Quick pulse surveys are conducted on a periodic basis to better understand the experiences of customers or employees, among other constituent groups. While they can take a variety of forms, typically the ones we conduct are short and simple, fast and frequent. Gathering timely feedback to address customer experiences is important but doing so incorrectly can prove ineffective. It is also important to understand that pulse surveys are not meant to replace other, longer surveys such as an annual internal employee engagement survey – they hold a different function.
On one hand, an annual engagement survey is typically around 50 questions and will take 10-20 minutes to complete. They are designed to understand employee engagement and serve as a baseline for change. On the other hand, a pulse survey should just take a few minutes at most for respondents. These allow for feedback, rapid follow up to specific experiences, understanding how changes are improving situations or not, or for assisting in decision making.
Here’s a few best practices:
A pulse survey can range in length, from just four or five questions to as many as fifteen. MDRG designs pulse surveys to be straightforward, with as few questions as possible. This keeps overall costs down for our clients, and, most importantly, increases respondent engagement. Questions should be easy to answer and can be both open or closed ended. Thinking strategically about both the artistic and scientific parts of the mind, our researchers craft questions to elicit actionable insights to inform business decisions.
Quick pulse surveys are just that: quick. From survey design to report delivery, project timelines can be just a few weeks. Although fast, if conducted too frequently with the same audience, engagement will decline. If you plan to conduct pulse surveys with the same audience (employees in a certain department, for example) you should have a less frequent timeline. On the other hand, if your target is less defined (a customer that recently made a purchase, for example) the frequency can be daily, weekly, monthly – as frequent as the purchases are made.
Overall, the main idea backing a pulse survey is to address and improve customer or employee experience issues in a timelier manner. However, it is important to remember the bigger picture. While a quick fix may work, a larger organizational or cultural change may need to take place to prevent the issue or bad experience from happening again or on a larger scale. Don’t use a short survey when you need a fast timeline to answer questions it won’t be able to – it will end up costing you more time and money. Choosing the right methodology for the right time is where we come in.