Critical Dates

One of your tasks is to schedule the key dates for your benchmarking survey to operate.

It is best to have clearly defined dates and periods set down in advance so members/customers, staff and other interested parties understand what is happening, when it is happening and have clear expectations.

So the Key Dates are:

  • Opening Date / Time
  • Closing Date / Time
  • Results Date / Time
  • Buffer Period

Let's use University Student assignments as an analogy:

University students have an assigment. The assigment is clearly scheduled in advance and the topic distributed on a certain date (Opening Date).

The schedule and accompany information also stipulate when the Assigment is due (Closing Date) and when results will be posted (Results Date)

The only problem that remains is the perennial problem of the student who, for various reasons, cannot submit the assigment by the Closing Date and has to ask for an extension (Buffer Period)

Benchmarking is similar.

  • Make it clear when the survey opens so you can start promoting well in advance
  • When it closes so a mental time frame is created
  • When the results are expected.
  • The buffer period – this is like the assignment extension that we mentioned above. You advertise a closing date knowing full well that many of your members will participate at the last minute and a percentage will ask for an extension.  This is a common proble. The easiest way to handle this situation is to factor in an extension period (Buffer Period) before you start so that it does not result in the need to push the Results date back beyond the original plan.

We strongly advise that members are not advised that a ‘buffer period’ exists as may be interpreted simply as a a new Closing Date. This Buffer Period is only to cater for internal management of surveys.

A Buffer Period is an option not a requirement for any given survey.


Need more help or ideas?

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