I use the word "effective" a lot in the context of building a customer feedback program.
As in, "to build an effective survey you should...." or, "effective customer feedback programs usually have....." or, "that's not an effective survey technique."
"Effective" is something we all want our surveys to be, but how do you know if your survey is effective or not?
"Effective" just means that something has the desired outcome or effect. So an effective survey is simply one which achieves its goals.
It seems like stating the obvious, but if you don't have a good handle on why you're conducting a customer survey, it's unlikely you're going to get much out of the process.
So the first step in trying to understand whether your survey is effective is clearly stating the goals of the process. Some common goals are:
- To track opinions about the customer service level month-to-month (a common, if not very ambitious, goal)
- To coach and train employees based on customer feedback
- To identify customer pain points and broken business processes
- To validate changes or improvements to the customer experience
Once you know what the goals of the program are, it's usually pretty easy to determine whether the survey is effective or not. What to do about an ineffective survey is a different issue, though often if the goals are well-understood, it's also pretty clear why a survey isn't meeting those goals (i.e. not enough data, not enough detail, data is not timely enough, surveys can't be connected to specific experiences, etc.).
But more often than not, the root cause of an ineffective survey is simply that it's not clear what the survey was supposed to accomplish in the first place.
So if you're trying to build an effective survey program, the first step is to make sure everyone understands what the goals are. Without that, you don't even know what "effective" is.