe, too. Or they may have heard gripes via their own surveys or outreach during or after the event. Make sure to check in with everyone involved so you can get a better picture of the overall event experience.”
Easy Collection Methods
While there are plenty of ways you can get information from your attendees, three of our favorites are:
- Live polling — Using an app (like ours!) is a fast and easy way to get in-the-moment feedback. It is far easier to capitalize on how your attendees are feeling in the moment and allow you to make any little adjustments that can be changed on your end. However, live questionnaires shouldn’t be your end all be all. Attendees probably won’t have time to take a lengthy survey or answer long-form questions. So, keep things short and relevant to the day at hand.
- Surveys — Sending a survey to your attendees for event feedback isn’t just popular, it’s expected. Once your event is over, you can ask your attendees to take more time and think through their favorite parts, and what they’d like to see changed on a bigger scale. Since you want to get as many people to fill out your survey as possible, don’t be afraid to send it to your attendees twice (especially to the unopened subscribers), or incentivize them to answer by awarding prizes.
- One-to-one feedback (especially for smaller groups) — Depending on the size of your group, one-to-one feedback can be a great way to get crystal clear on the intricacies of how certain attendees felt. Communicating with people personally or over email about their experience is great for addressing anyone’s negative feedback, as well as being able to dive in deeper on what they did enjoy.
As you go about asking for feedback, make sure that the answers are coming to you in a way that’s helpful. As Sean at GetFeedback suggests, “Ask questions that deliver measurable data. Follow basic survey best practices to capture reliable info. For example, limit the number of response options to 4-6 per question at most. Too many answer choices can overwhelm respondents and leave you with iffy results.”
Addressing Negative Feedback
While it would be great to have every single attendee leave feeling happy, it might not be a reality (especially if your event has a couple hundred or thousand people.) So while negative feedback is a given, there are ways you can work with it to make it valuable for you, and help your attendees feel well taken care of.
First of all, figure out the depth of the issue. Sometimes, despite all your efforts, something might happen that will leave a few attendees unhappy. While it is inevitable, in order to know if it’s a big enough issue that warrants making a change, you need to figure out how many people were affected. Do your digging to find out the depth of the issue, then weigh your options on whether it will be vital to fix it in the future.
Secondly, always address it. Nothing is worse than your attendees feeling ignored or that their problems don’t matter to you. So make sure that if you receive negative feedback, you have a way of addressing it. If the feedback pertains to a systemic issue throughout your event, send an email or social media post that apologies for the issue. If there are a few individuals, however, make sure to write them personally so that they know they were heard.
Once you’ve gathered all your event feedback together and looked it over, spend some time thinking about how you can use it to make positive changes for your future events. If you hear the same feedback from multiple sources, take time to meet with your team about it and work out a plan to ensure any changes are implemented for next year.
While receiving feedback about your event takes time, it is absolutely essential for creating an experience your attendees will look forward to again. So have fun incorporating new details each year — attendees will love seeing the changes that you’ve made because of their feedback and it’ll allow your event to run smoother and feel better year after year.