Online vs. in-person event satisfaction surveys

How Can We Help?

For satisfaction surveys of events… what are your thoughts on using online surveys versus surveys handed out at the event? Thanks.

Both can serve a good purpose. You’ll get a higher response rate from the paper survey in the room than asking those people later to answer questions online. Of course, if the event is being live-streamed or webcast, online the most likely format to use. I would also suggest, by the way, going beyond satisfaction questions of events. I’d also ask questions that identify to what extent the event improved people’s knowledge of the topics covered, changed their opinions about the issues, or influenced their likely behaviors (job-related for employees, purchasing-related for customers).

I’ve also used online surveys after events that are sent to all or a random sample of all the stakeholders, whether or not they participated in the event. I first ask everyone some questions related to their knowledge of the topic being covered in the event. Then I ask if they participated in the event.

If they say “no,” they might get one more question about “why not?” and then they’re done. For those who say “yes,” they would get all the additional questions evaluating the event. Doing that for one of my clients showed that employees who participated in a beginning-of-the-year business plan roll-out meeting were three times better informed about strategy than those who did not participate. That shows the value of conducting the meetings in terms of better outcomes.