Sunday, March 30, 2008

Less is more

If you haven’t been following this thread, it’s all about Terrible Questionnaires. The focus is on online surveys and I’m making suggestions on how to avoid writing or commissioning them.

Here’s the first tip: keep them short.

I thought everyone knew about this. But I keep getting 20 minute long (sometimes longer!) questionnaires. Even if I’m interested in the topic, 20 minutes is too long. I get tired and bored.

“But I can’t make it shorter. I need to know about X, Y and Z!” you say emphatically. Well, you also need to know that if your questionnaire is too long, the quality and usefulness of the data you collect will be compromised.

5 minutes. In most cases, I reckon that’s about how long you’ve got before respondents tune out. Flick the “nice to know” and focus on the “need to know” information.

If it must be longer, schedule several sessions (and incentives) over time. Believe me, if the questionnaire is too long, and your respondents get bored and tired, you’ll get rubbish.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why are they Terrible?

There are two ways a questionnaire might be Terrible:

•    It’s uninteresting and difficult to answer, which is Terrible from a respondent’s point of view

•    It fails to collect useful data, which is Terrible from a marketer’s point of view

I’m going to focus on the uninteresting and difficult to answer problem. Because notwithstanding poorly defined research objectives, I can’t think of any other variable that could have as much impact on the usefulness of the data as an uninteresting and difficult to answer questionnaire.

Most of the Terrible Questionnaires in my folder are similarly Terrible: 

    They’re too long,

    They have impossible grids to cope with (sometimes several pages of them) and, 

    Most of them, quite patently, haven’t been test driven.

Over the next few blogs, I’m going to work on some guidelines to avoid the pitfalls of Terrible Questionnaires.

Stay tuned…

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Terrible Questionnaire Folder



I have a folder on my computer desktop called Terrible Questionnaires. 

It houses a vast collection of questionnaires I’ve been sent that I’ve either got stuck on, got tired of, or thought I could have written better.  

Every time I look at the Terrible Questionnaire folder, I get annoyed.

So I’m writing in the hope that those writing, or commissioning, the Terrible Questionnaires will stop doing it, and start writing interesting and easy to complete questionnaires. I’m hoping to do away with the Terrible Questionnaire folder altogether.

Next time, I’ll explain why I think they’re Terrible (capital T). Stay tuned…

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Terrible Questionnaires

As a researcher, I’ve travelled down a (mostly) qualitative research path. It’s a good fit because I find the question of why people think and do what they do, etc to be always and forever fascinating.

Quantitative research, on the other hand, makes my neurons fizzle and for the most part, greatly fatigues them. While I can claim reasonable quantitative proficiency, it’s really not my cup of tea.

But I’m going to write a bit about quantitative questionnaires (to be specific, online surveys).

Tune in over the next few days for some thoughts on Terrible Questionnaires…

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ummm...what about the research?

It did occur to me that I haven’t even touched on research here yet. Ooops.

So next week I’m moving on from the customer experience to more research-y things.

But before I do, what, exactly, do I mean by the customer experience?

If you Google it, you get a load of convoluted brand bollocks over 2 million hits and even Google Scholar has over two thousand links.

But save your clicks - it’s actually very easy to define, and in a useful way no less:

The customer experience is what the customer experiences when they’re being a customer.

This definition, simple and lovely as it is, is also very useful. Use it to examine and define its dimensions. Use it to make it better.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Timely Article

I always try to make time for Time. There's a very interesting piece about Customer Service in the age of self-serve technology in this issue. See what you think.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Listen to this

A fascinating discussion about social networking. 
And all that data too. 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

BlackBerry and Apple Pie

My mobile died. Again. So I’m looking to upgrade to a smart phone.

What I really, really want – what I absolutely covet – is an iphone. But, sigh, we’re still waiting for them to arrive here in Australia.

So I’m on the hunt for a Raspberry BlackBerry. But do you think I can find one to buy? Nope. And worse, do you think anyone can tell me when the next batch is coming in? Not a chance.

Now if I were RIM (who make BlackBerry handhelds), I’d be a bit worried about the launch of the iphone. I’d be making sure that I captured as much of the market as possible before it happened.

So why can’t I buy BlackBerry anywhere?