CMA Research gains insight into large-scale customer surveys

Using IBM Business Analytics technologies to measure and improve satisfaction levels

Published on 04-Dec-2012

"SPSS has been at the heart of our business since day one, and over the course of our long relationship, we have been pleased to see how the software has evolved to become even more powerful and user-friendly. For both large-scale surveys and special projects, SPSS is an absolutely vital tool – and we believe it will remain so for the foreseeable future." - Barbro Eriksson, Manager for Market Research at CMA Research

Customer:
CMA Research

Industry:
Professional Services

Deployment country:
Sweden

Solution:
BA - Business Analytics, BA - Predictive Analytics

Overview

CMA Research is a leading Swedish research agency that focuses on customer, employee and market research. Originally formed as a spin-off from Linköping University, the company is now a privately owned business that employs approximately 25 academically trained staff.

Business need:
To help its clients measure, understand and influence customer and employee satisfaction, CMA Research needs to be able to manage and analyse complex data-sets generated by large-scale surveys.

Solution:
IBM® SPSS® Statistics provides a powerful, customisable and user-friendly platform that helps CMA Research gain rapid insight into the data and perform sophisticated statistical analyses.

Benefits:
Enables CMA Research to provide clients with valuable insights into the drivers that influence customer and employee satisfaction, and advise on the best ways to improve. Makes it possible to handle even the largest research projects – for example, multi-round surveys with as many as 25,000 respondents. Supports the development of powerful customised macros that save time and effort for common analysis tasks.

Case Study

To read a Swedish version of this case study, please click here.

CMA Research is a leading Swedish research agency that focuses on customer, employee and market research. Originally formed as a spin-off from Linköping University, the company is now a privately owned business that employs approximately 25 academically trained staff.

Many of the company’s research projects involve large-scale surveys of a company’s employees or customers. The customer surveys in particular can be very demanding projects – in some cases involving as many as 25,000 respondents and 10 to 15 rounds of follow-up surveys conducted over a number of years. CMA’s researchers collect hundreds of thousands of data-points via paper surveys, by phone or from online survey tools, and analyse them using sophisticated statistical techniques. This enables the research team to identify the main drivers behind customer satisfaction, draw up profiles for different groups of customers, and measure trends over time.

A history of success with SPSS
Barbro Eriksson, Manager for Market Research at CMA Research, comments: “Ever since we set up the company more than 20 years ago we have relied on products from the IBM SPSS Statistics family to support our analyses. It would be impossible to run our business without SPSS – we use it for the kind of advanced statistics that you just can’t handle with pivot tables and spreadsheets.”

She adds: “When we founded CMA Research, we chose SPSS as our analytics platform because we had learned how to use it when we were working at Linköping University. 20 years on, SPSS is still one of the leading tools for statisticians, whether they are working in academia or the private sector – which means that we are always able to find new employees who have good SPSS skills.

“Moreover, as new versions of the software have been released, SPSS has become more and more user-friendly. Even if we employ someone who hasn’t used it before, they tend to learn very quickly. The interface is very intuitive and the online help is excellent.”

Rapid visibility of data
One of CMA Research’s favourite features of IBM SPSS Statistics is the fact that users can view the raw data within the SPSS interface.

“Being able to see the data itself is very helpful, especially at the start of an analysis,” comments Barbro Eriksson. “It allows us to get a good initial idea of what data we’ve got, whether there are any missing values, and so on. This helps us make better decisions about how to prepare the data for analysis, and decide which types of analytical techniques will be most appropriate.”

Sophisticated analyses and automation
The solution also makes it easy to apply a wide range of common analytical tools to the data – frequencies, correlations, descriptives, cross-tabs and variances can all be performed with a few mouse-clicks. For more sophisticated analyses, CMA Research has developed a number of macros that use syntax (SPSS’s own programming language) to automate complex tasks.

“We work on about 200 surveys a year, and although they are all different, they tend to share many features,” says Barbro Eriksson. “The ability to create and re-use macros to handle common tasks saves us a great deal of time.”

Value of multi-round surveys
CMA Research recommends that most of its clients should follow up on employee and customer surveys on a regular basis – typically every one to three years. This allows analysts to track changes in satisfaction levels over time, and gives the client an idea of whether their improvement initiatives are working effectively. The SPSS solution provides an ideal platform for these kinds of multi-round surveys.

“For customer surveys, we always define a customer satisfaction index – which is basically a performance measure that assesses all the drivers behind customer satisfaction and gives the company a score on each,” says Barbro Eriksson. “This allows companies to see how their customers perceive the quality of the service they receive, how they feel about delivery schedules, whether their problems were addressed effectively, and so on.

“When we repeat a survey, we can show our clients how their customer satisfaction index is changing over several years. What we usually find is that once the problem areas have been identified, our clients do a good job of improving them. However, once the main problems have been fixed, we often find that other issues have come to the surface. So it’s very important to keep doing the surveys regularly.”

Looking to the future
In addition to customer and employee surveys, CMA Research also conducts special projects involving more sophisticated approaches, including time-series and predictive analyses. This is an area of the business that the company hopes to expand in the future.

“We would like to do more projects that involve predictive analysis, and we’re looking at some of the advanced SPSS modules that could help us with this,” says Barbro Eriksson. “We’re quite advanced SPSS users, so we can do a lot of predictive analysis already, even with the basic package – but some additional tools would make things even easier.”

She concludes: “SPSS has been at the heart of our business since day one, and over the course of our long relationship, we have been pleased to see how the software has evolved to become even more powerful and user-friendly. For both large-scale surveys and special projects, SPSS is an absolutely vital tool – and we believe it will remain so for the foreseeable future.”

About IBM Business Analytics
IBM Business Analytics software delivers data-driven insights that help organisations work smarter and outperform their peers. This comprehensive portfolio includes solutions for business intelligence, predictive analytics and decision management, performance management, and risk management.

Business Analytics solutions enable companies to identify and visualise trends and patterns in areas, such as customer analytics, that can have a profound effect on business performance. They can compare scenarios, anticipate potential threats and opportunities, better plan, budget and forecast resources, balance risks against expected returns and work to meet regulatory requirements. By making analytics widely available, organisations can align tactical and strategic decision-making to achieve business goals.

For more information
For further information please visit ibm.com/business-analytics

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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
SPSS Statistics

Legal Information

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