Share the Wealth

My team members and I are big fans of the music streaming service Spotify. We’re always sending each other new songs or building playlists together. This is because Spotify makes it easy for users to find and share exciting music — both new and old.

Like Spotify, our Engage platform has a number of innovative features that make it easy for our users to share and collaborate with friends, colleagues and supervisors. You can email one of our dazzling reports, as well as post a link to it on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Sharing reports is a great way to keep team members up to date on the progress of your survey responses because they can view data and statistics in real time.

In addition to these features, you can also give your users a high-level overview of your results by posting charts on your account page. This is a great way to display demographic information such as age range and residency, among others.

The built-in sharing functionality of our platform increases workplace efficiency, productivity and collaboration, while promoting transparency and trust among customers and clients. Creating a culture around information sharing empowers decision-making based on verifiable results.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t just use our platform to design, distribute and analyze your surveys; use it to share the wealth!

Put Your Sunscreen On

I recently attended my little sister’s modest college graduation. Given the short ceremony, the speakers were still able to elicit a few tears among the assembled. As a fan of a good graduation speech, I appreciated much of what they said. During a later discussion of the afternoon’s events, the classic “Sunscreen” speech came up.

Why sunscreen? Well, because it works.

I’ve always loved the staccato rhythm of this speech. But, more importantly, I love its simplicity and the author’s focus on what matters in life. It’s powerful because — like the best advice — the words teach you how to take care of yourself and the people around you.

In that vein, here are a few takeaways from a Forbes article that posits some commandments for professional life. While it specifically addresses leaders, I believe these suggestions also apply to would-be leaders. Think of it as a graduation speech for the corporate world.

According to the article, leaders should:

  1. Take care of their employees
  2. Empower their people
  3. Eliminate negative politics in their organizations
  4. Be trustworthy
  5. Recognize their people

This mirrors much of what we intuitively know. If you show loyalty and compassion to others, you’ll receive the same in kind. So — whether in your personal or professional life — always remember to take stock of the good things, take care of your people and plan for the future.

And don’t forget your sunscreen.

You Never Know Til You Try

For some time now, my team has been writing and recording training videos for internal and external use. While I had written a few scripts — because I’m usually very busy with support — producing videos was a secondary task rather than a major priority.

Recently, my supervisor took a vacation. This forced me out of my comfort zone in a number of ways — mainly, I had to quickly become competent at video production. I wrote the scripts for two internal training videos that were needed immediately, and for the first time, I had to sit down and record them myself. Through trial and error, I quickly learned what worked and what didn’t. Although I went back to the drawing board a few times, I eventually discovered an efficient way to finish the videos.

Recording each video took less than two attempts. When I sent them to my supervisor, her reaction was overwhelmingly positive. She continues to tell me how excited she is about the job I did.

I definitely wasn’t expecting this kind of response; it just goes to show that you never know what you’re good at til you try.

Keep on Pushing Through

While March was the busiest and most stressful month I’ve had in my limited time here, I learned some very important lessons. Most importantly, I discovered there’s probably nothing my team won’t do to keep our clients happy.

Let me explain.

In December 2012, we signed a lot of new clients. In January and February of this year, all of our managed clients were developing and preparing to launch their surveys. In March, many of these big projects went live. And, in the midst of all this, one of our major clients implemented a technical restriction that rendered the system nearly inoperable for all of their users.

During this period, I was replying to twice the normal amount of email support requests, while spending the rest of my days on the phone with clients or working with the engineering team to resolve multiple serious problems.

There were a few days when the stress of keeping up left me emotionally and physically exhausted. Even then, knowing the next day would only bring more of everything would constantly weigh on my mind. Support took up 100% of my time; there was no room for any other projects. And I was far from the only one feeling the pressure.

But we had to get it done.

Everyone on my team pushed themselves to ensure that each client received the outstanding support we’ve become known for. We eventually found a solution to the technical restriction plaguing that one client and the rest of our big projects were successfully launched.

My point is, we feel your pain. As our client, your work is our work and, when things are broken and your back is against the wall, ours is too. So when it comes to providing you with the solutions you need, we don’t give up and make excuses. We just keep on pushing through.

Engage and Innovate

I love talking about our office projects and events, especially when I discuss how we use our survey platform, Engage, to plan nearly everything. As a member of the Happiness Committee and Product Committee, I see firsthand how useful Engage is — it allows you to keep everybody informed and organized.

Recently, the Happiness Committee, or “HapCom,” planned an internal Chili Cook-Off. So I created a survey that served as a registration page for people who wanted to make chili and those who would bring side items. During the event, I distributed a survey asking my colleagues to rank their favorite chili recipes. And, when voting was done, I ran a quick Bar Graph report that let me almost instantly determine the contest winners.

As a member of the Product Committee, or “ProdCom” as I like to call it, I’m the point of contact for all feature requests and system issues for clients and employees. To streamline the process of recording and sending these requests to our engineering team, I created a form that everyone can use. By enabling Rules & Alerts, I receive a copy of every submitted ticket, which I then send to the engineers. I use the collected data to trace ticket origins and filter responses based on request types. This becomes incredibly useful when we’re choosing features for the next release.

While these are definitely innovative uses of our survey platform, by far the most “important” way we use surveys internally is to stock our snack closet. Every two months, our administrative assistant sends a multiple text box question to the entire office asking for our snack requests. She then runs a verbatim report and uses the responses as the shopping list.

Honestly, I love having Engage as an internal resource — we’re always finding inventive ways to use the platform. I encourage you to also “engage” and innovate.

Off the Beaten Path

Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovering resources or information.

Many times, we are afraid to explore anything new or unfamiliar. Whether it’s because of a fear of failure or a lack of experience, we often fall into easy and comfortable patterns, especially when it comes to new technologies.

Although our Engage platform is quite intuitive, some clients haven’t taken full advantage of its best features, resulting in more work than is necessary.

For instance, I sometimes get calls from users afraid to explore the Export Manager Tab. Why, they ask, are their multiple-select check box answers clumped into one cell in the file when they run Response Table reports and export to Excel?

The answer is that they’re making extra work for themselves. If you simply want to view responses in Excel, just venture over to the Export Manager tab and use the Excel button.

Forcing yourself to investigate unknown sections of the platform, like the Training Tab or the User Guide, can end up making your life much easier. You may even find that utilizing our Power Reports or List Manager could save you and your company hours of work.

Now, go forth and explore!

Know Your Audience

Everyone likes to laugh, and once in a while you may take a stab at being the funny one by the water cooler. We’ve all been there — a situation mirrors something from your favorite TV show, and you take a stab at a funny anecdote. But if your audience isn’t familiar with the reference, your joke falls flat.

Whether you’re telling a joke, providing instructions or helping a client troubleshoot an issue, you have to know your audience.

Recently, we received a call from a client who thought something was wrong with the system because she had only received a couple of responses to her survey — despite sending it to 10,000 people. After reviewing the technical side, it was determined that many people were receiving and opening the survey, but they were dropping out after a short time.

So then we took a look at the survey itself. It was cluttered, wordy and completely unappealing. The worst part — the target audience was senior citizens in assisted living facilities. Not only was it likely that these participants were unfamiliar with computers, but there’s a good chance many are visually impaired as well.

It became very clear why so few had completed the survey.

So, before you start designing your survey, know your audience. Then choose font, color and wording accordingly and watch your response rates soar.