Feedback Gathering: Should You Do It Externally

January 8, 2018

For many companies, feedback gathering is done internally. There are good reasons for this: it’s cheaper than having an external company doing it, and you probably know your employees better than some company brought in to collect feedback data. Nevertheless, there are some clear disadvantages with internal feedback data gathering that warrant attention.

The first disadvantage is that, if this is your first time writing a survey, you might struggle to develop questions that provoke useful answers. Your own biases may result in creating questions that merely confirm that bias rather than provide a real response. Then there’s the problem of the company itself collating and analysing this data: Unless the data is significantly anonymised from the start, and that’s made clear to your employees, it’s a lot harder for employees to tell you hard truths. It’s easy to visualise a witch hunt occurring as a result of an employee delivering scathing criticism, even if it’s valid criticism.

In short, the in-house feedback data gathering method is by far the cheapest method, but comes with many more risks due to not being designed by professional data gathering companies who know the usual pitfalls in writing a survey. It’s entirely possible that the data you get is useless or just tells you what you already know, wasting your time and your money.

The other option is getting your feedback from third parties. Many businesses choose a company specialising in collecting and processing customer and employee feedback for a set price. One thing that can be guaranteed is that people will be more honest. When it’s clear that your superiors aren’t handling your surveys, people lose that fear of getting disciplined for talking about problems in the company.

Another thing that external data gathering can do for you is make sure the questions are relevant to your organisation, preventing the problem of getting worthless, vague or redundant data. As such, getting feedback won’t be a lost cause like it can be with internal data gathering. All reputable data gathering services also anonymise your data thoroughly to protect your business and your employees from having their information stolen.

External companies can also provide ‘soft intelligence’, or the little details that your customers or employees might not report due to the time or effort it takes. While small, these problems can build up and significantly affect how satisfied they are with the company. Especially in large companies, soft intelligence is important to prevent simple problems like a dirty restroom or a malfunctioning vending machine from becoming a major hassle.

The biggest asset internal data gathering has over external is that it’s cheap, but lacking some expertise in writing surveys can make it all for naught. External data gathering is certainly expensive, but you get what you pay for. Some of these companies work with companies with up to 9000 employees and still manage to get concise yet informative results, and work to professional standards to ensure your survey remains anonymous and precise.

At Soft Intelligence, we’re passionate about gathering customer feedback and ‘soft intelligence’ from your clients and customers, transforming it into straightforward and accurate data that turns the hassle of feedback processing into a breeze. Take a look at our consumer mobile apps and see if your company would benefit from them.

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