Clarity CICs latest blog: “What do you really want to know, and why?” by Sarah Taragon

We regularly feature blogs by Sarah Taragon and Stephen Woollett of Clarity CIC, and author and philanthropy advisor Emma Beeston of the Emma Beeston Consultancy.

Today’s blog is by Sarah and considers what information not-for-profit organisations really want to receive from their feedback forms.

What do you really want to know, and why?

“I recently received a request from a service I’d used to complete a feedback form.  The content of the email appeared to suggest that if I were thinking of scoring less than ‘10’ on their ‘would you recommend us’ question, I should email them instead.  They are bench-marked on that question.

“Although they are asking the question, they don’t really want the answer.  They want only the answers that will make them look good against their comparators. 

“I also recently watched an episode of ‘New Amsterdam’ (a US hospital show). In the episode, they were asking patients to score the departments.  The manager pulled up the team who had received ‘10’ across the board, and suggested they were asking the ‘wrong’ questions.  He was looking to see how things could be improved and if the questions asked were only receiving 10s, then there was no space to change and to improve.

“With the organisations we work with, feedback is often outstanding – mainly 5 out of 5s (and truly, many of them are providing an excellent service).  We also find that if we ask people “what don’t you like”, they tend to respond with “nothing”.  But if we ask them “what could be done better” or “what would improve the service for you” or “do you have ideas about what else could be offered”, then we do get ideas and responses. 

If you’re asking questions, do think really deeply about what you want to know, and why you want to ask.  And if you’d like some help with this, do get in touch!”

Clarity CIC enables social purpose organisations, including community groups, charities and social enterprises to be effective, sustainable and well-run. It helps organisations solve everyday problems, build their own capability, think and act strategically and demonstrate the value of their work.