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The Importance of Multi-dimensional Research

by Paul Mitchell, Client Service Director at SmartWorld

June 2016

Were you satisfied with your experience in store today? Were you satisfied with your purchase? No matter how it is dressed up, this is a Yes / No question, though perhaps not in a single word. The feedback gained is either positive or negative and while it can be cross-referenced against demographics, or any other variable at hand, its use is limited by the single dimension of the response.

Using a rating scale in survey responses help add another layer of information. Scaled responses are more realistic, more human, and more accurate. Who determines what equates to a 'yes' response anyway? In reality it's not so black and white. For one person it could be a 7, for someone else it could be a 10; both these scores could indicate a satisfied customer. What a scaled response does more than a closed response is it offers an impression of the strength of the respondent's feeling. This results in more granular responses and a greater level of understanding.

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This leads us to consider how this information is reported. We may have several thousand survey responses or mystery shopping results which are, almost inevitably, translated into a single score. This is often a percentage, so we arrive at a point where the measure captured is suddenly not so fluid, not so granular. Who determines if that number is good, bad or indifferent? How do we know if that call is right? The most obvious way to determine this is to compare that number against others, either over time, or against other benchmarks.

This provides a framework from which we can say whether the number is 'good' or 'bad' and if it has improved or declined. We can then look at the composite touchpoints in the customer journey and benchmark these against the total score and against each other. But who is to say that a score in a certain area is bad? It may actually be exceeding expectations, but when compared to other areas, it is seen to be lower and thus a potential area of concern and focus.

This is where analysis and actionable insight come to the fore. A result may mean one thing, but compare it with other factors through correlation analysis, or compare it by area manager, day of the week, or the service or product sold or any combination of factors and we are able to tap into a multi-dimensional sliding scale of impact on the customer experience.

While there will always be a need for simple reporting and simple insight to answer the immediate 'How are we performing?' question, the ability to query the research across multiple parameters is often where the new insights are found and where the 'What do we need to do?' question can best be answered. It is this goal, and the return on investment it can deliver, which is the focus of SmartWorld's Analytics Centre of Excellence, which delivers analysis based on diverse statistical techniques and methodologies, globally and across different industries, to ensure our clients have the information they need to improve their customers' experiences.

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SmartWorld provides the information our clients require to track and monitor their customers' experiences, but we also deliver the insight which identifies the best course of action for our clients to take in the future. 

Contact us to find out more.