5 Steps to Design Community Survey Using Google Docs

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5 Steps and Quick Tips to Design Your Community Feedback Survey

Sample Online Community Survey. Ann Augustine.

Community engagement is an ongoing challenge for managers. As content curator, you want to ensure members are actively participating and keep coming back. A community feedback survey is one sure measure to understand where improvements or new interests can be developed further (see King Arthur Flour's story).

Collecting feedback is essentially the same approach whether you're managing an intranet portal or external member community.

Here are five steps and quick tips to design a survey and collect feedback using Google Docs. There are other survey tools you can use, and possibly your collaboration productivity tool includes a template.

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Select a Survey Template

Google Docs Template Gallery.

From the Google Docs template page, begin like you would create a new document but instead navigate to the Template Gallery. Search for survey template and select it.

You can create your own template, but using a template already formatted is the quickest way to get started.

For this example, I chose the Intake Survey Template. The elements of the template can be customized to suit your survey design needs. For example, you can add your company logo and change the questions. Experiment a little and you'll be surprised what you may come up with.

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Prepare Survey Questions

Google Docs. Edit Form.

Edit the questions in the survey template. Google Docs is intuitive so you’ll see the edit function's pencil icon readily available as you hover over each question.

Keep in mind your questions need to clearly address your members concerns. Only a few basic questions are necessary.

Think like you’re one of the participants. Don’t expect the participant to spend a lot of time on the survey. Ensure the survey can be completed as quickly as possible, which is another reason to keep it short and simple.

Delete extra questions.

Save the survey form.

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Send Survey Form to Members

Google Docs. Edit Form/Email this form.

From your survey page, select Email this form. You'll notice two red circles in the example above.

A - Send an email directly from the survey form. This step simply requires entering email addresses or choosing from contacts if you're storing email addresses in Google Docs. Then, select Send. The survey form, including the introduction, is emailed to your participating members.

Otherwise, you may want to try the second method.

B - Send the URL from another source as an embedded link, as shown next.

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Alternate Step - Embed Link

Google Docs. Edit Form/copy URL at bottom of form.

Embed either the complete URL (B, circled in red, shown in previous step) or shortened link into a social media message or other source depending on where you expect members to respond to your survey request.

In this step, I’ve created a shortened bit.ly link. This is only suggested if you’re intending to track survey views.

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Participants Complete Survey

Smart phone web browser. Ann Augustine.

Any web browser that participating members have access to can be used to complete the survey. Shown is a web browser on a smart device.

Because you’ve designed a short survey, participants may be inclined to complete it.

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Analyze Survey Results

Google Docs. Documents/Sample Online Community Survey. Ann Augustine.

In the Google Docs spreadsheet form, the backend of your survey, participant responses are automatically populated into each of the question columns.

When you have a concentration of responses, the data will have better significance. For example, if two out of 50 responses were unfavorable, the two responses are usually not enough to make a change. Possibly there is some other reason for the unfavorable responses, but certainly keep track of them.

Next, change to the summary view, as shown in the red circle.

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Survey Summary - Next Steps

Google Docs. Documents/Show summary of responses.

Share the survey summary with your team or committee to talk about the results. Have different team members voice their concerns before deciding to make any changes.

How often do you conduct a member survey? As an example, customer service organizations conduct surveys every time a customer problem is solved to ensure their benchmarks are being met.

Now you can bookmark these community survey steps and tips for the next time you’re preparing a survey.