How many times as a consumer have you been asked to rate your experience? How many receipts with survey codes have you thrown away? Getting feedback is key for consumer services. But its something we often overlook for social services. How can we gather better customer satisfaction from the consumers of social services?
Catholic Community Services (CCS) in Salt Lake City was the first service provider we worked with to start gaining customer feedback. It can be hard to put yourself out there for criticism, but the awesome staff at CCS were up to the task.
We installed a feedback kiosk in the main room of their day shelter, these kiosks are always there and always on. This reduces the barrier to gathering feedback, other options (paper surveys, for instance) often don’t get used or answered.
We have received over 500 responses from the clients at their day shelter.
Initially we were concerned satisfaction scores would be low, I mean who is happy when experiencing homelessness? However, we were impressed with the quality of the feedback.
Our survey asks four satisfaction questions: How was your visit?; How safe did you feel?; How clean was it?; and How nice were the staff?
In addition we ask a few follow up questions, specific to their needs: What services did you use?; and What do you wish were here?
We have had some great requests:
- Many people have asked for a phone to use for job search.
- Many people asked for more privacy in the shower.
- Better job training.
One of the more poignant requests:
My mom. Sorry, you had to ask… she was killed June 10, twenty-one years ago. Dad joined her five years ago. What do I wish was here? How about a massage therapist? I am SO excited about the hair cuts on Sundays, would you PLEASE thank whoever set that up for us? I think you all do miracles at helping put lives back together again which were blown into smithereens. I am grateful to you all.
CCS has taken the initiative and has installed new curtains in the showers and they recently teamed up with Catalyst Kitchens to provide job training.
This kind of feedback, response, and improvement, not only betters the lives of the clients, it allows the feedback loop to extend not only from the client to the provider, but in the case of social services to the foundations and others who are funding the services. How great is it to know where your money is going, how its being used, and what effect it is having?
“Working with Pulse for Good has been an incredibly positive experience for us at Catholic Community Services of Utah (CCS) and has changed the way we think about client feedback,” says CCS’ Homeless Services Director, Matthew Melville. “Never before have we been able to get instant quantitative and qualitative client feedback. This information will allow us to improve the way we provide services and help people reach self-sufficiency. We are excited to continue gathering this crucial information, comparing it over time, and understanding the most important services to those we serve.”
We are taking this initiative to other service providers. We are currently installed at the Lantern House in Ogden, Utah with two kiosks, one in the entrance to the shelter and another in the soup kitchen. We have received over 316 responses in just two months.
We are also installed at Valley Behavioral Health in Salt Lake and at Switch Point in St George. We have had a gracious donor who is paying for installation at Veterans Inc. on the east coast and are working with Utah Community Action to see how we they can use our services.
At Pulse For Good, we believe this feedback loop will result in better services provided to the homeless. We believe better services are more effective services.