Benchmarks are a simple, but important part of any business project. You need them to measure success against goals during a project. Discovering benchmarks can be very challenging. What you might think is happening in the business can be very different to what your front-line staff or customers think.
Too many projects fail because they don’t meet the goals for the project. The lack of success in a project is often realized in it being over budget. Another failure can also be seen when end-users don’t recognize improvements. This can make the whole project seem a complete waste of time.
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Tools To Help You Set Benchmarks
Determining benchmarks is challenging when you’re talking about opinions. You’re going to have to make changes that a significant proportion of your audience want in order for the project to be a success. There are certain ways to deal with this, such as looking at feedback given to you by staff/customers/third parties about their interactions with you and determining a common pattern. The problem with this is that people are more likely to complain than to compliment. Therefore, this may not be a true reflection of what your audience want.
In addition to using customer comments as a way to create benchmarks, you might not get all the problems mentioned in feedback. Some customers might simply use another service or others might keep certain aspects to themselves. Therefore, you’re only getting a partial view of the current landscape.
Surveys Are A Great Tool For Benchmarking
Surveys, for instance, are a much better tool for canvassing impressions from a population. You can collect a significant cross section of the relevant population, and from the responses collect an unbiased viewpoint of the group. These can be then used to determine benchmarks for your next project.
For example, say you want to improve your website and you ask visitors about their experience on your site. Some of the respondents might say that the website is too slow. You can use this information to determine that the website needs to speed up. You could also collect responses about other websites they use and see what speeds those websites are.
Tools like GTMetrix and Pingdom can then be used to identify metrics. For instance, if your website loads in about 10 seconds and another website the group likes loads in 6 seconds, you know that you’ve got to reduce the website load time by about four seconds.
Surveys Will Give You Areas To Focus On
Just like in the example above, the survey might not give you a specific goal. Speeding up a website isn’t a SMART goal and so shouldn’t be used. However, it can indicated what respondents want to see from a project and you can use that information to find a better solution.
For example, they wanted a faster website, you find the speed for your website and another website that they like using. Then you have a benchmark for your project.
Another example might be the length of time it takes for your customer service team to answer the phone. If the majority of people say it takes too long for customer services to answer the phone, then you can look into your call answering statistics and benchmark the current call waiting time.
However, some survey results will give you something you can benchmark accurately. For instance, a vast number of respondents might say they visit your shop once a week. This can be a benchmark if you’re trying to get more people to visit your store.
Assessing Whether Goals Have Been Met
Now that you have set benchmarks using surveys, you can progress with your project. Once you’ve completed your project you can test the achievements using surveys. It can be easily done by seeing if more people respond positively to questions. For instance, in the website example, you could see if more of your audience think the website is at a sufficient speed.
This should be in addition to your own tests. Surveys should test the same population in both the pre and post project environments.
In addition to this, you can ask populations, especially staff, if they think the projects have been well managed. This can help you refine your project management processes and help to align staff to changes quicker, which prevents another reason why projects often fail.
Projects are hard to complete and they aren’t going to succeed unless you have good goals that are measurable. These goals should have starting benchmarks in order for you to assess progress on your campaigns. Surveys are a great way for you to develop benchmarks for your latest projects and then test them later on to determine success of the project.
More about surveys:
Find Out How You Can Address Your Employees’ Concerns, click here
10 Tricks For Using Surveys In Business Projects, click here
The Science Behind The Survey, click here
It’s Easy To Engage Your Target Market With Quizzes, click here
How To Make Your Marketing Research So Much Easier, click here