Database Systems Corp.
Home  |   Contact Us  |   About Us  |   Sign Up  |   FAQ

predictive dialers and crm software
computer telephony software predictive dialer

Voice Broadcasting
Automatic Call Distribution
Telecommuting Software
Voice Recording Software
Predictive Dialer
Business Phone Systems
Office Phone Systems
Phone Software
Softphone IVR System
Computer Phone Software
Softphone Phone System
Emergency Broadcast Systems
Emergency Communications

predictive dialers and crm software
computer telephony software predictive dialer

Customer Survey Software
Church Events Announcements
School Alert Service
Digital Phone Systems
Collection Predictive Dialer
Debt Collection Software
Human Resources Software
Financial Services Marketing
Mortgage Software
Mortgage Calculator
Mortgage Leads
Call Centers
Marketing Leads
Real Estate Leads
Insurance Lead Providers
Fund Raising By Phone
Store Locator Phone Service
Insurance Marketing Leads
Insurance Software Solutions
Mortgage Marketing
Political Call System
Political Activism
Real Estate Marketing
Real Estate Marketing Tools
Real Estate Software
Real Estate Listings
Reminder System

predictive dialers and crm software

Telephone Surveys
Customer Survey
IVR Phone Surveys
Touchphone Surveys
Phone Survey Software
Customer Surveys
IVR Call
Clinical IVR
Employee Opinion Survey
Automatic Surveys
Salary Survey
Customer Satisfaction Survey
Customer Service Surveys Opinion Survey
Automated IVR Survey
Political Survey
Marketing Survey
Consumer Survey
Automatic Survey
Survey Dialers
Phone Surveying
Automatic IVR Surveys
IVR Survey Software
Survey Autodialer
Market Research Survey

emergency notification systems

phone survey and customer surveys
ivr survey software solution

Automated Customer Surveys

Technology from Database Systems Corp. lets you develop IVR survey applications using our interactive voice response IVR solutions. Surveys can be initiated by outbound phone calls or can be a response to callers. Using our PACER and WIZARD phone systems with the Smart Message Dialer and survey software, we can call your survey prospects and play a highly focused and custom greeting. We then can give your survey audience the option to take your survey or even talk with a representative, leave a voice message, hear additional information, or simply decline to participate in the survey. The survey can accept touchphone response or can record each question response for later analysis. To view more information regarding our automated phone applications, please visit our Automatic Phone Survey solution web page.

The following is an article relating to automated survey techniques and products and services in our business.

Do Your Survey Questions Spoil Your Survey Results?

John Burnham is president of Real Measures, Inc.

The good news: Online survey tools have made it easier than ever to conduct member-needs surveys quickly and inexpensively.

The bad news: These technologies also make it easier than ever to conduct badly designed surveys.

The problems aren’t limited to online tools. Poor design can undermine the value of any survey, including the traditional mail and phone kinds. However, the popularity of online survey tools that practically anyone can use to disseminate Web-based surveys makes it more likely that untrained staff will neglect the importance of writing questions that will produce reliable results.

Whenever you inadvertently conduct a badly designed survey, the best-case scenario is that you realize your information is useless before you take action based on it. The worst case occurs when you divert your association’s resources to act on what you think is good information—and the information turns out to be either useless or actually misleading.

Even a simple member-needs survey has subtle but important question-design points you must keep in mind. Most question-design problems arise from ignoring one or both of the two most basic question-design principles: You must 1) start with the end in mind and 2) eliminate all ambiguity. Here bad and good examples of these principles at work.

1. Start with the end in mind
When you design a survey question, start by thinking about what you want to do with the information you’re trying to gather. Consider the following question:

Please indicate your company’s annual equipment expenditures for the most recent fiscal year:

a. Less than $100,000
b. $100,000 to $500,000
c. $500,001 to $1 million
d. More than $1 million

As written, this question may be fine as a basis for running a segment report based upon annual equipment expenditures. However, it doesn’t work if you want to be able to provide average annual equipment expenditures as a selling point for advertising or exhibit sales or as the basis for a calculation (such as equipment expenditures per employee). In that case, you need to ask for an actual expenditure number in an open-ended question:

Please indicate your company’s annual equipment expenditures for the most recent fiscal year: $_______________

2. Eliminate all ambiguity
To get a sense of how unclear even a simple      question can be, consider these examples of two different ways to ask the “same” question.

Version 1:
Please rank the value of the following five XYZ Association products and services using a scale of 1 to 5:

____ Item 1

____ Item 2

____ Item 3

____ Item 4

____ Item 5

This question has several problems, including:

a. Does a ranking of 1 or 5 mean this is the most valuable?

b. Assuming that a ranking of 1 means the item is the most valuable:

            b1. Does that mean that the item ranked 1 is highly valuable? Not necessarily.

            b2. Is there a large or small difference between the item ranked 1 and the item ranked 2? There is no way to know.

  b3. Is there a large or small difference between the item ranked 1 and the item ranked 5? There is no way to know.

c. Does low value mean that the item is not important—or that it’s important but not well delivered?

d. Is this question asking the value of the item to the individual, the individual’s company, the industry, or the profession? Again, not clear.

e. Ranking questions are unnecessarily difficult to answer. After reading down all items in the list, respondents must then go back and compare each item to each of the others rather than just reviewing the value/importance/satisfaction of each item on its own. This is especially hard with long lists of items that are similarly valued.

The meaning of this question’s results will be ambiguous and so essentially useless. Because you’ll come away with no information on the importance of each item or how well your association delivers it, the question gives you nothing to act on.

Now consider an alternative.

Version 2:
Please rate the importance you place on the following five XYZ Association products and services and your satisfaction with them:










Product or Service

Importance Rating:

NA – Not Aware

1 – Not Important at All

2 – Somewhat Unimportant

3 – Neutral

4 – Somewhat Important

5 – Critically Important

Satisfaction Rating:

NA – Not Aware

1 – Completely Unsatisfied

2 – Somewhat Unsatisfied

3 – Neutral

4 – Somewhat Satisfied

5 – Extremely Satisfied


       Important                    Critically

       At All                            Important


       Completely                Extremely

       Unsatisfied                Satisfied

Item 1

NA      1       2       3       4       5

NA      1       2       3       4       5

Item 2

NA      1       2       3       4       5

NA      1       2       3       4       5

Item 3

NA      1       2       3       4       5

NA      1       2       3       4       5

Item 4

NA      1       2       3       4       5

NA      1       2       3       4       5

Item 5

NA      1       2       3       4       5

NA      1       2       3       4       5

Look back through the problems that come with Version 1 and you’ll see that this question avoids every issue it raises.

Here is another example of an ambiguous question:

How do you find out about industry events?

a. Web
b. news media
c. advertisement

This question is ambiguous in several respects:

a. The responses are not mutually exclusive, because both news media and advertisements may be found on the Web. The overlap creates ambiguity for your respondent and means your aggregated results will also be unclear.

b. The responses are not at all exhaustive. Other choices might include word of mouth and e-mail.

c. Respondents have no way to tell you if they find out through multiple sources (which is especially important if they’re interested in more than one type of industry event).

d. If it’s possible that respondents are part of more than one industry, the question should define the industry being referenced.

The following version of the same question will provide much more actionable information:

How do you prefer to find out about events in the ABC industry?

a. association Web site
b. event Web site
c. Web search engine/index
d. e-mail advertisement
e. newsletter
f. industry magazine
g. word of mouth

You may also want to ask participants to specify their favorite Web site, search engine, or newsletter or magazine or to choose their favorite ones from a list you provide (if that’s practical).

If you want to learn more about survey design, a professionally trained market researcher on your staff, at a nearby university, or in private practice can steer you right. No matter what, think carefully about how you design your questions. Your wording can make the difference between truly actionable data and useless information that causes you to waste valuable resources—not the least of which are your members’ time and patience.

John Burnham is president of Real Measures, Inc., in Arlington, Virginia. E-mail: Copyright 2004 John Burnham.