Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post.
Did you teach a course to a group recently? Have you ever made a presentation before your co-workers? Do you usually write and distribute reports? If yes, did you bother to ask your colleagues their feedback or opinion about how it went?
From a more commercial or business perspective, do you ask your customers their opinion about the products or services you provide? Do you have some sort of standard questionnaire available to your customers?
Asking for opinions, feedback, gathering assessments about your work constitutes, in my opinion, the most powerful tool in our way to excellence.
If your answer has been no, trust me, you are losing out on a lot of information that your colleagues or clients would gladly provide you. Remember: no questions asked, no answers given.
Why You Should Ask for Feedback
There are several reasons you should ask for feedback about your job:
Reason # 1. You will know in which places you’ve failed or points to improve. How else do you expect to know how to do better the next time?
Reason # 2. You project great professionalism.
Reason # 3. You will earn some points with your bosses. If you work in a corporative environment, your superiors will see in you a professional who cares for making a better job each time.
Reason # 4. Having others’ opinions will strengthen your arguments and will help you to easily communicate with your collaborators of what exactly is expected from them.
Reason # 5. When you send someone a feedback request, you make them see that their opinion matters to you; establishing that type of relationship in a professional environment is very important.
Reason # 6. Feedback is a way of contact. When somebody answers your feedback request, a new level of contact is being established, may be one that did not exist before. In other words, you are establishing an honest and productive contact with other professional or customer.
Make Feedback Easy for Everyone
The simplest way of getting answers is through a questionnaire, and you don’t need a master’s degree to design one: A simple scoring field from 1 to 5 and another one for comments is more than enough to know the assessment on each aspect you wish to know (quality of the materials, seminar extension, etc).
Distributing the questionnaires in paper is one option, but it would definitely be simpler for everybody to use online forms. Also, you avoid transcription mistakes in the results, there are no geographic limitations and you make it possible to obtain answers faster.
Tools for Generating Online Forms
There are tools that facilitate creating surveys as online forms which can be filled out through a web browser. They also allow to customize the look of the forms and questionnaires and to easily integrate them to the web.
You have tons of online tools; the one I’m presenting here is HTMLform.com that together with WordPress allows you to create and present questionnaires in an elegant and very simple way, with professional results. It is also 100% free.
What Is HTMLform.com
HTMLform.com is an online application that allows you to generate forms and surveys with features:
1. Once you have designed your form or survey, you get a downloadable file to make it work online.
2. There’s no need to log in and it’s completely free. Because of this, there’s no need for you to get any license or to convince your purchase department of doing so.
3. The data is stored on your company’ server. This is something important since a lot of people are reluctant to using online services and sharing their personal information because of security and privacy reasons.
4. Once you install a form or questionnaire, you have an interesting tool for visualizing data that will even show you bar charts to summarize the different appreciations, which will make the results much more understandable. You may also export the results to a spreadsheet.
5. You can receive notifications via e-mail instantly with all the data is completed by those who polled. Likewise, those who polled can receive the confirmation of the delivery of their data.
6. You have a support forum to solve any issue.
Why Combine with WordPress
You can install the forms and surveys generated by HTMLform.com on any web or corporative intranet. You don’t need any content designer or specific software for this.
1. Installing the forms over WordPress is the simplest and fastest way offered for those who don’t have technical knowledge to publish and manage as many questionnaires as they want with complete freedom.
2. WordPress admits endless possibilities. You can use it solely to present the questionnaires in independent pages, though it may be very interesting to publish the results of the surveys, complementary information, etc.
3. You can give your WordPress page the style you wish, thanks to the huge variety of themes it offers. If you are going to use WordPress exclusively to publish your questionnaires, my advice is that you install a free distribution theme that is as minimalist as possible, like Modern.
Publishing and Distributing Your Survey
Perfect, you have created your first questionnaire, you have downloaded it to your computer, you have your WordPress ready with your username and administrator password, you have installed the questionnaire adding it as a plug-in and you have published it in a post or page that you’ve named “Satisfaction Survey: Seminar”.
The only thing left is to send the URL to each one of the addressees of the questionnaire from the WordPress page where you’ve published it. For this, you may use e-mails or any other means your company uses, like collaboration tools, instant messengers, etc. . . and that’s it!
As you receive the results, you’ll be notified via e-mail and you may check them in the statistics page. If you want, once the reception time is over, you may publish the results in your WordPress.
A Word on Questionnaires for Feedback
Based on my experience with surveys and questionnaires, I would like to finish this article with some simple advice:
- State the reason of the survey. Dedicate some lines to explain why you need to make a survey. You may include this in the e-mail where you send the questionnaire, in the questionnaire itself, or in an independent page.
- Give a concrete and not excessively long period for completing the survey.
- Your survey has to be attractive to fill out. Starting with the title, something like “Quick Survey. . .” followed by subjects that need to be clear and concrete.
- If you are not sure on how to cover all the possible answers for a matter, present a simple series of appreciations ranging from 1 to 5, for example.
- Pepper the questionnaire with a bit of sense of humor for an added refreshing effect.
- Don’t make your survey extremely long; focus on key aspects.
- At the end, include a question of global appreciation and a field where to gather any comments on things that may have not been covered by any of the presented issues.
- Include contact fields for those who polled, at least name, and the e-mail address.
- In some cases, it may be necessary to give the option of filling out the questionnaire anonymously.
- In the footer, include an e-mail address or a telephone number in case of doubts with regards to the questionnaire.
- If it is appropriate, announce that the statistical results will be published immediately among participants. This will encourage them to fill it out. Never publish the free comments—just statistics regarding the appreciations.
How do you ask for feedback for your business? Got more feedback tips to share?
Photo Credit: Official GDC via Flickr.
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