It is common for child care programs to have family satisfaction surveys that are sent out periodically. Some programs have a comment box or an open-door policy that families can use to share their concerns and feedback with program staff. Unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable sharing their concerns through these methods. This might be due to past experiences when nothing was done in response to a shared concern. Other people avoid confrontation and simply disenroll, perhaps citing financial or logistical reasons for the departure.
For these reasons, and more, it is important to establish several different avenues of communication for folks who have different preferences and experiences. There is no shortage of tools that providers can use to create and deploy surveys, including Google Forms or products like SurveyMonkey.
The use of these products is recommended, but to ensure that families respond, it is important to establish a culture of collaboration where, from the first day of enrollment, feedback is elicited and encouraged.
Here are some practices to consider:
The timing of requests for feedback/survey deployment.
In some cases, you will want to gather feedback immediately after an event or touchpoint with a family. Directly after enrollment may be a good time to ask families for feedback about the enrollment process, including how well-prepared they felt for their child’s first day. You may also ask for feedback directly after an open house or other event hosted by the program.
In other cases, timing might not play a crucial role in when you ask for feedback. For example, asking for feedback on the outdoor play experiences that the program offers could be gathered at any time of year.
Who is invited to provide feedback?
When considering whom to ask for feedback, it is just as important to elicit information from people who were unable to attend an event as it is to ask for feedback from participants. This should be done in a second survey, with a different set of questions. Doing so may help you identify barriers to participation that you had not thought about when scheduling the event.
Likewise, asking for feedback from families who are no longer enrolled in the program might provide important information about concerns that were not raised when the family was enrolled. If you are not in the practice of surveying disenrolled families, consider developing a survey specific to this population.
Survey frequency and style.
It is recommended that programs use a variety of surveys to engage families. Avoid sending the exact same survey every time you ask for feedback unless your sole objective is to compare satisfaction levels month over month.
Use a combination of online and paper surveys. Text families a survey one month, send home a paper survey the next month and include a survey in the program’s newsletter the following month.
Get creative with surveys – Delighted.com offers simple smiley face and thumbs up or down surveys that can provide a quick and simple temperature check that you may find appropriate for some of your events. In other cases, you may decide that more information is needed.
Keep in mind, using simple surveys can help you establish that culture of collaboration, so be sure to use them as part of your overall satisfaction-measuring strategy.
Create a schedule for deploying surveys based on upcoming events and other program features that you want to highlight. The schedule should be organized so that there is a consistent pattern of asking for feedback.
Reflect on the type of feedback you want in order to determine the best method of getting that feedback. Part of that reflection should also focus on the types of questions you want to ask, which we will explore in another section of the newsletter.
Topics to cover.
The topics covered in your satisfaction measurements should vary as much as the type of surveys you deploy. Ask fun survey questions regularly, such as How excited are you for the weekend?, which can be collected on a dry-erase board near the front door. Remember, you are trying to open lines of communication. Families may be more willing to come to you with big concerns if you have shown interest in the little things.
Be sure to send out a reminder for folks to complete the survey. You can also mention it to families as they pick up or drop off their children. Find that balance between reminding and pestering. Show genuine appreciation when surveys are completed.
You may decide to boost engagement with a prize of some sort that is given at random to someone who has completed the survey. With permission, announce these prize winners on social media, on lobby signage, or in an upcoming program communication or newsletter.
Ensuring anonymity can also boost returns, so consider the benefits of gathering feedback without names attached.
For the main article Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction, CLICK HERE
For the article Questions to Ask, CLICK HERE
For the article Responding to Feedback, CLICK HERE
For the article Director’s Corner: Measuring Teacher Satisfaction, CLICK HERE