Top Tips for Data Collection
Some sites report that staff and volunteers are unfamiliar with the VisitorVerdict study and so are a little reluctant to approach visitors for their email address.
To turn this reluctance into enthusiasm, it might help to talk staff through the survey in its entirety and outline what the museum hopes to gain from the results. You can explain how the insights will help with such things as improving customer experience and supporting funding strategy. Adam Ogelsby from The Galleries of Justice states that sites can go one step further by sharing the end results and the insight gathered from the survey to get the staff completely on board.
Some sites have reported that incentivising staff has improved data collection. At The Ceredigion Museum, staff are given a target for the number of emails to collect, while The Galleries of Justice runs a friendly in-house competition with rewards for the highest number of email addresses. Both sites have seen an increase in enthusiasm amongst staff in collecting email addresses, resulting in an increase in data collection.
Sites report that the level of engagement and customer service provided throughout a visit will positively impact data collection. As Chris Wright from The Greenfield Valley says, “Ask with a smile and you’ll get a yes!”
Sara Brown from the Ely Museum believes the personal touch provided by staff members helps keep data collection high. It may sound simple, but staff members at this site are all trained to say “Hello” and “Goodbye” to visitors and engage with them throughout their visit. Sara believes this has had a positive impact on the site’s history of solid data collection.
As well as the positive attitude, it is important to explain why visitors should take part in the survey. Staff at the Fry Art Gallery tend to explain how their participation in the survey will help with funding opportunities and development of the museum.
Adam Ogelsby from the Galleries of Justice sums this up nicely. He thinks that when asking for visitors’ email it is important to remember it is an ‘appeal to assist’ and that visitors need to know that their opinion is highly valued and their participation will be of enormous help to the museum.
In today’s world people are flooded with post, emails, phone calls and text messages because they happened to give an organisation their details ages ago. Site visitors may hesitate to provide their email address to yet another appealing organisation.
Ruth Dewdney from the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre believes that it is imperative to inform visitors that they will only be contacted a maximum of 2 times in regards to the survey. This should increase their likelihood of providing their email address.
The VisitorVerdict certificate, clearly displayed may also help promote recognition of VisitorVerdict and emphasise that the survey is not a marketing exercise.
Sites are placing increasing importance on word of mouth via social media. Visitors are now encouraged to tweet about their experience, post their photos on Instagram, ‘like’ the site’s Facebook page or write a review on Trip Advisor. After being asked to do all of the above a visitor may feel slightly bombarded and less inclined participate in an online survey.
In this case it is perhaps a good idea to ‘pick your battles’. You may not need to ask visitors to tweet, post, ‘like’ or review. Instead encourage them to do one or two of these, leaving energy for them to participate in the online survey.