Democratizing the Research Process


“We appreciate and value your feedback.”

How many times have we heard that particular assertion while waiting on hold for yet another customer service representative? How many times have we seen that written at the bottom of another receipt survey that we’re invited to take? Or how about the large-scale stickers on the back of commercial vehicles querying you right then and there: “How is my driving?”

At every turn, (across industries and businesses large and small) organizations are telling us how important it is that they get good feedback from their consumers.

But in spite of how many companies tell you that they want feedback, have they really made it easier for their employees to collect that information and make sense of it in a meaningful way in order to hone a company’s competitive advantage?

Research as a competitive advantage is often talked about, but rarely implemented effectively. Corporate America loves control in the name of efficiency and productivity, but that sometimes means that they’re not empowering their staff with the entrepreneurial spirit that allows them to take the initiative. They say that they want to be entrepreneurial – but is that just lip service?

The teams that are collecting that information are not always able to solicit and amass feedback on their own – which is strange since in 2012, we are in the age of BYOD (bring your own device to work) and DIY (do it yourself). But thankfully some organizations are now democratizing the ability to collect feedback.

The US AirForce is currently putting this principle into practice. The USAF Services Agency of the is a profit center. They run the bowling alleys, pizza chains, and commercial establishments throughout the  presence in the US. And although they are a profit center, they take all of their profits and consign it to benefits for active-duty service members.  The US Airforce has truly embraced “line level” research as a process. It means that they have empowered over 100 employees to conduct research anytime, anywhere and provided them with the tools to do it effectively – using QuestionPro. We worked with USAF to provide them with a global account provisioning process without them having to incur significant costs. This takes the stress out of conducting research. More folks conduct research and this leads to higher satisfaction and profits, which, in this case, ultimately benefits our active duty military personnel.

So it’s not just about enabling your company or talking about how important feedback is to your progress. It’s about employee empowerment in order to acquire better research and data democratization, it’s about assembling quality data in real time, and allowing the whole team to participate in making that data actionable. It motivates and reduces barriers to adoption across the entire organization. It allows line managers listen to their stakeholders, because it’s never been easier.

We here at QuestionPro are understandably fierce advocates of self-service research. We want to allow anyone to reach their audience; marketers, product managers, line managers, support personnel, small business owners and HR managers. Any enterprise can benefit… if they’re ready.