Face-to-face, telephone or email?

When choosing how to engage and gather feedback, here are five things to consider. They will ensure you get the best value out of the process and the insight you need to drive success for your business.



Different stakeholders will have different preferences, priorities and ways of engaging. How can you get the best out of your survey group, do you need a range of methods, and do you want to ask the same questions or tailor them to the individuals?



What do we want to know and what method will help us gather the data and insight we need? Email can have a poor response rate, especially with external stakeholders or employees who are disengaged – precisely the ones you need to hear from. Telephone means dialogue, allowing for probing to delve into answers and because you can hear how they respond, get a sense of how they feel at the same time. Face-to-face or virtual meetings facilitates a meaningful, focused conversation with no distractions and the benefits of body language.



To gather feedback of course but it might also be to find out everything that needs improving, to show what’s working well, to show you care, to gather as much data as possible, to address an issue or gauge appetite for change. The ‘why’ influences everything – the who, how, what and when.

And it can be a combination too. If you have 200 staff, you might opt for email but also consider phone or face-to-face for your board directors, rising talent or graduates.



Where are the people you want to engage with? If they are all over the world, telephone means you can align calls with time zones. If your workforce is in different places, such as the office, on site or in a manufacturing facility, they might welcome email so they can respond as it suits them.



When does the survey need to be completed and how quickly? If it’s for ISO 9001 compliance, evaluating a planned change for the business or feeding into strategy and planning, there will be a timeframe and a deadline. This might influence how you go about it – for example, you’re more likely to get a telephone call in the diary than a meeting.