Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Great Survey Design: Start With the Customer Survey Goals

“Begin with the end in mind” is the number two habit of Highly Successful People for a reason: You want to focus your energy on actually doing what counts – like reaching customer survey goals, instead of counting what you’re doing.

My favorite way to begin any survey project is to bring the team into a room and say “In the next hour, we are going to be spending about $50,000 (this is the estimated cost of everyone in the room for that hour) to discuss our customer satisfaction survey.  Let’s pretend that the results are in and that we have been tasked with  improving the customer satisfaction measure from 3.5 to 7.5.  Based on this information, what should we do next?”
This opening remark usually gets everyone’s attention because it brings home two very important points:
  1. Pulling people in a room costs a lot of money – so we’d better not waste any time.
  2. If you’re going to pull people into a room at $50,000 an hour – you’d better have something more specific than “measure the level of customer satisfaction” as a survey objective.

How to Set Actionable Customer Survey Goals

This is a crucial part of your survey project’s success. Setting the objectives right or wrong can make or break the project. And while it can be a tricky task – planning accordingly, and using right techniques will guarantee success. Join our upcoming Survey Design Webinar: Proven Methodologies for Surveys that Work, Wednesday, September 28th, 11am PST, when we will show you a few steps you need to keep in mind as you plan your survey to make it easier for yourself and to get the data you need.
Any project starts with objectives so also in a survey project, the first steps in setting actionable customer survey goals is to stop and think about why you are doing the survey in the first place. What decisions are you about to make where honest feedback will help you decide one way or the next?
  • If you’re launching a new product, how many customers do you need to “raise their hand” and say they will consider purchasing the offer you’ve come up with?
  • Are you considering expanding your customer service hours?  What hours are you considering?  How many customers have to say that they are interested in order to make this worthwhile to explore further?
  • What’s more important to your customer?  Would they rather see a sales rep to help them decide what they want or have the ability to place their order online with no sales support – but a lower price?
These are just a few examples of actual business decisions you may be considering but may NOT have considered including as a part of your survey process.
Whenever we’re given the opportunity to ask our customers questions and find out what they think, we suddenly jump into a sort of frenzy around all the things we would just LOVE to know about our customers.  We imagine the day that the report comes back and eagerly rustle through the answers as if this report were a sort of slam book we sent around the room to see how people answered the question “Funniest Person You Know.”
Customer surveys are serious business.  Most people didn’t like taking surveys when the economy was booming, and chances are your respondents are more pressed for time than ever.  Make it one of your personal customer survey goals – to make each question count, easy to answer and that you will get answers that will allow your team to take action. Here are some useful Market Research Questions To Ask Your Customers  which is a good starting point. And also 20 Not-so-Obvious Questions to Ask Your Customer on Your Survey.
When you’re done constructing your survey, create random answers to each of the questions.  For example, if the question was “How would you rate your online customer service experience” and you received a rating of 5 out of 10, what would you do next?  If you are not sure or you are unclear as to how you would handle that $50,000 an hour team meeting, then you need to make an adjustment to that question.  Keep tweaking the question and testing the question by simply making up answers at different levels to see if you will actually be able to take action on the results.
So the next time you’re ready to do a survey, begin with your end actions in mind  – set your customer survey goals and you’ll not only get better customer feedback, you’ll get happier, more loyal customers when they see you implementing the feedback they gave. You can also use any of our free online survey templates to start your research project.


About the Author: Ivana Taylor is CEO of Third Force, a strategic firm that helps small businesses get and keep their ideal customer. She’s the co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers” and proprietor of DIYMarketers, a site for in-house marketers. Her blog is Strategy Stew.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Best Books for Every Market Researcher

Who has time to search for the best books to read? We have compiled a list for you with the best market research books to read this fall.

Best Market Research Books

Best Market Research BooksFirst on the list of best market research books is the 4th Ed. of The Market Research Toolbox. If you’re a product or marketing manager, quality professional, executive or small business owner with some exposure to market research this is a great refresher course. McQuarrie lays out the foundation for contemporary market research and takes readers by the hand from secondary research and big data through complex topics such as conjoint. If you’ve got a big brand or customer research project on the horizon and want to get back up to MBA speed, this is the read for you. 
These days you’ve got to be creating “personas” for every marketing activity you do; your blog, your product, your service, your conference or event.  Adele Revella is a  leading authority on buyer personas, this book provides comprehensive coverage of a compelling new way to conduct buyer studies, plus practical advice on adopting the buyer persona approach to measurably improve marketing outcomes.
Best Market Research BooksIt’s new, it’s expanded, it’s sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide – and it’s worth a re-read.  This has to be one of my favorite business books of all time and I have to admit that I’ve actually purchased this newer version because the updates were worth it.  The philosophy of the book is the same; competition should NOT occupy your thinking, rather it’s identifying unique areas of distinction that will attract customers.  Snap it up — Again!
Best Market Research BooksI always like to say that if your customers are complaining about price, they have no idea why they should choose you.  Well, this book will blow the roof off of anything you ever thought you knew about how prices were set.  The authors show how companies use what they know about you to determine how much you are willing to pay for certain products and services. You’ll get an insider’s view behind the curtain of how big data is used in real time to set the perfect price.
Best Market Research BooksYes, it’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about customer feedback and didn’t even know what to ask.  This book covers it all in just the right amount of detail.  If you’re part of a customer engagement team or product marketing team, this book will serve as a fantastic resource.  You’ll learn how to use customer analytics, what to measure and how to measure. Even if you’re a customer analytics pro, this book has all the latest information on measuring social media and customer behavior.
Why People (Don’t) Buy: The Go and Stop Signals by Amitav Chakravarti , Manoj Thomas
Best Market Research BooksIf you’re a sucker for a great academic, in-depth read on buyer behavior (or not), you’ll want to check out “Why People (Don’t) Buy”.  It provides a step-by-step guide to consumer insight. The authors include engaging stories and surprising findings,and  it provides a handy framework for why people do what they do, and how you can use that information to be more effective. The authors use the stop-go’ framework to shed new light on why certain strategies work while others generally fail.
Are you as much of a business book junkie as I am? What do you consider as the best market research books? Which are your favorites?  Share their titles and tell us why you liked them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Effective way for dealing with disgruntled employees

Government solution expert at QuestionPro. Passionate about innovation and public sector insight collection.
Manage Unhappy Employees by Starting a Weekly PulseThe days of the quarterly survey are dead. Across the private sector, smart agencies are shifting away from their disinterested and callous employee engagement systems and are seeking new ways to manage unhappy employees, moving to employee analytics tools that are increasingly active, inclusive, and frequent. The trend, however, is clearly slow to catch on in the federal government. 

Our federal employees are often neglected, unsatisfied with their jobs, unable to efficiently report to their supervisors, and are often times, even disappointed about the mission of their agency. The dissatisfaction is very dangerous, as federal employees are the engine behind the services being provided across the nation, therefore it is important to manage unhappy employees well to mitigate this circumstance. 
The 2015 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, known as FEVS for short, reports a score of 64% on the employee engagement index. While this is an improvement from some years with far lower rates, there is still an immense amount of untapped potential in the workspace.
One would expect that the increasing adoption of innovative technologies to improve employee satisfaction in the private sector would be reflected in the public sector as well, but this not the case. The public sector can still make some big and smart technical changes to manage unhappy employees better!
What are our federal government agencies doing wrong here, and what can be done better? 

The critical issue

It all starts with the frequency with which you listen. Say you have a federal employee named Stacy who joins in January. Now, Stacy is extremely dissatisfied with her job right from the beginning, maybe because her tasks are mismatched with  her strengths, or maybe her supervisor is not listening to her insights. Dissatisfaction will always exist in these forms, but there is the critical issue that often goes unnoticed.

Neither her supervisors nor the senior management will even know that Stacy is dissatisfied and therefore less efficient in her job until they conduct the quarterly or annual review. 

Stacy is detached from the mission of the agency, unsatisfied with her job, and is more of a source of inefficiency in the agency. 

Now imagine this…there are a THOUSAND (if not more) Stacys in your federal organization. 

What is the solution? How should they manage unhappy employees?

Employee disengagement is a universal problem to which QuestionPro has developed a solution  – Employee Engagement Software to supercharge your workforceQuestionPro Workforce helps government agencies tap into their often unharnessed potential. Instead of the annual or even quarterly reviews, you can now run weekly pulse surveys, conduct far more efficient 360 reviews, and even map the Organizational Health and Genome of your federal agency. 
Ask your federal employees, just one question, once a week, that they can answer on their cell phones or computers when they get into work on a Monday. You are no longer making your federal employees complete a daunting 50 question quarterly survey but are frequently keeping track of your agency’s pulse, thereby enabling yourself to recapture any lost efficiency.
So there it is, a simple solution, to change that shaky and frankly disappointing 64% employee satisfaction FEVS score, to a much higher percentage. Make federal employees more satisfied, listen to their voices, unlock their talent,and improve the services provided to the nation. 

Don’t let your Stacys go unnoticed.

Start a weekly pulse now with QuestionPro Workforce.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Example of an Open-ended Survey Question


Open-ended Comments on Surveys - The Rich Data You Are MissingSurveys are often associated with analytics. Almost all online surveys are heavily weighted towards collecting, what market researchers call, closed-ended data – i.e. where users are typically asked to choose between a set of choices (either discrete choice or a rating scale.) Open-Ended text data or open-ended comments on surveys (aka freeform text), however, is different in the sense that there is no concrete question – users are asked to give their opinions on a subject via free-form text.

Open-ended comments on surveys are a curse and a boon for conducting customer perception and satisfaction studies. They are a curse because they cannot be consolidated and analyzed easily. Although there are textual analysis programs that claim to be a by-product of artificial intelligence – I have yet to meet a serious market researcher who uses these automated text analysis tools for real decision making. They are a boon because it allows your respondents to “open up” and give you comments, ideas, and suggestions that you were not even asking them.

Here’s an example:
As many of you use QuestionPro regularly know when you log out we ask you to give us comments. This is essentially a survey, with a single open-ended question in it. We realize that it can be annoying at times (especially if you are logging in and out of QuestionPro several times a day)  but the log-out survey is entirely optional and you can simply ignore it if you have nothing to say and close the window.

One day, about 4 years ago a senior hot-shot VP of Research at Catalina Marketing told us about TURF analysis and suggested that we have an integrated TURF Tool – That is how our interest into integrated TURF analysis began. It’s an entirely different story that they made us go through a 40 page RFP and then decided to “build something in-house” – but the point here is that we never asked our users about TURF analysis or for that matter what kinds of analytical tools they would like integrated into the system. The question on the open-ended comment question was pretty simple – “Enter in comments and suggestion for QuestionPro.” – And Dave Suedcamp from Catalina Marketing thought about educating us on TURF analysis!

Now, we realize that many companies cannot afford to go through each and every comment and suggestion, especially if you have thousands of responses – but you can put together a human filter and escalation procedure that allows bubbling of interesting comments up the chain of command. We here at QuestionPro, periodically look at all the comments once a month and think about them and see if we need to do something about them. The other thing that has worked really well for us is that we share the comments with everyone in the company. Some of them are simply hilarious and witty and many of them are general complaints about pricing etc. and yet a few of them are actually constructive suggestions that we’ve implemented. We're even thinking about putting some of the witty and humorous comments on the blog periodically (we'll hide the identity of course!)

One last thing I also want to mention is the fact that it is generally considered good survey design/practice to have a “catch-all” open-ended comment question towards the end of a survey. Even if you do not really want users giving open-ended comments for your research, a simple open-ended comment question can give you valuable insight into areas of research you’ve not even thought about. Users may even give you feedback on the survey itself – they may point our grammatical inconsistencies or even offer suggestions on how you can structure your survey better – Trust us on this one – we are speaking from experience!
So, if you are putting together questionnaires and you do not have open-ended comments on surveys, think about the valuable data that you are missing on. You already have a respondent’s attention – why not give him the opportunity to express himself in his own words in addition to conforming to your structured survey?


Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to Generate Consumer Insights

ray.poynter-270x270
Ray is the Director of Vision Critical University, the author of 
The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research, the creator of NewMR.org, and is in 
constant demand as a conference speaker, contributing author, workshop leader, and advisor.
Seven Tips for Creating Insights
The research game has changed. In the past,market research focused on collecting data and delivering information. Research still needs to collect data, but it needs to deliver insight. So, here are seven tips for creating insights.


1.Identify and clarify the ‘real’ question. Knowing the right question is half way to solving the problem. To find out the real question you will normally need to talk to the relevant people; asking them questions like “What would success look like?” and “What actions would you like to take once you have this answer?”

2. Find out what is known and what is available. It is likely there are multiple sources of information including market research, reports, transactional data, corporate knowledge, social media and much more. Any new research should work with what is already known. 

3. Find out what people expect the results to be. Finding this out has two benefits, 1) you can test (confirm or refute) these beliefs during the research and analysis, 2) you will need to know these so that you can properly understand if your results are bad news or good news.

4. Know whether your results are good news or bad news. Almost all research should produce a result that is either good or bad, if you don’t know whether the result is good or bad (or good with caveats or bad with some elements of a silver lining), you probably do not know the ‘real’ question. The way you deliver good and bad news is different, the storytelling is different, and the amount of additional material needed is different. Whether a result is good or bad news depends on the information found and what people wanted the information to say.

5. Focus on the big story before diving into the weeds. Find out what most people think, before looking at segments, which brands/concepts do best and which do worst; get a feeling for all the strong messages.

6. Don’t tell the client everything you know, tell the answer to their problem. All the rest of the findings can be made available, but focus on what they want/need to know.

7. Create a story that when simplified is still correct. If the story is that 90% of people like your new product, that will simplify to ‘Most people like your product’ – no problem. If the story is that 10% of women like your product and 20% of men like it, then it will simplify down to ‘This is good for men’ – which is a bad simplification as it ignores 80% of men who do not like it.

Bonus TipIf you are delivering bad news, do not rely on just the facts. In order to change somebody’s mind you will need to tackle the situation at both the emotional level and the factual level. I often start the presentation with a point where the client accepts the findings and build from there. For example, consider the cases where a client thinks 80% of men will like this new product and I find just 10% like it. I might start by talking about the men who like it, why they like it etc. Then I say that whilst these men may have been visible in the previous research it turns out they are just 10% of the population. Then I would go on to look at the bigger picture and provide my recommendations. By structuring my story this way I do not have to start with some version of ‘You are wrong!”
Also, here are some good reasons, why you should consider converting you customer list into an insights community to start creating insights.
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