There are many ways to monitor what your customers think about your services, and focus groups can be a really important part of the mix, giving you an unrivalled source of detail and helping to inform your questioning. There’s a place for focus groups in every organisation’s strategic plan for monitoring customer satisfaction. How can they work for you?
What are focus groups?
Quick reminder: they’re a representative group of your residents, gathered in a comfortable room with a trained facilitator and either someone taking notes or a recording device. Over the course of an hour or so, you’ll get fascinating, independent insights into what your residents are thinking which it’s hard to get any other way. They are an incredibly valuable method of getting customer satisfaction data.
How might you use a focus group?
There are several ways in which we at Acuity tend to use focus groups with our clients.
- The first is to help refine the right questions for telephone, online or postal surveys. How do you know you’ve got the right questions? It’s good practice to run focus groups with your residents to find out what the most important issues are to them.
- It’s also good practice to build that into your cycle of surveying so that you use focus groups regularly, discovering what’s changed.
- Another option for focus groups is to use them after you’ve carried out a survey; you may have a wealth of quantitative data – but need to drill down for more specific detail. You might have discovered that your residents are very unhappy about a particular aspect of your service, for instance, but not why.
What do you need to consider?
However you use a focus group, it’s important that it fits into your customer satisfaction cycle. Also, there are ways to get the very best out of the investment. These include:
- having a trained facilitator
- paying travel/childcare expenses to participants
- inviting more residents than you actually need to the session (as some will almost inevitably drop out)
How can we help you?
If focus groups aren’t already part of your repertoire, it’s well worth thinking carefully about how they would fit into your overall resident satisfaction cycle, and talking to us about how they could support your needs. It’s also worth talking to us if you are already using focus groups because there might be benefits to doing things in a slightly different way.
As always, we’d be delighted to help and offer an independent, expert assessment of your service, which is the most valuable information you can have. Every housing association is different, and we’re very experienced at accommodating that, and using our many years of experience and accumulated data to help you get – and use – the information you need. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help, please do contact us to discuss the possibilities.