A Satisfaction Measurement Program for the Professional Society

The Challenge
The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development approached Beacon Technologies with a challenge. Could society members evaluate the 1999 Annual Education Conference using the nTouchsm survey method? In the past, conference evaluations were conducted using paper and pencil surveys. Response rates were very low, and the method required the vendor to scan each form, tabulate the results and produce a written report. Reports typically were delivered several months after the conference ended.

The Society asked Beacon Technologies to design a program structure for society members to provide overall conference evaluations. The Society wanted high quality information, improved response rates and quick reporting.

The Solution
Beacon Technologies developed a program that incorporated two survey areas:

  • Conference evaluations on various dimensions
  • Information regarding future annual conferences

Program Design
Beacon designed a survey program using the nTouch method that offered each of 900-plus conference attendees an opportunity to provide their opinions of various aspects of the Education Conference. Each member provided additional comments regarding the topics and components they wanted included in future conferences and rated their likelihood of attending the next conference.

We designed a comprehensive survey (20 questions) covering the four key topic areas and included four open-ended questions providing the members an opportunity to offer opinions on topics not specifically covered in the core question areas.

An incentive of a free phone card was provided to encourage participation in the survey process.

Program Implementation
The Beacon nTouch program developed for the Society consisted of ten key implementation steps.

  1. Beacon designed the survey topics and structured valid questions.
  2. Society approved the question areas and wording.
  3. Beacon developed the nTouch survey program platform and field-tested the questions.
  4. Beacon developed a custom-designed program invitation using the Society conference theme and graphics. [View Invitation]
  5. Beacon and the Society designed a sampling scheme and distribution method to assure a representative sample of members.
  6. Society member IDs were used for access codes; merged into the nTouch platform.
  7. Members received an invitation delivered in their hotel room the evening before the general session.
  8. Beacon introduced the survey program to members during the General Session.
  9. Beacon staff available to assist members with questions.
  10. Survey period was completed; responses were compiled, analyses performed and report written.

The nTouch program operations consist of two components: the public system and back-office operations. During a typical survey program, the client staff would distribute a custom-designed survey invitation folder to each customer. For this conference, Society staff distributed a survey invitation to each member attending the Annual Conference. The invitations were distributed to members in their hotel room the evening before the end of the conference. The invitation was designed to encourage members to participate in the survey process offering their opinions and suggestions regarding such areas as education session content, speaker evaluations, comments regarding meeting facilities, the hotel and amenities. Members were asked to provide comments on a range of topics regarding what they liked and disliked most about the conference, suggestions for topics to be included in future conferences and their likelihood of attending the 2000 Annual Conference.

The survey invitation [View Invitation] included a cover letter from the Society president. Inside the invitation included easy-to-follow instructions for completing the survey. Members called a dedicated toll-free number to access the survey system, and entered their member number (ensures system security). Member demographic information was linked within the nTouch system. Membership numbers were accepted once preventing multiple survey completions.

The system serves up the custom-designed survey; the member responds using their touch-tone telephone keypad. Because the nTouch system uses the latest touch-tone and interactive voice response (IVR) the member can also speak their responses. Each question is offered for response: the members' opinions are captured and placed in the database used to tabulate, analyze and produce written reports for the Society.

Program Results
Invitations were distributed on the third day of the conference. The first responses were received by the nTouch system within two hours of the invitation distribution. Within three days, the response rate was 49 percent of those attending the conference. Within two weeks, the final responses were captured and tabulated.The final response rate was 67 percent - three times the response rate of previous conferences.

The survey responses and expectations of Society management were exceeded. Board and executive management were very satisfied with the response rate, the depth and quality of the information captured, and the presentation of the results. Results were presented in a clear, easy to read and understand format. The graphical presentation will allow comparison of members' opinions regarding future conferences and help the Society improve the content and arrangements of conference offerings.

"The Beacon nTouch approach is the best member feedback system we have used to assess our members' opinions of our educational offerings, and pinpoint their conferences and service needs. Using nTouch, we no longer handle paper surveys, our total responses have increased, and our results arrive faster and in an easy-to-use format. Our board members were really impressed."

Paula Szyper, Associate Director
Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development

View Invitation

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