What Works When Conducting a Lobby Survey

Many agencies are interested in conducting what are commonly known as on-site lobby surveysnamed for the fact that most potential survey respondents are approached in the lobby of the building or apartment where they work or live. These types of surveys are used when we'd like information on how an organization  is handling a certain aspects of the customer experience. Most often we see comment cards on tables that say Tell us how we are doing! or something similar.

If you want to conduct a lobby questionnaire here are some tips to keep in mind to make your effort a successful one:

• Have some sort of log, checklist or spreadsheet to keep track of what is sent where.

• Have an outlook of "minimal impact" on the company's employees - think of them as respondents, too, not your staff. They have a job to do above and beyond what you're asking.

• Work closely with someone on-site where the surveys will be distributed. If you are a consultant for the company, get the support of the managers/bosses at the sites.

• Think about pre-numbering the questionnaires using a coding scheme that indicates which location the piece was placed at and a unique individual number. You shouldn't rely on respondents to check a box saying where they picked up the survey.

• It is possible to think about a selection process for times of day or people who come in the door. Select an appropriate survey sampling method, such as selecting every nth person to be handed the survey is a common process for lobby surveys.

• Print paper questionnaires on the back of an over-sized postcard with a business reply permit for delivery. This simplifies placement (no envelopes needed) and encourages clients to take the forms with them to mail later. Keep the survey simple, it should only be a few key questions.

Remember, you can also set up a kiosk survey system to avoid the transcribing (data entry) and other costs associated with a paper survey method. Survey kiosk software allows you to build an electronic survey, that always takes you back to the first page so new respondents can complete the survey.
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