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Posted on April 24th, 2014, by

Unit 3 – Information from Customers. When attempting to secure information on customer or stakeholder expectations, there are a number of ways of getting information. Besides the focus group, name and describe the technique or method as well as the positive and/or negative aspects of the method named.

The easiest way to realize what the customer wants is to ask him or her. But how this is done may vary. Different companies utilize advisory bodies, questionnaires and focus groups. The information obtained from these tools may be qualitative, quantitative or even both. The company should decide what it wishes to get from this process and how much it wishes to spend since there are expenses associated with each method. There are benefits and detriments for every type of customer assessment tool.

For instance, the questionnaires and surveys are a type of quantitative research, which aims to gather meaningful information concerning a specific subject so it may be analyzed for different tendencies and models. Questionnaires are quite usual. Retail Internet sites usually utilize them to evaluate the customers’ shopping experience, the hotels ask people to fill the questionnaire in at the finale of the stay so that a client can estimate the comfort of room and the quality of food, and you most likely waste time filling in silly Internet surveys. There are four kinds of questionnaire: online, in person, mail, and phone questionnaires, and every type has its pros and cons.

The pros of questionnaires

  • The questionnaire may be deliberately created to be extremely specific, so instead of asking many random questions, the researcher may target the groups based on gender, ethnicity, age or social class. This specificity may be extremely helpful in targeting the main segments of society.
  • The questionnaire is a perfect way of gathering factual data from a large number of individuals, chiefly if the questionnaire is an online, telephone or mail survey.
  • The questionnaires performed across a vast quantity of individuals are usually a time efficient and economical method of gathering a huge amount of raw information for the aims of statistical analysis.
  • The questionnaires using closed queries may be statistically analyzed and the results are usually depicted in a type of charts.
  • The questionnaires may help the researchers to identify a smaller representative example from a larger cross section of humans.

The cons of questionnaires

  • Certain types of questionnaires are not economical to undertake: phone surveys are expensive to set up as a third party market research organization will have to be recruited to carry out interviews.
  • Certain types of surveys are less effective than others at generating necessary information.
  • There is a risk of participant prejudice of the topics for the questionnaire if people are not thoroughly selected.
  • The questionnaires not given in person may be open to misunderstanding.
  • The results could be influenced by various degrees of literacy in an audience and people might not realize the questions, which would impact the soundness of the results.
  • A poorly created questionnaire is likely to create untrustworthy results.
  • The questionnaires may be influenced by response bias whereby the respondent provides answers that he/she believes the researcher is looking for (De Wit and Meyer, 2004).

Unit 3 – Focus Group   There are many ways to secure information from the customers.  One of these is a focus group.  Research a focus group and explain how the process works?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of this process?

Focus groups are the method of interviewing then the communication between the group and the moderator, and the communication between group members, works to draw out data and insights in reaction to thoroughly created questions. The dynamic essence of questions asked by a moderator and group process creates a degree of insight, which is rarely taken from unidirectional data collection methods, for instance, observation, surveys and not so interactional approaches. Methods of recording and analyzing data obtained during focus groups, and strategies for gathering the unbiased data have helped focus group research to obtain credibility as the correct and helpful resource of data gathering.

To organize the focus groups it is important to select the participants. Focus groups are usually comprised of six to ten people who do not know each other and who possess comparable associations to the subject being investigated. Selecting similar participants can help them to share thoughts more freely and may prevent the results from being so confused that no results can be developed. Focus groups usually cover about five major questions (each with sub questions) in the period of ninety minutes. The moderator should manage the process so that crucial data may be achieved in a sensible amount of time. It is helpful to state the group will run for two hours to stop conflicts appearing from late arrivers or subjects warranting further examination. It should be mentioned that setting in which a focus group is carried out should be very comfortable.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Focus Groups

A decision of whether to utilize the focus groups depends upon the strong points and restrictions of the popular focus groups in contrast to the other methods. These are three ways of obtaining data and how the process and outcomes might be different from the focus groups.

1) Naturalistic observation possesses certain benefits over the focus groups. The groups are conducted in the not natural setting. The presence of a moderator can impact responses, which might be dissimilar in a more natural social setting.

2) Personal interviews are more competent that the focus groups and interviewers are usually capable to cover more ground interviewing an individual versus a group. Whilst focus groups can, in fact, obtain less data, the dynamic communication among the group participants may cause more in depth and unprejudiced data concerning a subject. A possible flaw of focus groups may take place when people do not express the personal points of view and conform to a general opinion.

3) Questionnaires contrasted to the focus groups are comparatively easy and reasonably priced to develop, analyze and communicate the findings. Questionnaires can be managed to the masses whilst focus groups usually draw out data from only eight to 24 humans who represent the populace being researched. Questionnaires can comprise as many questions as the assessor believes the respondents will complete, whilst focus group moderators may ask five or so major questions. So why utilize a focus group?? Sometimes evaluator wishes to obtain a deeper understanding of the matters. Focus groups are capable to investigate far deeper into matters than questionnaires.

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