contact us today

0161 448 1388

The vast majority of housing organisations undertake some kind of resident research on a very regular basis, from periodic STAR surveys to ongoing monitoring of service based transactions, such as repairs, estate services or contact centres. The importance of understanding what customers think and what their priorities are is widely understood and well documented across the sector, but when the research programmes of most social housing landlords are examined, a much smaller number attach as much importance to surveying their staff with equal frequency. Look closer still and even fewer ask their stakeholders and other professional partners for their perceptions of the organisation in a measurable and systematic way.

So what are the benefits of a more holistic approach to surveying?

Understanding the views of customers versus employees can really help to highlight any gaps between service delivery and actual satisfaction. There can be a very big difference in opinion between what staff feel about the quality of service and what customers think. It is an ideal way to identify where additional resources or training may be required and to bridge any gaps.

When you are working within the environment of an organisation, it can be difficult to view the organisation with objectivity. How is the organisation really perceived? What are the strengths and weaknesses? What image does it successfully project? Is it perceived as providing Value For Money? Do external partners enjoy the experience of working with your employees, or is reality different?

Ratings from regulatory bodies and benchmarking can provide some context to these types of question, but what about other stakeholders and partners? Research into the views of partners such as contractors, lawyers, accountants, agency partners and others can be very revealing. Kwest can tailor research programmes to incorporate the views of all your customers – inside and outside of your organisation – providing a 360° view of performance.

Call today for an informal chat with one of our Project Managers, or email us at
Kwest would like to wish everyone a very happy festive break and New Year!

Our offices are closed for the holiday period after 22 December and will reopen on 2 January 2018. We'll see you then!
Kwest’s updated Online Analyst has recently gone live with a host of enhanced features, including new dashboards and multi-mode survey capability, as well as increased flexibility in data presentation. Watch this space for further news…

The approach of autumn sees the start of a number of exciting new projects at Kwest, together with our latest software and systems updates. We look forward to welcoming clients, new and old, and to working with them over the coming months.
The summer months are some of the busiest in the housing sector for planning and undertaking resident surveys. Social housing landlords are now choosing to make use of an increasing range of options to consult their customers, including telephone, postal, online and SMS surveys. If your organisation is considering undertaking a survey in the near future, or if you just want to chat about the best way to undertake a project, please don’t hesitate to contact one of Kwest’s Senior Project Managers on 0161 448 1388.

Kwest is looking foward to the Manchester Housing Conference 2017. This is the sixth year that Manchester has hosted the conference - a great event for the city, attracting some 8,000 housing professionals, 200 speakers and a huge range of exhibitors.
With ever tightening budgets, many housing providers are beginning to turn towards SMS (or text) surveys as a means of monitoring service quality, but how effective is this in reality?

Kwest has recently undertaken an assessment of the use of text surveys in the housing sector and here are some key points to remember when considering this technique.

Text surveys have a number of benefits which make them attractive:
  • Firstly, they are simple to run, and easy to automate.
  • They enable all customers in a sample to be contacted quickly.
  • Most responses arrive within 24 hours.
  • SMS surveys offer the lowest cost methodology for collecting customer feedback
So, if you want a fast, easy approach to gathering a small amount of information, then they can be very effective. This all sounds great, so what's the catch?

  • SMS surveys tend to have a low response rate. One reason for this is that reminder texts are not sent because they can lead to participant requests for permanent exclusion from future surveys.
  • As a type of self-completion questionnaire, text surveys generate over response from some groups. This skews results with misleadingly high proportions of "top box" or "bottom box" responses such as "very satisfied" or "very dissatisfied". In contrast, some groups under respond, particularly those who are simply busy, or who have received an "ok" service.
  • When you are trying to find out why customers are unhappy, additional feedback is useful. In our text tests, 30% of participants who rated their recent service experience as poor did not provide any feedback at all. In fact, 80% of all text responses to our open-ended question provided feedback comprising fewer than 20 words.
  • Questions are delivered one by one and dropout rates increase as each is sent - if you want to collect a lot of information, then a text survey is not the best way forward.
  • Perhaps of most concern, our experience suggests that 6%-8% of customers receiving a text survey will permanently exclude themselves from future text surveys. So, if you are completing several cycles of SMS surveys, large proportions of the population will permanently opt out, impairing this methodology as an ongoing tool for monitoring service.

Where Text Surveys are a Good Fit
  • Where the service transaction itself takes very little time, completing a 20-30 second text survey is ideal. So, for example, text surveys seem well suited to monitoring large scale, 'small' events, such as the service of staff in contact centres.
  • Where only small amounts of information are needed, text surveys can be ideal.
  • However, for service events where the customer has been inconvenienced, or has invested significant time in resolving an issue, 'closure' could be needed, which may be better suited to a human approach involving personal interview by telephone.

Combining Text and Phone in mixed-mode surveys to achieve better outcomes
  • Our text survey tests suggest that SMS surveys alone are not an effective quality assurance tool.
  • However, mixed mode surveys combining text and phone techniques can overcome the weaknesses at a cost substantially below that of interviewing solely by phone.
  • The Kwest mixed-mode approach is to aim for around 50% of interviews by text and 50% by phone.
  • Our mixed-mode programmes may start on day 1 with a cycle of text interviews containing a maximum of 4 key questions. This initial cycle has the benefit of producing feedback quickly, with 90% of responses arriving within 24 hours.
  • Every time a customer registers low satisfaction, Kwest's systems generate an Instant Feedback email to nominated client staff, enabling the organisation to arrange remedial action.
  • On day 2, Kwest's telephone staff begin interviewing customers and once again, Instant Feedback emails are automatically generated whenever poor service is identified.

For more information about our mixed mode surveys, please call us on 0161 448 1388.
The whole reason for undertaking a survey is to find out what your customers think about your organisation and what they need and then to use your data to meet their expectations and requirements. From postal surveys to telephone, SMS and online surveys, valuable insight into your customer’s feelings and expectations can be gauged … if you ask the right questions.

So how can your organisation be sure that it is including the right questions and using the best way to contact customers? Beginning with the question words below is a good way to start.

Why? Who? How? What?
Why are you undertaking a survey?
Having a clear idea of why you are conducting research and what you want to find out is the key starting point. Try not to deviate from your aims and don’t be tempted to add in every question you can think of. Keep the survey focused, concise and relevant.

Who are your customers?
Questions regarding demographics can seem boring, but they are often essential for pinpointing the views and needs within your population, providing you with an understanding of what customers want from your service. Using criteria such as gender, age, area and ethnic group can help to make sure that your organisation has all the tools necessary to meet their needs and communicate with them in the right way. When we conduct your survey, we can work with you to access this data from other sources wherever possible and minimise the personal element of your questionnaires.

How are you going to contact customers?
How you decide to undertake the survey is determined by a number of factors, including the profile of your customers, how much information you want to collect, the geographical spread of customers and your budget. We offer a number of effective techniques to meet your needs, including the option of combining different approaches to target sub-groups within the population. Whatever your requirements, from SMS to online, telephone or postal techniques, we can advise and help your organisation.

What are the key issues for your customers?
Asking these questions points you in the right direction and can help to focus your resources in the most effective way. What is going to make the biggest difference to residents? What will most improve the service in their eyes? Gaining an understanding of these issues can help you come up with ways to approach them that will really work.

How do you compare…?
Placing results into context means that you have a real understanding of what the findings are actually telling you. Using available resources, such as comparative data or results from your previous research allows your organisation to understand how your services are changing and how you are performing compared to similar providers.

If you are thinking about a survey in 2017, why not give Kwest a call on 0161 448 1388?
Kwest would like to send you our very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to come. We hope you all enjoy the festive break!

Our offices are closed for the holiday period after 23 December and will reopen on 3 January 2017. We'll see you then!
Kwest is looking forward to attending the LARIA conference in Manchester this week, to discuss best practice and the latest thinking on key issues affecting the sector. We hope to see many of our clients there!