Surveys Boost Satisfaction

Reuters, the Air Force Inspection Agency and the Diabetes Association use Web survey software to meet multiple needs.

IT managers at Reuters America Inc., in New York, are charged with meeting the companys technology needs, including support for 14,000 users. To help accomplish this, Troy Van Marter, director of CIO Service Delivery in the Americas, uses SurveySolutions Enterprise Web survey and portal software from Perseus Development Corp. to determine companywide satisfaction with the IT services offered.

The surveys have been successful within Reuters, with a response rate that often reaches 40 percent (a good participation rate for questionnaires). As a result, Web surveys have enabled Reuters to deploy technology more effectively, Van Marter said.

"We developed a global program to capture employee feedback on all IT services offered by CIO [Service Delivery], and we found that employees really liked it because it gave them a direct voice on the services and support we provide," said Van Marter in New York.

"In the past, the only means of voicing issues would be through a help desk mechanism, and weve found that these surveys give us a real measure of how were accomplishing our goals," he said.

As with Reuters, many organizations have discovered that the easiest way to determine customer needs and assess their satisfaction is through Web surveys. While customer relationship management software can provide analytical tools for achieving these goals, sometimes its faster and more effective to use a traditional method such as surveying to collect customer information.

Van Marter began using the Perseus product two years ago with the launch of an employee satisfaction survey on IT services provided in North and South America. Although he was initially concerned with receiving enough feedback, Van Marters fears were soon allayed when use of the program gained enough momentum and appeal that IT departments in Europe and Asia asked to participate.

Using SurveySolutions Enterprise 6.0.114 and Enterprise Portal 6.0.112, Van Marter designs and deploys a global survey every quarter that questions employees worldwide on everything from the technology services theyre looking for to how responsive they find the help desk to be.

"Were able to capture data for quantitative analysis that is used in PowerPoint presentations for our executives to understand how and where technology can be used to improve the business," Van Marter said.

Employees receive an e-mail with a link that takes them to an internal portal. There, the employees take a survey designed to be completed in about 25 minutes.

The Perseus software is hosted internally at data centers at Reuters, and data from surveys is written to Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server database after the surveys have been submitted. If Reuters ever has a server issue, automatic rollover to a Perseus hosted site will ensure that survey takers arent negatively affected.

At the American Diabetes Association, in Alexandria, Va., Marty Moore, director of strategic marketing, uses Web surveys for everything from polling potential donors to marketing new programs. Moore, who uses Inquisite Inc.s Inquisite 6.5, said he chose to have his surveys hosted because he sends surveys to thousands of respondents at a time and wants to ensure high availability.

"I chose the ASP [application service provider] product over the stand-alone box product because I wanted the surveys to be available 99.9 percent of the time," said Moore. "In the nonprofit world, we choose what we spend our money on very carefully, and Web surveys were something we wanted done right."

To date, Moore has conducted about 60 surveys, polling as few as 13 people and as many as 5,000. All the data from surveys is stored in an Inquisite-hosted Oracle database. This setup allows Moore to export data for use with other applications, including the CRM software the American Diabetes Association uses in its call center.

As Web survey technology has matured, organizations have been able to build increasingly sophisticated questionnaires that include the randomization of answers and question branching, as well as the ability to display a custom question set based on how a participant is answering questions.

At the Air Force Inspection Agency, which provides Air Force leaders with assessments of, for example, mission capabilities and resource management, Capt. David Pena relies on Web survey software to develop questionnaires that measure everything from air crew protection to the level of fatigue of ship workers on duty. The results of the questionnaires are then analyzed and used to potentially improve existing programs for wartime and peacetime missions.

Using Raosoft Inc.s EZSurvey Professional 2004, Pena, chief of communications and information division headquarters, said he can get an 80 to 90 percent return rate on questionnaires he sends within the Air Force nationwide. He uses Raosofts EZReport 2004 product to analyze the data, looking, for example, for commonalities in the answers based on rank.

"The tool and the data resulting from questionnaires are valuable to senior leaders who make management decisions," said Pena, who is stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base, in Albuquerque, N.M. "Policies are made based on Air Force Inspection Agency recommendations that stem from questionnaire results."

Although information the Air Force Inspection Agency collects from questionnaires is not classified, EZSurveys strong security capabilities were a key factor when deciding which system to go with, said Pena.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at


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