Ensuring Your Company is Getting Valid and Reliable Information From Surveys

admin  -  Feb 26, 2013  -  No Comments

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One of the biggest challenges facing businesses is sells and customer satisfaction. The best way to understand if companies are productive in these areas, many businesses use surveys as a way to understand customers, develop better practice, or the see how they compare to their competitor. To collect these data, companies tend to use telemarketing firms to conduct surveys. Recently, many companies have moved to using online surveys as a cost effective to gather information.  However, conducting information from a survey does not guarantee the information gather is quality.

What affects the quality of the information a company gathers from a survey is that often the survey used to collect information does not gather the information a company intended to gather, validity of the information from the survey. Or the survey used produce inconsistent information every time the survey is used, reliability of the information from the survey.

If a company is gathering information they did not intend to gather, the company will not be able to use the information for promoting future sells. An example, once a company presented a concern they had about a survey given about a new product they developed.  The company develops a survey to understand if customers were satisfied with the new product. In the survey, the customers are asked 15 questions. First customers are asked 6 questions relate to the salesperson’s approach when presenting the product. Then asked 3 questions related to how the customer uses the product, 4 questions relate to customers’ satisfaction with the product, and 2 questions related how costumers would rate the company.

The company then expects that the information gather from the survey would produce great insight into the value of the product. However, the company finds that a third of the customers like the product, a third dislikes the product, and a third did not elect to answer all of the questions related to the use of the product and satisfaction with the product.  There are two reasons for the customers responses related to these two areas. After presenting these findings and the process for collecting this information to our company, two main issues were found. First, if customers are asked to answer a survey about the product, but were first asked about the selling of the product, this may make the customers question what the survey is really about and influence how they would asked the remaining questions. Second, although the survey is intended to understand customers’ satisfaction with the product, less than half (47%) of the questions were about the product itself.

In this situation the survey may not produce valuable information needed to improve the produce, or to increase sells associated with the product. So, the answers from the survey may not be validity. However, this does not mean that the information from the survey was not reliable. Simple statistical analysis such as item analysis and factor analysis can be used to determine if there are meaningful parts of the survey. In this case, statistical analysis was used and showed that the survey had valid and reliable parts.

The survey was divided in parts to determine if sections of the survey were valid and reliable. In this case, questions related to selling the product was statistically valid and reliable. However, the questions regarding the product itself were not statistically valid and reliable. Valid surveys suggest that the survey measures exact what it intends to measure. While a reliable survey suggest that the survey can be used over and over again and give you the same type of results. Not have valid and reliable survey can send a company mixed messages about their produces, clients, sales, marketing, and over all quality. In turn, business owners and managers many find themselves moving in a direction that is counter productive for business.

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