Not many people enjoy telephone surveys, particularly those with numeric answers.
I gave up taking part in them some years ago after requests grew to several a week and I found the donations to charity offered declining and sometimes not even made.
The biggest challenge was the time they took. You knew when the interviewer, who usually knows little about the subject, says 15-20 minutes it’s often more like 35.
So are there quicker and easier and cheaper ways to get feedback beyond measuring the often thoughtless and wild comments bandied about in social media?
Are there ways to make stakeholders think about the answer a little harder than they would when tweeting or commenting on a Facebook page?
Doing so is simply about using technology in a smart way.
Despite the myriad problems that exist with quantitative research methodologies generally (here’s a good book on some qual/quan methods that can work) numbers, where we can use them to provide some guidance, do matter, even in the field of corporate sustainability.
I heard recently from someone with an ecology Phd that carbon emissions, along with many other pollutants, cannot actually be properly measured, in that there is a +20% / -20% margin of error. I’m looking into that further.
Despite science not sometimes being exact, data hits home, and so we are all under pressure to produce it, even on very subjective matters like how we feel about a company or organisation.
The mobile firm 02, owned by Telefonica, recently sent me a very simple customer survey which I could respond to, in seconds, via free text message.
It’s not perfect by any means (how does one pick 2 out of 5 rather than 3 when responding?).
But it gave me pause for thought: Could this technology be utilised for a little more than basic customer satisfaction surveys? How about a targeted survey to a set stakeholder group, with a donation confirmation to follow?
I don’t know of any company doing this with sustainability/reputation/trust research in mind, beyond the simple examples below, but it strikes me it’s certainly worth thinking about.