A gap survey, also referred to as gap analysis, is a survey tool designed to determine the actual or perceived gaps between an offered service and its customer expectations. In other words, it helps organizations compare actual performance with potential performance.
The overall goal is twofold: learn about gaps and find and implement solutions to bridge these gaps. In order for an organization to grow (and sometimes simply survive), company leaders must fill in the gaps.
A gap survey can reveal the differences between perceived and actual customer (or client) expectations and/or differences between what management believes to be customer expectations. For instance, if a business fails to utilize resources, technology, or capital efficiently, it may produce products or deliver services that perform below their potential.
Typically, in a business setting, a gap survey can obtain feedback from managers, employees, and customers or some combination of all three. It involves identifying gaps between what is an optimal allocation of resources, technology, or capital, and what is currently in place. The goal: highlight areas that can be improved. In this way, the gap survey tool provides a foundation a company can use to measure its investment in capital (human, equipment, technology), money, and time as it relates to achieving a desired outcome.
Example Uses of Gap Surveys
Practically any area in the running of an organization can benefit from a gap survey built with survey software. Common uses of gap surveys include human resources, information technology, business processes, compliance, market gaps, product gaps, financial gaps, and company direction and vision.
For example, on a product gap survey front, once the online survey gap analysis results are received, the need for new products, new services, or product and services adjustments may become clear. In other cases, breakdown in processes come to light. Either way, at some point, there's a gap between what the customer (consumer, vendor, or client) expects and demands, and what he/she actually receives.
On a corporate financial level, a gap analysis survey tool can reveal reasons for gaps between predicted profits and actual profits. On the other hand, a gap survey is a simple tool that can help marketing managers decide upon improvements in marketing tactics and strategies in order to close a gap between their current market share and desired market share.
In the information technology world, a gap online survey assessment tool helps to identify applications that may have been inadvertently left out and which still need to be developed. Likewise, compliance managers can use a gap survey tool to compare what is required by regulators and law and what is currently in place.
Gap analysis for process analysis is especially useful to companies that have a complex work flow. Using online survey software, gap analysis can identify gaps between the current process outcome and the desired outcome, on both an overall level and per process step level. This helps to break down gaps within a complex process to determine the steps needed to fill the gap -- and achieve the desired outcome.
In summary, there's no doubt that gap analysis is an interesting and effective tool to improve an organization's performance from a human resources, marketing, compliance financial, product, services, and consumer perspective. It's also true that gap analysis is a complex area, which has been made easier through the use of survey software.