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 is the Director of Vision Critical University, the author of 
The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research, the creator of, 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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

5 Tips for Building Unbelievably High Customer Engagement

Building successful customer engagement in a community is easier than you imagine. 
In fact, QuestionPro is doing a webinar on customer engagement next week, 24th of August, 11am PDT - Deeper Insights Through Intelligent Community Engagement, where you will hear great tips on how to engage community members in order to gather actionable insights. Don't forget to register!

Communities administrators usually have a big customer email database, and are ready to start building their communities, but oftentimes they have a big question mark cloud hovering over their heads. The most common troubling questions are: “Great! But once I set it up, what do I do?”, or “How do I get my customers to connect and continue engaged in my community?”, another common question is “How do I get more members to join my community?”.

It just requires a little thought and creativity. Below I will show you 5 simple, and effective, tips on how to make your engagement process seamless and organic within your community.

1. Make your community accessible and easy to register.
One thing I try to remind our customers whenever I have a chance is that the last thing you need is to hide your community from your customers. By keeping your community searchable, by creating a unique URL, and by having it accessible in your website, your are optimizing it and make it easier for members, and non-members, to find and join it.
Once they find it, then you should make the registration an easy and quick process for your members. We all have time restrictions nowadays, and this is not different for your community members. My advice is to have no more than 5 registration questions and keep the full registration process under 2 minutes. By making these two little adjustments you will end up with a higher rate of registrants.
2. Create a positive and authentic environment for your community members.
Encourage your members to have positive conversations with you, and between themselves.Build Customer Engagement
By stimulating a fun and positive environment, you motivate your members to have authentic conversations as well as provide a surrounding in which they feel less concerned about judgment and more comfortable to genuinely express their needs, feelings and expectations for your brand, products, or services. Another positive aspect of such practices is that when you do so, you build trust with your members, allowing for you to increase your customer loyalty.
3. Get Involved in the Community. Be accessible, involved, and engaging.
Ask questions. Answer the questions posted by your community members. Join their conversations. Connect and motivate them to join each other's posts. Interact with your members at every opportunity. Be approachable and positive in your responses, and don’t be afraid of asking questions that go beyond the basic surveys questions. Pay attention to their answers, show interest in the conversation, and the topics being explored. By doing so, you show how you genuinely care about their thoughts.
Whenever possible, share your opinions as well. People crave mutual interactions, and a true community is built on the premise of sharing something in common, in this case, your brand. Take advantage of this and talk positively about your brand and products, but show your true opinions. By doing so with your community members, you are developing a meaningful relationship (please read a blog about nurturing relationships with customers), and creating this cycle where there are mutual interaction and engagement.
4. Invite more members to join and give them a warm reception.
Recruiting new members to join your community and increasing your membership sounds like a basic practice, right?! It actually is, but not always. Some community managers/ moderators can get stuck at this step, not knowing how to invite more people to join their community.
Sending out invitation emails is a great way to get more people to join your group. Keep the content of your invitation email engaging, fun, creative, and informative. And remember that the look and feel of the invitation email will be crucial in influencing people to join your community as well. So thinking it through and creating engaging content will certainly help you drive more registrants. And do the same for ‘Reminders’ emails to the members that have not joined yet.
Another good practice is to welcome the members with ‘open arms’ and introductions to the rest of the group. Sounds cliche, but everyone appreciates a warm reception. Wouldn’t you rather be welcomed at a friend’s house with a warm smile and introductions? Well, same here. Treat your online community as you would with your own community of close friends, and welcome your members to the group with the same enthusiasm you would welcome your friends for a Wine and Cheese evening.
5. Let your members know how much you appreciate them.
Build Customer EngagementLetting your community members know how much you appreciate their time and inputs is a highly valuable practice to you and to your community members. And this can be initiated with a simple “Thank You!” email, letter, or even call.  
There are many other ways you can show your appreciation, such as offering rewards through in-store credit, gift cards, charity donations. However, my advice is that you take a step further and be creative with your offerings. For example, you can create a monthly engagement reward campaign to your top 5 active community members (depending on the size of your community). Each quarter you create a different reward to the elected group: in one-quarter you could give them a tour of your office/ manufacturer and give them the opportunity to speak to your team; on the next, you could send them 1 lb of their favorite coffee (that they mentioned in an earlier post); the next  you could send a significant donation to the charity of their choices. You could even keep the rewards a surprise, as a way to keep them engaged with the anticipation of it as well.
The point is for you to remember that your community members joined your community, not because of the rewards you offer, but because they like your brand, products or services offered.
Contact Us if you would like to hear more about how to create your own communities.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Why HR is a Strategically Important Business Function?

Jamie is a founding partner at WorkXO, 25 years of experience in conflict resolution,
generational differences, leadership, and culture change. Author of When Millennials
Take Over, and Humanize and an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University

Improve Employee Engagement by Making HR Relevant Again - Upcoming WebinarThere has been a never-ending conversation in the Human Resources community about how to get a “seat at the table,” generally implying that the HR function should be in the C-suite, reporting directly to the CEO. The problem to be overcome is that HR is not viewed as a strategically relevant function. Finance? Sure, that’s obviously strategic. And the relatively newly created Technology or IT function? Yep, that’s important, so welcome to the C-suite. But HR? In some organizations yes, but many times no, without recognizing that it could improve employee engagement.
Many point to HR’s “split personality” as the problem. A lot of what HR does is administrative: payroll, benefits administration, compliance stuff, etc. It’s important work, to be sure (people do like to get paid), but it’s a lot of paper-pushing, which doesn’t particularly scream “strategic” in any way. Of course, that’s not all HR does. Talent management, compensation strategy, improve employee engagement and retention—it doesn’t take much to argue the strategic value of these functions. But because of the history and weight behind the administrative part of HR, the strategic side doesn’t get enough attention to warrant that seat at the table.

That argument may sound logical, but it’s a complete lie.

IT and Finance have administrative parts of their personality that are arguably more prominent than HR. The next time you feel frustrated working on some HR compliance detail, just be thankful you’re not running yet another Windows patch! And Finance? I think they literally invented paper pushing. Every department has a split personality including the ones who quite easily got a seat at the table. So what’s really holding HR back?
If you want the CEO’s attention, then start driving the growth of the enterprise. Finance and IT can make that claim. In many cases, HR can’t.
HR: But our people are our greatest asset!!!
CEO: No, they’re not. If they were, we’d sell some of them and use the proceeds to invest in growth.
Our people get the work done, and HR has embraced the job of making sure we have people in place then to improve employee engagament and then making sure we don’t get sued when we have to fire some of them. That’s not about growth. It’s about keeping up, and maybe not sliding backward, but it’s not about growth.
So how do you make it about growth? That’s precisely what Charlie and I are going to discuss in our upcoming  – Make HR Relevant Again Webinar (join us August 10!). And I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn that our answer will revolve around organizational culture. It is very possible to turn your culture into your growth engine. But you have to do it right, and there is no one in the organization better trained and prepped to lead that effort than HR. It’s time to take culture much more seriously. You wouldn’t launch your product into a new market without doing the hard work of market research and product launch strategy, right? It’s hard, strategic work. So why do we let culture work become relegated to word-smithing the Core Values posters and planning the company picnic? Learn how to take culture much more seriously. Learn how to tie it to growth. The spots at the table will start opening up pretty quickly.
About the Upcoming Webinar Speakers
Charlie Judy, Co-Founder, WorkXO
Charlie forged a successful career over two-decades as an HR Executive with some of the world’s most prominent professional service organizations. He founded WorkXO to help the world-of-work stop over-engineering our Human Resources and start re-humanizing them. Charlie believes the future of work is not about better HR systems, technologies, any one best practice, secret recipe, or magic formula.
Jamie Notter, Co-Founder, WorkXO
Jamie is a founding partner at WorkXO – helping leaders create stronger cultures and upgrade their workplaces, based on an understanding of organizational genetic code. He brings 25 years of experience in conflict resolution, generational differences, leadership, and culture change. The author of When Millennials Take Over, andHumanize and an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University.