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FAQ: Featured

Can the integrity of a customer survey be impacted by self-administration?

Yes. Let’s take some lessons from a case study. An organization in the travel industry had outstanding reviews from almost all of its clients on its self-administered customer surveys. Customer surveys were passed out by the tour director on the second to last day of the tour and were collected by the tour director the following morning.

Customer reviews were really good. In fact, the company was able to boast they received a 99% recommendation rate from their guests. All in all, things looked positive for the company. However, they had noticed a trend toward gradual decreases in returning clients and, even more puzzling, it seemed that few people were actually being referred to the travel company. Somehow things didn’t add up. Why weren’t people referring their travel company?

One of the new company directors made a controversial decision to outsource their customer survey to a third party. Much to the company’s surprise, the information gathered by the third party didn’t even seem to be from the same company. Only seventy percent of customers said they might consider recommending the travel company to others. Hardly a glowing endorsement. Furthermore (and despite the substantial cash outlay for the tour packages offered by the company) some clients were abandoning ship and leaving early—they weren’t even around to answer the customer survey! Finally, it surfaced that tour directors became scapegoats when clients were dissatisfied with company offerings, even if the points of dissatisfaction were beyond the tour director’s control. Knowing this, it wouldn’t be surprising if several dozen surveys from unhappy clients went missing.

This case study demonstrates poor survey administration practices that likely led to skewed response rates as well as affirmation and socially desirable response biases. Ultimately, this created an inaccurate picture of the organizational state. Unfortunately, this sort of occurrence is not uncommon.

I'm interested in conducting market research, what do I need to know?

When conducting market research, one of the most important things to ensure is a sample size that is representative of the market you wish to target. Focus on both Confidence Level and Sampling Error. Confidence Level is the probability that the data represents the thinking of all possible participants. Sampling Error is essentially the opposite, which is the probability that there are irregularities in the data.

When you decide on the margin of error that is acceptable for your market research it is easy to calculate your ideal sample size using a sample size calculator. This will tell you how large your sample must be to ensure the market research is valid.

When developing market research questions, be careful of myopia or bias. Since market research is typically undertaken by people who are heavily invested in a product or service, they often see a very one-sided perspective of the product. In effect, they could be hindered by over-investment, neglecting to ask critical questions, or considering diverse perspectives. Furthermore, product development teams may, even unintentionally, ask a set of questions that will only confirm their existing point of view. For this reason, it is advisable to solicit an external “set of eyes” when developing your market research questionnaire.

Are there best practices in survey research?

To achieve changes in behavior from survey research, it is important to follow these best practices to give you a comprehensive view of your organization:

  • Scientific psychological research is essential for obtaining the highest quality methods, principles, and data.
  • Benchmarking to know exactly where you stand across departments, business units, and your industry.
  • Analysis to provide clear, concise marching orders. These are the drivers that will result in the greatest, most immediate improvement for your organization without guesswork, without debate.
  • Taking action on pure, hard facts improves the employee-customer experience, and increases your financial performance.
  • Creating synergy by utilizing one vendor for all of your research needs including employee, customer, and market research. With one vendor, each feedback system is created, deployed, analyzed, and acted upon in concert with all others, providing a clear path to managing your organizational performance.
  • Every organization’s primary battle is to win the hearts and minds of its customers. The more customers return to an organization, the more they spend, and the higher the financial performance of that organization. Employees’ loyalty and enthusiasm for the organization propels customer loyalty, which in turn, improves the bottom line.
What kind of action planning support do you provide?

At NBRI the survey research process does not end at data collection, analysis, or reporting. The survey research process continues through taking action on the findings and implementing company-wide solutions. You may elect to include ClearPath Action training. We provide an action training interface on our platform, handbooks, and workbooks to simplify the process. Once the results are in, NBRI can present to your Executive Team and remain a resource for you and your Action Teams throughout implementation.

How is NBRI different from other business research firms?

The breadth of our offerings. NBRI offers a full range of survey research products and services for large enterprises, small businesses, and individuals. We offer a Do-It-Yourself survey platform, full-service research services, and a full suite of consulting services provided by organizational psychologists.

How long should the survey be?

It is recommended that you include enough questions to obtain all of the information needed at one time. Using items that are short, concise, clearly written statements that get right to the point will only take seconds to read and rate. A 20 item survey should require about 5 minutes for someone with an 8th grade reading level.

Customer surveys should not contain more than 30 questions without offering an incentive to compensate participants for their time. Employee surveys may be longer without impacting response rates or requiring an incentive. A typical employee survey includes 40-60 questions.

What are the steps to conduct market research?

The first step is to have a well-defined goal for the research so you know what you want to accomplish. Is there a need for your company to fill? Do customers know your brand? The next step is determining what information you need to accomplish that goal: for example, if you want to determine how to improve a product, you should find out which features customers are interested in.

You need to decide how to collect the information—through online surveys or a telephone survey—and then collect it. Next, you’ll need to analyze your data to determine the findings. Finally, you need to determine what to do with the results. Are there major changes your company should consider implementing?

Which survey methodology is right for me? Online, telephone, or paper?

NBRI considers a number of factors before recommending a research methodology. We review the availability of email addresses, telephone numbers, and physical mailing addresses. We also examine the overall population size because how the survey is deployed impacts response rates. Multiple deployment methodologies may be required to achieve valid data. Learn more about survey deployment.

Does NBRI assist with question development?

Absolutely! You may use our professional survey content or work directly with an NBRI Organizational Psychologist (Ph.D. level) to review the goals and objectives for your study and determine the most appropriate questions for your survey. Learn more about survey design.

What types of reports will I receive?

NBRI offers a variety of scheduled and on-demand reports including data reports, comment reports, text analytics reports, raw data files, executive summaries, and results presentations. Standardized report formats enable management to easily move from one report to another, even across survey types. And, we can partner with you to develop custom reporting as needed.

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