When it comes to guest turnout for your event or seminar, it’s not just about the raw numbers. It’s a bit premature to call your event a success just because you acquired a desirable turnout rate. You also have to gauge the attendees’ level of satisfaction because their perception of how the event went has an enormous impact on retention. As the saying goes, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, so loyalty is a factor that cannot be overlooked.
When it comes to your event attendees, don’t just set them loose after the party, follow up with them to find out what their thoughts are. This way, you’ll learn what you can improve on for your next event, thereby improving the chances of the same audience returning for subsequent seminars and product launches, or whatever their event may be.
The Good Ol’ Survey
If you truly want to find out how your attendees felt about the event, just ask them. Just send them a survey via email; it’s simple but effective, so no need to reinvent the wheel here. The question then is determining what kind of questions to ask. Try to be specific rather than just asking one of those generic “how much did you like the event on a scale of 1 to 10” type of questions.
Having trouble coming up with questions of your own? Here are some ideas:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did you enjoy the:
- Speakers and presentations?
For ratings of 5 or below, you can follow up with a question asking what the respondent felt could have been better.
Also give these “yes” or “no” questions a try:
- Do you feel more knowledgeable about the product or company after the event?
- Do you feel like your time at the event was well spent?
- Did you remain at the event for its entire duration?
“Yes” and “no” questions can also have a follow-up question especially if the response was in the negative. If the attendee didn’t stay for the entire duration, for example, then ask “why not?”
You can also ask these “more or less likely” questions:
- After the event, are you more or less likely to use the promoted product or service?
- Would you be more or less likely to attend an event in the future?
- After the event, would you be more or less likely to recommend the product or event to a friend?
You can use these fill-in-the-blank questions as well:
- In one word, how would you describe the event?
- What would you add to the event (e.g. better food, more staffers) to make it better?
- If you were to describe the event to a friend through a tweet, what would you say?
In addition, you can also leave an optional comments section at the end of the survey. This will give respondents an opportunity to leave behind feedback they weren’t able to address with the questions.
How to Increase Attendee Response Rate
Obviously, not everyone is going to respond to the survey. The responses you do get may also not accurately reflect the general consensus since dissatisfied customers are typically more likely to respond to surveys or leave behind a comment in order to vent or share their dismay. You need to achieve a high response rate to get a more fair presentation.
One way to encourage attendees to respond is by offering a small pot of gold for five minute of their time. By “pot of gold,” this means freebies, which can take on many forms, such as:
- Discount codes
- Free 30 day subscription
- Sweepstake entry
- Gift cards
- Free downloadable content, such as a niche-relevant e-book
The incentive should also be relatively inexpensive and have just enough value to make respondents feel like they were adequately rewarded for their time.
In some instances, offering incentives can increase response rate by as much as 326%.
How to Improve Future Events
In the military, officers and noncommissioned officers alike often conduct what is known as an after-action review after a mission or training. This is basically a series of questions asking the troops how well the mission or training went and how it can improve.
Basically, there are only three main questions:
- What went well? (the pros)
- What didn’t go well? (the cons)
- How can it be improved?
Once the survey results are in, disseminate the information with your staff. The questionnaire responses should give you an idea of what the attendees generally liked and didn’t like so much. With the information, you can identify the three points listed above.
If the guests gave the venue a low review, for instance, then you can identify why they didn’t like it. Perhaps the location was inconvenient, or it was too small, or didn’t have enough restrooms.
Customer satisfaction can make or break your business. This is why it is absolutely essential that you know what your guests’ general impressions are after an event. These are the same people that will ultimately make up your customers and clientele, so their opinion makes all the difference.