Case Study: Nationwide Surveys

(Corona, California)

Nationwide Surveys is a consulting company located in Corona, California. Mike Kilgore collects feedback for clients through a variety of different data collection methods: online, kiosks, and paper surveys. The survey respondents are a fixed audience supplied by the client, rather than cold contacts - employees, attendees, customers, or visitors to a store.

Business Challenge 1: Every Client has Different Needs

As a consultant, Mike Kilgore needs to be flexible, fast, and responsive to each client he serves. He works with some clients who know exactly what they want and who come to him with a questionnaire ready to go. Mike helps them by making suggestions, providing data-collection methodology, providing interviewers on-site, all while saving them the ramp-up time of learning new software or designing their surveys in-house. Other clients come to him with a vague concept about their market research direction: "I want to know what our customers think about our product." Mike both helps them by clarifying what they want to do with the information after their survey and by helping design the questionnaire itself. Every client gets the benefit of quick turnaround, expert advice on questionnaire design and ways to use the data collected, and a custom report at the end of the survey process.

To complicate things, Mike's clients need to collect information in a variety of ways. Some want to interview visitors to their stores, requiring a kiosk or interviewers. Some need to use web-based surveys, with invitations mailed to their employees or customers. Others prefer to mail paper surveys.

Solution: Apian's Comprehensive Family of Products

Mike has used all but one of Apian's products and services in meeting his client's needs. He designs scannable paper surveys in SurveyPro and brings the responses in for analysis.

For their first scientific survey they wanted to automate things as much as possible. They used Apian SurveyPro to create a survey that would allow them to efficiently gather the necessary information.

For online surveys, he uses SurveyPro with NetCollect to design and publish surveys to the Internet. When showing a client what their survey would look like, he does a draft and quickly publishes it using Apian QuestionWeb. "For big clients, QuestionWeb allows me to painlessly show them the branching and other features - give them a test drive." If the survey is complex or especially large, he offloads the development and testing to SurveyHost - Apian's full service survey design and hosting.

In discussing his experience working with the SurveyHost team, Mike said, "Everybody's very personable. They give me creative ideas. And it's nice to get callbacks quickly from the support folks."

Previously, Mike had worked for a company that used stand-supported kiosk systems, and he found the reporting of the software left much to be desired. "It was a very basic DOS-based report with no graphics, just tables in dotted lines." He went looking for a better solution and found SurveyPro, which he at first used solely for its reporting functions. When he started his own consulting company, he quickly explored the other capabilities of Apian's products, and found their flexibility a perfect match for his clients' many needs.

Business Challenge 2: Large and Complex Surveys

A client recently called upon Mike to do a conference evaluation survey. There were 500 individual sessions at the conference, 3,600 people doing an average of 6 sessions each, and 33,000 data points.

The client wanted a report for each individual session.

Solution: SurveyPro's Reporting Features and Large Capacity Database

Mike split the information into three different reports. He describes his experience working with SurveyPro's reporting functions. "I clicked 'Report On' to produce individual session reports. This function is just a godsend. It would be extremely time-consuming to filter out five or six hundred times. It's nice to be able to flip between graphic types, from bar chart to graphics. It's also extremely helpful to be able to look at the data from one event to another over time. I use a question to mark which event this happened at, and then can do a cross-tab to quickly compare the summer and fall events."

Mike has explored some very advanced areas of SurveyPro's feature set. He especially appreciates the import matching feature, used to combine different batches of data on a certain variable. For example, a number of surveys are taken by people who indicate the conference session they attended by its ID number. Then, if Mike has a separate file pairing up the number of the session with the date it was conducted, he can import the day of week data and match it with session numbers. "I can immediately convert data to show what day of the week the session was taught and cross-tab on it."

Sometimes the challenge is not about complexity, but purely about size. Mike is working with a client who has 65,000 respondents in the current survey and 66,000 responses from prior years. There are 102 reports associated with these surveys. "It pushes the envelope, but SurveyPro still handles it."

Results:

For Mike Kilgore and Nationwide Surveys, the results are all about making the client happy. He has a 97% repeat rate with his clients. We're delighted that he makes such extensive use of our products and services, and so pleased that his customers have a consultant with so much knowledge of the field.

"There are people who want to do a survey themselves, and people who want to have someone do it for them. The people who hire me don't want to have to learn how to use the software, hire someone to do their surveying, etc. They just want me to do it. I can also support by training, pitching in when they're shorthanded. A new user might want to see how SurveyPro is going to work, and so has me do the survey the first time for them. Then they can invest in purchasing the software and training a new person, or they might decide that I'm worth using again and wasn't too expensive. I have a take care of the customer philosophy."

That's our philosophy too.

For more information about Mike Kilgore and Nationwide Surveys, check out www.nationwidesurveys.com.

For more information about using SurveyPro in your consulting business, see www.apian.com/about/industries/consulting.php.