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survey analysis

6 Steps of strategic survey analysis

By | Customer surveys

One of the biggest challenges facing business today is how to efficiently and productively glean meaningful insights from the overwhelming quantity of data generated in the normal course of the day. From customer purchasing habits (loyalty program data) to contact centre performance stats (gamification data) and formal survey data, there are multiple sources for internal and external to guide decision-making.

Organisational surveys are commonly used to identify and prioritise areas for business improvement. The traditional variety are an effective tool for collecting data, but tend to be respondent-focused without linking responses back to explicit business objectives. That’s where strategic surveys excel.

Strategic surveys intrinsically link content with organisational goals and objectives. The results provide a systemic view of what’s working in the business and which areas need improvement.

Strategic survey analysis in 6 steps

  1. Analyse strengths and weaknesses.
    The process begins with a look at the intra-survey strengths and weaknesses, i.e. how the items in the survey compare to each other, and the extra-survey strengths and weaknesses, i.e., how the results compare to other results from similar surveys. This is done at both the individual question level, as well as the category level.
  2. Look for patterns in the data.
    Typically, common themes will emerge. For example, when teamwork scores are low, it’s common to find problems in inter-departmental communication. These patterns give clues to the underlying circumstances of the weakness.
  3. Conduct statistical analysis.
    Often organisations need to quickly identify those areas that are most important to improve. Key Driver Analysis provides a way of selecting which areas to focus on, by calculating each area’s leverage on the ‘bottom line’ measure – overall satisfaction. The high-priority targets identified by quadrant analysis are those areas which meet two criteria: firstly they need improvement and secondly their improvement will strongly leverage overall satisfaction. The statistical relationship between each attribute is measured, as is overall satisfaction. Items with high leverage (correlation to overall satisfaction) will have more impact on satisfaction than items with low leverage. By plotting the leverage (correlation) scores and the performance scores (the percentages or average scores for each attribute), it becomes apparent which items need priority attention.
  4. Conduct comment analysis.
    Simply reading open text comments in the survey can give one a flavour for the types of issues on respondents’ minds. However, proper interpretation can be difficult if there are many individual comments. Keyword searches are used to partly overcome this.
  5. Make demographic comparisons.
    In some cases, most or all demographic subgroups (e.g., regions, departments, etc.) will feel the same about a matter. In others, there will be large differences in how these subgroups feel. There can be instances where a large subgroup is almost completely responsible for a low score for an entire organisation. Without an analysis of sub-groups, corrective action may not be as effective, since targeted action will be necessary in certain cases.
  6. Produce summary findings.
    In this stage, the consulting team will summarise findings. The end result is recommendations of key items and areas to target for improvement on an overall organisation level and at the sub-group level. Further discussions before and after this phase may be necessary.

Systemic view from multiple perspectives

Employees, distributors, dealers, franchisees and customers have unique vantage points for providing intelligence on every aspect of your business. From the effectiveness of processes and current structures, to the quality of teamwork across functional units and barriers to innovation, they can tell you the why behind the what of your survey data. So why not ask them? A strategic survey is designed to do just that, and deliver targeted results for quick management response.

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survey mistakes

Survey design mistakes to avoid

By | Customer surveys

The recent proliferation of digital survey tools has made the art of collecting feedback an easy, economical exercise. Frequent, finely targeted surveys are well suited to current agile management practices in that they provide a quick snapshot of perceptions and experiences of people on the front lines of business, and allow quick responses. That’s the theory. Reality doesn’t always play out that way.

The rise of survey democracy

The downside to a ‘surveys for all’ democracy is the vast scope for misuse by well-intentioned survey design amateurs. That is, poorly designed surveys producing questionable data, misinterpreted as statistical truth, and presented to unwitting executives as evidence for data-driven decisions. See how wrong it can go?

That brief scenario is reason enough to work with survey professionals.

And survey fatigue is real. At a point, people just get tired of taking surveys. Don’t forget, they’re employees (engagement surveys, pulse surveys, culture surveys to name a few), customers (satisfaction surveys), citizens (market research surveys) and online media users (web surveys) and there’s a survey for every persona.

Common survey mistakes you don’t have to make

Whether you’re one of those well-intentioned survey design amateurs mentioned earlier, or a survey professional who isn’t above friendly reminders, here are some common survey design mistakes to avoid.

  • Blowing the cover of confidentiality
    If your survey is asking for information of a confidential nature, such as rating management performance or personal perceptions of corporate culture, make sure you live up to your promise of confidentiality. Examine your survey process for loopholes. For example, your results may be anonymous, but anyone with access to filtering the data by demographics could easily identify the one and only finance executive at your branch in Pinetown, Natal. It’s happened.
  • Survey feedback that goes nowhere
    People quickly tire of taking surveys when there’s no demonstrable result for the time and effort they put into answering the questions. Share feedback immediately and then follow up with communication about how and when issues will be addressed.
  • Confusing, compound questions
    Each question should have a single subject. For example, asking ‘‘Do you feel that your manager is fair and provides the support you need to do your job?’ is confusing. Are you asking about fairness or support? Those are two different questions.
  • Inappropriate language and style
    Make sure your survey language meets the level of understanding of your audience. Question wording should be short and simple for the sake of clarity. But also remember to avoid using jargon, acronyms or overly formal language.
  • One way communication
    Remember that a survey is more than simply feedback. It’s an opportunity to open a dialogue and create a platform for collaboration. Encourage people to participate on the basis that they’re part of a collective and what they say is meaningful and will be considered and applied to make improvements.
  • Wrong survey medium for the audience
    Technology has given rise to multiple delivery options, so be sure you pick the one your audience will be most likely to enjoy and be able to engage with. Millennials, for instance, want to work with responsive mobile.
  • Delayed response and follow-up
    Somewhere in the world, patience is still a virtue. Not in the world of surveys. The days of waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for analysts to crunch, report and interpret the data are very long gone. People in general, and executives in particular, expect instant results. The object of the undertaking, after all, is to get instant feedback and fast survey results for action planning. Be prepared to deliver.
  • Missing an engagement opportunity
    Surveys are more than a static exercise to gather feedback. They’re an opportunity to actively listen to your people. Listen as a human being, not as an executive, and hear the humanity of the people responding. It’s a simple and powerful way to improve engagement.
  • Asking for flattery rather than feedback
    Your survey questions should emphase pain points in your organisation, rather than offer opportunity for flattery. It’s all very well knowing whether or not your CEO is perceived to have excellent leadership qualities, but what you really want to know is why your product delivery is chronically delayed. That’s the problem you need to root out and there are specific questions you need to ask.

Still want to go it alone?

Those are some of the major hurdles standing between you and quality survey data that you can use for meaningful management decision making.

We’re biased, of course, but it’s worth consulting a survey professional to help you do the right survey research, ask the right type of questions and create a survey that’s much more than a vehicle for data collection.

Contact us.




8 Tips for effective employee surveys

By | Customer surveys

Well-structured employee surveys can yield a wealth of management information you can use to create a more positive, productive workplace.

People want to be heard and valued. Conducting regular employee surveys sends a message that their perceptions matter and responsiveness is proof of management’s commitment to upholding a fair two-way relationship with staff. The result is a give-and-take that builds trust, supports higher levels of retention and engagement, and improves the overall strength of the organisation.

The type of employee survey you need depends on your objectives. Do you want to measure employee engagement or check alignment to strategy? Do you want to find out how employees feel about organisational culture or whether the organisation is fulfilling employees’ expectations?

Here are the basic criteria for constructing sound employee survey items that deliver actionable results.


1. Define your objectives

Begin by defining exactly why you’re conducting the survey. What are you trying to accomplish, and importantly, what will you do with the results? It’s critical that the survey content is aligned with objectives and that the results help boost organisational effectiveness and improve employee engagement and commitment. In other words, you’re looking for more than ‘nice to know information’. Survey results should be actionable and enable organisational improvement.


2. Make questions easy to understand

Make your employee survey questions clear and easy to understand by using plain language that everyone will generally comprehend and interpret similarly. Also, use short sentences that speak directly to the point of the question. This will keep the readability scores high and difficulty levels low.


3. Create content that’s applicable to everyone

As a general rule, make sure your survey content is rateable by all employees, not just those in a specific area of the business or at a particular job grade.  Asking for ratings on issues outside of an individual’s experience creates confusion and likely cynicism about the purpose of the survey.


4. Keep questions focused on just one issue

Each item in the survey should deal with just one topic – not two or more. Statistical results for an item that addresses more than one topic will be ambiguous. For example, ‘My supervisor sets clear goals and provides positive reinforcement when employees meet the goals.” What do you want to rate, the goal setting or the positive reinforcement?


5. Phrase items to generate disperse responses

Ideally, there is variance in how employees respond to an item. When all employees respond at either end of the scale, the results don’t reveal much about their perceptions or the differences among groups.


6. Word items in the positive

All survey items should be worded in the positive so that the same end of the response scale always indicates favourable ratings. There is a common myth that mixing in some negatively phrased items will increase accuracy. In fact, this only confuses both the employees taking the survey and the people interpreting the results.


7. Write items to fit with the response scale

There is no one ideal type of employee survey response scale, so make sure that all items are written so the chosen scale is applicable and appropriate. For example, eValue uses a Likert scale with responses written in the familiar either / or format (agree / disagree, important / not important).


8. Be sure not to confound items and response scales

Avoid confounding variables that may lead to inaccurate results. For example, with a frequency response scale (‘always to never’) an item such as, “My supervisor always sets clear goals”, would be confounded.


Repeat the process

Employee surveys are most useful when they’re part of an ongoing measurement system, rather than just one-time snapshots of employee satisfaction or engagement. Trend results are the most powerful way of determining what’s improving and which areas of the business require further attention or different interventions, assuming that some form of remedial action has been taken.

As for frequency, some organisations conduct annual employee surveys, with pulse surveys conducted throughout the year. Some only survey employees every 18 – 24 months. Ultimately, the frequency depends on the type of survey you’re conducting, what you’re trying to achieve and your readiness to act on feedback. Remember, the emphasis is on action and using survey results to improve the employee experience and business performance.




customer survey

How you should be measuring customer experience

By | Customer surveys

As every business knows – delivering first-rate experiences to customers is a strategic priority. But many companies still fail to accurately quantify the complete customer experience (CX). Without a layered approach to CX measurement, you’re missing the first crucial steps in getting insight into customer satisfaction and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to predict customer loyalty with any accuracy. Fail to do this, and you probably won’t survive the decade in a world that’s finely balanced on the fulcrum of customer-centricity.

The case for CX measurement

Customer experience is simple enough – your company’s interaction with your customers. From their perspective – you will be judged on how well you deliver to their wants and needs. But that’s where simplicity ends. Leveraging the power of CX to influence consumer spending and inspire loyalty to your company, begins with an understanding of the complexity of the customer experience.

CX takes place in three areas: the customer journey, the various points of interaction between the customer and your brand, and the different environments in which interaction takes place – from digital environments to the sales floor.

Contact with your company can be both direct (during the purchase phase) and indirect (advertising, word-of-mouth, news items). Now add to this, the different levels at which the customer experience takes place – physical, sensorial, emotional and rational, and ideological.

Although creating a superior customer experience involves six disciplines – strategy, understanding your customer, informed design, accurate measurement, and governance and culture – this blog focuses on measuring customer experiences, and how your understanding of the role and complexity of the customer experience determines how you choose to measure CX.

Common CX measurements

Two of the most widely used customer experience metrics include: Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). eValue’s CX survey maps and links theses metrics for comparative demographic analysis and historical trend analysis.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) – also called the brand or relationship metric – gathers data based on the question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” Scores of nine or 10 represent ‘promoters’, seven or eight ‘passives’, and zero to six ‘detractors’. For deeper qualitative feedback that can guide product or service improvements, an NPS can include a more nuanced follow-up question like “Care to tell us why?” Because the NPS draws on a customer’s experiences with your organisation for the entire duration of the relationship, it is mainly used as a predictor of customer loyalty and can be used to inform your customer retention strategy.

An NPS is the best starting point when initiating a customer feedback program, but keep in mind that NPS surveys will give you an overview of customer experience only. For a customer experience measurement at specific touch points or transactions along the customer journey, you’ll want to include the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

Your CSAT survey gathers data around a recent customer interaction with your company, like a purchase or customer service call, and how satisfied they were with that transaction. CSAT is a popular CX measurement because it can be easily customised to your particular company’s customer experience landscape. It is also highly flexible – allowing for several questions in a longer survey. Responses are then averaged to create an amalgamated CSAT score. It’s recommended that an open-ended follow up question is included – giving people the opportunity to tell you what aspects of satisfaction are working, or not working, for them.

Delving deeper into the customer experience

NPS and CSAT surveys are undoubtedly a valuable source of customer experience metrics. But using a layered approach to measurement will give you a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the landscape and the game-changing insights that could set your company apart.

We recommend delving deeper into your customers’ experiences by using a drip-approach to NPS. This means continuously keeping your finger on the pulse of customer sentiment so you can react to findings in real-time, instead of just once or twice a year, as is common practice.

In the same way, using short CSAT surveys often and when needed, can be used effectively for a specific time period of change, or to identify staff who may need additional training, for example.

When planning to make product or service improvements, include a Product Satisfaction Score (PSAT) in your metrics with a question like: “How satisfied are you with [this product or service]?”

Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys ask the question: “How much effort did it take to have your request handled?” The customer can provide a score of one to 10. A CES can provide insight into your customer churn rate and is a great way to effectively amp up your customer support offering. In fact, CES may be a more accurate forecaster of repurchasing than CSAT.

Putting customer experience metrics to work for you

Measuring customer experience can happen in many ways, using multiple CX metrics in varying combinations. Irrespective of your methodology of choice, to be truly effective, measurement should cover the main categories – quality, satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. Only then will you have the data needed to manage and nurture long-term customer relationships.

Your next step is deciding ways to improve CX, testing these and coming up with scenarios based on your new results, which in turn inform further changes or improvements, and so on.

Of course, continuous testing and optimisation can be an insurmountable challenge for companies using outdated methodology – like surveys that go out to customers once or twice a year. More agile survey methodologies deliver results in real-time, which is especially important for rapidly evolving products and services. They are also able to process this data and unlock insight from real-time qualitative feedback. Once the “why” behind your experience measurements has been established, you’ll be able to quickly prioritise improvements that will drive your business forward.

Contact us today to learn how eValue can help you unlock the customer insights that lead to genuine customer-centric service and long-term loyal relationships.   




3 Key benefits of employee surveys

By | Employee surveys

Employee surveys are one of the best ways to measure the human factors that have the greatest potential to influence your organisation’s performance.

When linked to business strategy, employee surveys can provide a direct reading on levels of engagement and valuable insights on whether corporate culture is conducive to high work performance. Most importantly, surveys linked to strategy reveal quite clearly if your employees are working in alignment with your strategic goals.

Beyond traditional surveys

For decades, traditional employee surveys have focused on satisfaction, morale, quality of work life and other employee-centric issues. The trouble with these traditional methods is that they used lagging indicators to predict problems and measured employee responses in isolation from the rest of the business.

There is still benefit in hearing what your employees have to say – it’s critical, in fact – but in an age of on-tap information and real-time interaction it makes sense to use the insights from survey data to create real behavioural change. That’s what drives business goals.


Link feedback to strategy

Next-generation, strategic employee surveys not only ask the right questions with an eye to improving employee performance, they also draw direct connections between feedback and strategic goals. For example, a typical survey question might ask for response to the statement “I am happy with the kind of feedback I get from my manager.” A strategic survey would phrase the statement, “The feedback I get from my manager helps me improve my work performance.“ Notice the focus of inquiry shifts from the employee’s perception of happiness with feedback, to the perception of how feedback improves work performance.


Strategic surveys vs traditional surveys – what’s the difference?

Traditional surveys

Strategic surveys

Lagging indicators. Looks for warning signs of trouble via lagging indicators, when potential problems are well advanced.Leading indicators. Delivers real-time data, so potential problems can be identified and corrected before they develop.
Employee-centric.  Measures are employee-centric and considered in isolation from the rest of the business.Holistic view. Employee measures are assessed as part of a broader cause and effect chain, relating employee attitudes to customer satisfaction, for example.
HR-centric. Surveys are often developed and managed by HR as ‘employee’ initiatives and typically don’t consider broader strategic goals.Stakeholder inclusive. Surveys include key stakeholders such as Operations, Finance and HR to ensure results reflect a holistic view of the business.
Disconnected. Surveys measure employee job / organisational satisfaction but do not corelate data with employee productivity.Direct correlation. Survey results draw direct correlation between employee engagement data and employee productivity.
Single point of view. Surveys are employee-centric and measure only their perspectives.Multiple views. Surveys reflect broad aspects of the employee / employer relationship and points of mutual benefit.
Humanistic. Surveys measure attitudes, behaviours and morale as humanistic concerns.Organisational. Surveys measure attitudes and behaviours as related to organisational strategy, values and operational needs.


Benefit 1: Success through valuable fast feedback

The value of data gathered around employee perceptions is its potential to act as an early warning signal of any looming human-centric problems that can negatively affect your organisational performance. But perceptions change from one conversation to the next, and your employee engagement level will have more ups and downs than a volatile rand. This makes one of the major benefits of strategic employee surveys not only the quality of data gathered, but how quickly accurate information can be collected, analysed and sent directly to the decision-makers who determine appropriate action.


Benefit 2: Influencing behavioural change

Employee surveys help facilitate the two-way feedback that’s essential for a healthy performance culture aligned to strategic goals.  If you’ve never conducted a survey in your company, your employees may think their opinions don’t count. Or, if you conduct the standard annual survey and 6-months later business continues as usual, they will (quite rightly) conclude that their opinions, perceptions and suggestions don’t matter. In its simplest form, completing a survey gives your employees a voice in shaping their work environment and the performance of your business. This goes for both big companies and small businesses.

A valuable next step to learning from your employees, is the potential to influence them. This is the dance of communication we learn at an early age. Very rarely is information or a suggestion given and received without exerting an element of influence or persuasion. Psychologists believe this is because questions prompt us to reflect. So even if a response to a question is negative – just asking the question can prompt a person to change their behaviour. For example, an employee may respond in the negative to the question: When something unexpected comes up in your work, do you usually know who to ask for help? When responding, the employee thinks about this and is prompted to find a person they can go to for help.


Benefit 3: Understanding where to invest to add value

One of the key benefits of employee surveys is knowing exactly what your people issues are and where they’re cropping up. With this data at hand, you can make informed and fast decisions about the best corrective action.

Strategic surveys, like eValue, use tools to measure employee engagement that provide a deep look into the real issues. Traditional surveys may accurately reflect perceptions but are not necessarily reliable indicators of cause / effect.  So if you’re looking for ways to reduce turnover, the fact that your employees report high satisfaction with your benefits package and selections at the staff canteen, doesn’t suggest you ignore the possibility that your benefits package could use an overhaul. (Or that your canteen menu needs more variety.)

A more nuanced picture of employee engagement produces valuable data that serves not only as a predictor of the performance-impacting human issues within your company, but as a road map to investing in your people to benefit your company as a whole and to drive profits.

Find out how you can turn employee insights into strategic action with eValue. Contact us today.