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Parks and Recreation: Improving Programs One Survey at a Time

Parks and Recreation: Improving Programs One Survey at a Time

Customer SpotlightIf you were to take a quick click on our Customer Spotlight tab, you’d get quite the sampling of small business owners, students (older and younger), teachers, entrepreneurs, designers, even sushi instructors and more.

With that in mind, let’s head to the park, shall we? Local community centers and the great outdoors sounds nice right about now in the dead of winter.

So for our latest customer spotlight, please welcome Susie Hergenrader to the blog. Hergenrader is the Recreation Superintendent of the Plano Parks & Recreation Department and is here to share how her district uses survey data to improve their programs/events satisfaction and measure customer satisfaction.

Welcome, Susie! 

The Plano Parks & Recreation Department enhances the lives of our residents and visitors by offering outstanding parks, trails and facilities, a variety of enriching programs, special events and activities that contribute to the health, well-being and quality of life here in Plano, Texas.

As the Plano community has rapidly grown along with a multitude of nonprofits, the business climate has changed. No longer are we the only game in town. Our residents now have many options to choose from for their recreational needs. If we are to remain viable, it’s important that we better understand the recreational consumer of today.

We also wanted to get an understanding of the general population’s perception regarding municipal recreation facilities, programming, and how individuals go about making choices regarding recreation and leisure.

For those who choose private facilities and programs over public entities for their recreational needs, we wanted to know if their choice was a result of pricing structure, their perception of “municipal facilities and services,” programming choices, marketing, communication/outreach, or some other reason.

Our research goals?

  1. Improve our marketing and communication strategies so that our residents have a clearer picture of who Plano Parks and Recreation is and what we have to offer.
  2. Improve our programs, facilities, and services.

How’d we do it?

SurveyMonkey was instrumental in helping us put together an effective survey that would ensure we get the information we were looking for. My team designs and distributes surveys on a regular basis. We send out a quarterly satisfaction survey to individuals who have participated in our programs during the prior three months.

For those who don’t renew their annual memberships with us, we send them an email asking them if they would fill out a survey that would help us improve our programs and services. We also periodically conduct public surveys particular to a certain program area. The tool is extremely easy to set up and utilizing the filter feature has been invaluable to our data analysis. SurveyMonkey is our go-to resource for all of our surveys.

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Did the survey results help you make a better decision? If so, how?

Our survey results gave us these 5 key insights to name a few:

  1. Improve our signage and other marketing and communication material so that people know that cardio and weight machines (fitness) are a big component of our recreation centers.
  2. Pay closer attention to the social aspect of recreation! We’re considering including social spaces as we build new facilities and renovate existing ones.
  3. Given the results regarding outdoor adventure, we’ll be offering more structured outdoor classes rather than assuming people will take advantage of the outdoors on their own—we all need a little incentive sometimes!
  4. Ramp up our efforts in securing accurate emails for our users. We’ll rely on SurveyMonkey to provide this important contact information to our members and patrons.
  5. Don’t assume that blanket marketing efforts are effective for all demographics. Tailor our communication and marketing to meet the needs and likes of each group.

The data that we’ve collected using surveys has helped change the face of our business and dramatically improve our programming, and most importantly, keep our community happy here in Plano.

As always, we’re thrilled to share customer stories like Susie’s. We’d love to hear yours. Let us know in the Comments section below if you’d like to be featured next on our blog!

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