In times of uncertainty and potential economic downturn, it’s important to implement an emergency survey action plan. What exactly is an emergency survey action plan? An ESAP gets your organization ready to implement emergency surveys and action protocols to understand your respondents in times of crisis. Emergency survey action plans demonstrate the three pillars of HX (human experience): empathy, belonging, and authenticity. It gives organizations an in-depth view into what people value and prioritize so that you can make sound and humane business decisions.

Who wants to take surveys during an emergency? 

Depending on how you generally engage with customers and the topic, the answer may surprise you. This week, QuestionPro sent a survey on covid-19 to our online QuestionPro Audience panel and was able to gather over 1,000 completed responses within an hour of launching the survey. People want to collectively share their experience, concerns, and attitudes in times of emergency to help and also find answers for themselves. Reaching people online via email, website, or social media isn’t hard as long as there’s internet access or cellular data. Survey data at different touchpoints combined with tracking customer activity is critical to surviving unknown economic times or public emergencies. As seen in the 2008 recession, companies who were able to pivot and adopt changes the quickest were the ones to survive and thrive after it was over.

Before, During, After – Do you have a plan for these stages?

Similar to the advice given by the Red Cross on earthquake disaster planning, every organization should plan for what to do before, during, and after an emergency crisis. These are recommendations of how you and use surveys to prepare and navigate emergency situations.

Before emergencies

  1. Define what constitutes an emergency within your organization. 

Select departments and personnel in charge of monitoring and escalating abnormal customer or employee activities. 

  1. Create emergency surveys and action plans for specific audiences.  

Employees vs customers – what they value in times of crisis is very different. Having emergency surveys with predefined audiences empowers you to act and receive survey data quickly to make important decisions. How do you plan to reach them? Which tools will you have access to use? Answer these questions in the pre-planning stage if you can.

  1. Stay informed about your community’s risk and response plans. 

This includes every location your business operates in and the location of your customers. 

  1. Educate on the emergency protocol. 

Not just when we are dealing with the emergency first-hand, but also as part of the onboarding process, annual review, contracts, etc. 

During emergencies

  1. Enact emergency surveys and protocols. 

This includes launching surveys and feedback avenues where frustrated customers could be addressed with the utmost care. It’s also a critical time to determine how current action plans are being met by respondents to make quick necessary changes. 

  1. Communicate transparency and invite feedback at different timelines of the emergency. 

A notification on the website, social media, email, calling – it all helps. Organizations that show genuine concern and are able to make sensible compromises during these times have a better chance to survive through emergency situations. 

  1. Check in with employees daily for feedback and keep a pulse on customers.  Simple one-question surveys can give you plenty of information needed to figure out operation logistics for the day or to track the change in attitudes and perceptions. Use tools like QuestionPro Communities or Workforce to keep track of employees, customers, and other respondents online and via mobile. Enable SMS via the QuestionPro surveys to reach folks faster for quicker results.

After emergencies

  1. Conduct a post-emergency survey. 

Ask employees, customers, and other respondents what did you do well, where can we improve, and what attitudes and perceptions have changed.

  1. Conduct a post-emergency debrief.

Armed with survey data from above, conduct a post-emergency meeting to identify areas that were handled well, where processes can improve, and set new emergency preparedness tasks and protocols based on level of importance and business impact.

  1. Is this the new normal or an anomaly? 

Examine post-emergency survey results and customer activity to determine if the recession will forever change how you do business forever. 

  1. Share what you learned. 

Continue transparency by sharing post-emergency analysis and updated emergency action plans. Be sure to acknowledge and share the results with those who made time to complete the survey. Let them know of important next steps and how it correlates with the responses received.

As a person who went through the recession of 2008/2009, I have a somber but realistic understanding of how important it is to be flexible, realistic, and humane during times of unknown. Conducting surveys and analyzing activities first-hand from employees and customers may seem like an odd thing to do during emergencies, but it helps to direct your message of process changes and updates to your audience in a more clear and concise manner. More importantly, it gives you the chance to respond to emergency data and make quick changes that may thwart potential damage to your relationship and brand with the public. Surveys and feedback during the crisis should be a part of every organization’s emergency action protocol. 

With the best free-to-enterprise survey software tool in the market research industry, it’s easy to get an ESAP going. To start your own emergency survey action plan and learn more about QuestionPro, contact us today and we can review and discuss your options.