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Category: Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Does Your Panel Data Have Bad Respondents?

Online panels are becoming a popular sample source in marketing research because they readily provide a pool of respondents who are willing to participate in surveys. However, recent research suggests that when these panels are used, it is likely that some fraudulent data will be collected because of the presence of ‘professional survey takers’ who take surveys merely to get incentives. These panelists are likely to answer differently from the engaged respondent, so their responses can potentially impact the findings of the research. 

Before beginning a study based on panel data, the panel vendor should be interviewed to determine what controls they have in place to prevent “bad” panel responses. Even if there are good controls in place, it is probably also a good idea to examine the data collected via a panel and consider some respondents for deletion from the dataset. Some things to look for when trying to identify these fraudulent respondents are:

·         Speeding: These respondents take the survey at a much faster pace than normal, suggesting that perhaps they are just trying to get through the survey and are not supplying thoughtful responses to the questions asked. 

o    Recommendation: Respondents identified as speeders should immediately be removed from the dataset. 

·         Illogical Responses: These respondents type nonsense or gibberish into the open-ended questions of the survey, or provide an answer that is clearly not a proper response to the question. 

o    Recommendation: Answers such as these show that the respondent was not giving a lot of thought to the survey. Respondents who answered gibberish should immediately be deleted from the dataset. Others should be considered for removal, with the final decision resting on whether or not they were deemed fraudulent in other areas.

·         Trap Failure: These respondents fail to correctly answer a “trick” question that has been placed in the survey (ex: “Please answer ‘Very Satisfied’ to this question). 

o    Recommendation:  Consider removing these respondents from the dataset if they are also identified as fraudulent in other areas.

·         Straight-lining: These respondents give the same response to each question throughout the survey. This might be an indication of thoughtlessness during the survey, but it may also truly be how the respondent feels. 

o    Recommendation: This is a more subjective indication of a bogus respondent. Therefore, it is recommended to leave these respondents in the dataset unless their lack of variation is causing problems in the analysis.  

In conclusion, online panels provide many benefits, but if you’re using them, be sure you’re doing some checks on the back-end to ensure you have only the highest quality respondents!

Jessica Gregory,

Marketing Sciences

Is Strategic Account Management like birth order?

Having just spent quality time over the holiday weeks with my three kids, I was eager to check out this website about birth order and personality ( I was curious to see if it nailed each of my kid’s personalities.  It offers each birth order’s traits as strengths and weaknesses and even suggests future career choices that might be typical fits.

  • First-borns are typically confident, organized and seek approval, are perfectionists, feel like they’re not good enough (lots of stress), and don't like to be told what to do.  Good career fits are high-precision paths like medicine and law, or they tend to seek leadership/control positions like boss or business owner.
  •  Middle children tend to be more difficult to define/read and raise. They can be mysterious, suspicious, and stubborn.  They are also independent, peacemakers/mediators.  They fit with creative careers like sales, advertising, or art and love to stand out from the crowd.
  • Last-borns are outgoing, social, affectionate, and funny – but can be spoiled, self-centered, manipulative, and immature.  They like to do their own thing, have no boundaries, take risks; so they might be inventors or entrepreneurs.

The website even includes profiles of only children and twins – and includes parenting tips with advice on effectively raising each child.

It got me thinking – is managing a portfolio of different accounts (and their "varying personalities") at all like raising different children, with varying traits, strengths, weaknesses, and inclinations?  You might have an account that could be characterized as a perfectionist, a mystery, or a risk-taker.  First, being aware of and in tune with, and then adapting strategies to your customers’ unique traits and personalities can lead to effective account management.  It can be a lot like raising a family.  What do you think?

Brad Linville
Principal, Sr. VP, Strategic Accounts

Leslie Pagel

Some questions about building virtual relationships

There are two things happening next week that I’m really excited about. Walker is hosting several of our clients for our Walker Fall Forum. And, we are offering this event live via streaming video to clients who are unable to attend in-person.

As we prepare for this in-person and virtual event, it is clear that there are numerous tools for sharing content virtually. In fact, I’m hard pressed to come up with a reason why someone would need to meet in-person to simply share content. If you can think of one, please let us know.

The real challenge with conducting business virtually isn’t content sharing. It is building relationships. How do you replicate the small talk that occurs while sitting next to someone at a conference or the more intimate conversation that takes place over dinner?

In an earlier blog titled, "Are travel restrictions impacting our relationships with customers?" I talk about how tools like Cisco Telepresence and Virtual Worlds help professionals connect with each other virtually. I suggest that the tools are available to build relationships virtually, but it is our challenge to use them effectively.

I truly believe this and stats like "1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media," make it hard to refute.

But, after spending several weeks preparing for Walker’s in-person and virtual event, I have some questions that I hope to explore:

1- Does it take longer to build relationships virtually? If so, what implications does this have on our customer, colleague, vendor, and partner relationships?
2- When putting on an event that is both in-person and virtual, is it possible to build relationships with the virtual audience too? If so, how?

As business activities continue to become more remote and travel restrictions stay in-tact, we owe it to our customers to try these new tools for not only sharing content, but also building strong and trustworthy relationships.

Note: This post was originally published in Customer Connection on 9/24/2009.

Phil Bounsall

Clean Out Your Toy Box

I remember as a child when my mother told me to clean out my toy box, I was not happy. It was a chore, a “no-fun” task. I dreaded it. But once I got started I always found things I had forgotten about, things that I later played with for hours. Looking back, cleaning out my toy box was one of the things that always paid off.

One of the things that always pays off for me now is my involvement with community organizations. Most of my community time now is spent with Special Olympics. The personal rewards for me are many and meaningful and I call on them almost daily.

But like my toy box, Special Olympics often surprises me with business pay offs too. I frequently find some type of inspiration that leads to a positive outcome in my business life. The latest inspiration that I found in my Special Olympics toy box came from the founder of Special Olympics, an incredible woman named Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Many of you might recognize her as the sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy. Both Mrs. Shriver and Senator Kennedy passed away in August 2009.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was one of the most visionary people of our times, especially when it comes to people and our society. Want a little inspiration from her? She founded Special Olympics 40 years ago. What did she do? She provided a safe place for those with intellectual disabilities to fit in, to make lasting friendships, to compete and improve their physical fitness. All of those things are very important and a tremendous task in and of themselves. But those are simply things that describe how she did what she set out to do. Those are how she changed the world forever.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver catalyzed a movement that has lasted 40 years and is still going strong. The movement includes Special Olympics athletes, their parents, their relatives, their friends, thousands of volunteers in every state and nearly every country and small, unbelievably dedicated staffs that make the organization run.

The movement has brought intellectually disabled people into the mainstream of our society. It has forever changed how the world views and treats those with intellectual disabilities. But here is the real kicker…it has changed each and every one of us that has been touched by the Special Olympics athlete that works in our office, bags groceries at our local grocery store, works at the home improvement store where we shop. The insights and inspiration we get from this dedicated, valuable and loyal part of our business world are priceless.

Mrs. Shriver set out to change our society. She gave a 40-year gold medal performance. All of the benefits that athletes derive in their daily participation in training and competition are really parts of the “how” she succeeded in changing our world. And this is terrific inspiration for those of us thinking about the value proposition that we bring to our customers. What are we ultimately trying to accomplish on their behalf? How can we bring profound change to their world in a way that makes them more successful?

Keep your eyes open. Inspiration is all around us.

Take CARE!

Taking care of your customers is now more important than ever. Social media has given people a larger platform to air their grievances. Take David Carroll for example.

Dave, a guitarist in the band, “Sons of Maxwell,” had a bad experience with United Airlines and his $3,500 710 Taylor guitar (for the complete story, click here). When baggage handlers broke his guitar, Dave contacted them to seek compensation. For months he was passed from one person to the next. What did he do about it? He used his talent in concordance with social media to distribute a song, “United Breaks Guitars.”

Did United get the message?

Within four days of this song being released, United found themselves in a PR nightmare. Stocks fell 10% costing shareholders around $180 million, and tarnishing their reputation.

Don’t take your customers for granted. Put your customer listening program to good use.

Dan McCormick
Marketing Communications