As an event planner or organizer, your work isn’t done just because all of the guests have left the venue. Soon after the event it over, you’ll want to follow up with guests by sending them a satisfaction survey. Doing so will provide invaluable information that can be used to improve and enhance future events.

Incentivize Submissions

Not every guest who attended the event is going to complete a follow-up survey — and that’s okay. Depending on how many people attended your event, a response rate of 20-40% should provide sufficient feedback. While you can’t force a guest to complete the survey, you can encourage them to do so by offering some type of incentive. If guests receive a reward, they’ll feel more inclined to complete the survey.

The secret to incentivizing survey submissions, however, is to offer the right type of reward. One study found that incentivizing surveys with a chance to win a prize increased response rates by just 4%, whereas incentivizing surveys with a tangible prize (not just a chance to win) yielded a 13% higher response rate.

Timing Matters

Don’t wait until a week after the event to send guests a follow-up survey. Guests may forget about the event, disregarding the survey as nothing more than a commercial advertisement. The longer you wait to send it, the lower your response rate will be. Furthermore, sending follow-up surveys in a timely manner will yield better quality responses, as the event will still be fresh on everyone’s mind. A good rule of thumb is to send follow-up surveys within 48 hours of the event for a maximum response.

Ask ‘Scaled’ Questions

Instead of asking guests basic yes-or-no questions, use a scaling system to improve the value of their feedback, such as “on a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the event?” Scaled questions such as this allow for more narrow answers, further enhancing the value provided by guests. In comparison, asking a non-scaled question like “were you satisfied with the event?” isn’t as beneficial.

Creating an Event Follow-Up Survey

Now that you know a little bit about what to include a follow-up survey, you might be wondering how exactly to create them. You really have one of two different options: you can create the survey from scratch, or you can use software like the ones offered at SurveyMonkey and SurveyGizmo to create it. You’ll typically have to pay for survey creation software — or at least to access all of the features — but most event planners agree that it’s well worth the investment.