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Here are some of the questions we get asked a lot. If you have any others, do feel free to contact us. We'll be happy to help.

Read our FAQs below and contact us if you want any more help or information about any market research process or practice.

  • What is factor analysis?

    Understanding factor analysis

    We provide confidence that results from our customer surveys are as accurate as possible, through applying approached such as factor analysis.

    Factor analysis is the basic principle of expressing more than two questions or variables by a single factor.

    For example, let's say you wanted to measure customer satisfaction with communication.

    We'll design a questionnaire that asks several probing questions to determine how satisfied they are with communication. We can ask them questions about methods of communication and frequency of communication.

    Most likely, the responses to these questions would correlate quite highly. We'd therefore be able to conclude that some of the questions will be redundant, we can therefore sit those together in a factor group. This enables output to be owned by process or function leads, who will take responsibility with their team for action planning and improvement of poor performing questions.

    We'd then be able to use the new factor in future analysis and calculate factor total scores. This approach provides better research and better actionable intelligence than other approaches.

  • What are some of the most common problems with poorly designed questionnaires?

    Below are some of the issues poor questionnaire design can create:

    • Questions that don't mean what you thought they meant
    • Questions that don't probe to understand what the respondent meant
    • Lengthy and complex questions
    • Repeated questions
    • Questions that don't allow the respondent to answer appropriately
    • Questions that don’t work with the data collection method
    • Poor quality routing causing the wrong questions to be asked if the wrong routing is applied
    • Too many questions
    • Poor questionnaire structure

    Take a look at our article on designed best practice research surveys.

  • What is the RATER model of measuring customer expectations?

    Q. What is the RATER model of measuring customer expectations?

    RATER is a condensed series of factors from the original SERVQUAL model of measuring the quality of service provision or perception of management in organisations.

    These five elements are:

    1. Reliability. The ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately
    2. Assurance. The knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence
    3. Tangibles. The appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials
    4. Empathy. The provision of caring, individualized attention to customers
    5. Responsiveness. The willingness to help customers and to provide prompt service

    When customers’ expectations of the service they will be provided are greater than their perception of the service they actually received, the quality of service is deemed low.

    Customer Experience Quality Analysis from TTi Global Research

    At TTi Global Research, we've developed our own customer experience research framework, based on over 25 years of analysing how companies measure customer experiences. Our CEQA framework looks at customer expectations of the service they will receive at all touchpoints, focusing on three key areas:

    • Identifying the moments of truth customers go through when aligning their values with yours
    • The quality criteria they use to judge each experience
    • The outputs that reflect how well your organisation delivered against each attribute.

    Find out more about CEQA

  • What is the SERVQUAL model of measuring service quality and expectation?

    The SERVQUAL model of measuring the scale of quality in service provision was developed by Valerie Zeithaml, ‘Parsu’ Parasuraman and Len Berry in 1985.

    The authors identified the 10 main components of high quality service:

    1. reliability
    2. responsiveness
    3. competence
    4. access
    5. courtesy
    6. communication
    7. credibility
    8. security
    9. understanding/knowing the customer
    10. tangibles.

    These were later condensed into 5 components (RATER):

    1. Reliability. The ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately
    2. Assurance. The knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence
    3. Tangibles. The appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials
    4. Empathy. The provision of caring, individualized attention to customers
    5. Responsiveness. The willingness to help customers and to provide prompt service

    Businesses can quantitatively measure and manage quality of their service by surveying customers in terms of these elements. When the customer’s expectations are greater than their perception of received delivery, the business’s service quality is deemed low.

    TTi Global frequently uses the SERVQUAL and RATER models in gap analyses for service providers and management assessments.

    TTi Global Research’s CEQA framework allows complete validation and tracking of your customers’ experience, taking into account the variety and volume of different customer types, their individual needs, values and decision-making criteria. 

    The framework combines the principles of the renowned PZB Service Quality Gap Model with powerful gap analysis strategies we’ve developed over 25 years of delivering end-to-end customer research for blue chip organisations.

    Find out more about CEQA

  • How often should we conduct customer surveys?

    Customer research is a process of gathering information about your services, relationships, products and how satisfied customers are with these areas. There is often an element measuring competitor services and gathering accurate and direct service benchmarks.

    Conducting the process is not a time sensitive activity; it is an important feed of information to the business. The frequency in which it is conducted varies according to the ability of the organisation to implement improvement actions and change. Other factors determining frequency are the number of customers and type of sale, for example if transactional or consultative.

    So an organisation that consultatively sells to a few large customers might conduct their research annually. An organisation that sells in a transactional environment and has lots of customers might conduct research monthly or quarterly.

  • How often should we conduct employee surveys?

    Employee research is a process of gathering your employees' perception about their working environment, the support and training provided to them and how well equipped they are to deliver the organisation's vision and objectives.

    Conducting the process is not a time sensitive activity; although an annual or 18 month survey is most often applied. It is an important feed of information to the business. Factors determining frequency are the ability of the organisation to implement improvement actions and change. Most measures develop a trend and if change cannot be recognised the impact is unlikely to be recognised.

  • How should we collect data for customer surveys?

    Q. What approach to collecting data should we use when conducting customer surveys?

    There are a number of considerations when deciding which data collection method to use. These include, if the approach is business to business (B2B) or business to customer (B2C).

    If B2C, consider:

    • The number of customers to be surveyed
    • The length of interview
    • How accessible customers are
    • Their willingness to participate in research
    • The frequency at which research will be conducted
    • Are there any hard to reach groups
    • Age group of respondents
    • Budget available
    • Do any disabilities need to be considered

    If B2B, consider:

    • The time respondents will have available to participate
    • The number of customers to be surveyed
    • The length of interview
    • How accessible respondents / customers are
    • Their willingness to participate in research
    • The frequency at which research will be conducted
    • Budget available

    Often combinations of data collection methods are desirable for researching either groups of customers to ensure robust samples and mix of appropriate respondents.

  • How do I design a questionnaire?

    Have a very clear understanding of what the research needs to achieve. Ensure the questionnaire will support your research goals.

    Whatever survey type is being considered, ensuring questions are unambiguous, simple and reflect the service process being researched are core themes that should run through the questionnaire.

    Questions should be phrased to match the method of response, for example appropriate to rating or agreement scales used.

    A comments question should also be included thus enabling respondents to feed back any concerns in a structured fashion.

    The most effective questionnaires are designed with respondent e.g. employee/customer input, often requiring an initial stage of research to gain their expectations and views on success factors.

  • How long should an interview take?

    Interview length will vary significantly depending on subject matter. The method of data collection will also drive how long an interview can be. For example an interview being conducted over the phone which is appointed and professionally facilitated could be designed to cover a significant number of questions. The interviewer will be able to hold respondent attention.

    An online or paper based interview without facilitation should be concise and attention grabbing, ensuring effective participation and completion levels.

  • Qualitative and quantitative research differences

    Qualitative research

    Qualitative research aims to gather an in-depth understanding of expectations, perceptions, relationship, behaviour and the reasons that affect and govern such behaviour, thus applying broad open questioning techniques.

    A qualitative approach to research investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, when. Smaller, focused samples are more often researched.

    This approach is often used to gain input for questionnaire design or investigate further into quantitative research results. Qualitative research often takes the form of in-depth interviewing or focus groups.

    Quantitative research

    Quantitative research is conducted using telephone, online, hard copy questionnaires or face-to-face interviewing. Quantitative data is any data that is in numerical form. Usually this means that a quantitative researcher asks a specific, narrow question and collects numerical data from participants to answer the question.

    Output from quantitative research enables researchers to look for themes and describes the information in themes and patterns exclusive to that set of respondents.



  • Should you use qualitative or quantitative research methods?

    Q. How do we decide whether to use qualitative or quantitative research?

    Qualitative and quantitative methods are different types of research, the following points should be considered when deciding which approach to use.

    Quantitative Research

    • Emphasises numbers
    • Measures and tests different subjects
    • Traditional in approach
    • Establishes facts through quantification
    • Demonstrates strength of feeling or relationship
    • Provides statistical data
    • Structured questionnaires
    • Specific points and areas are measured
    • Large samples are researched often representative of sample groups
    • Outputs are numbers
    • Trends can be easily evolved

    Qualitative Research

    • Emphasises observation
    • Gathers expectation and interpretive data
    • Supports building of theory
    • Supports development of in-depth understanding
    • Captures material behaviours
    • The approach is flexible and open
    • Informal questions
    • Design can be generalised
    • Samples are smaller
    • Samples are non representative
    • Outputs are observational
    • Outputs are verbatim observations


  • Which rating scale should we use?

    Rating scales achieve different types of data output, consideration should be given to how data will be used following the research, when selecting scales.

    Appropriate scale length depends on the extent respondents can differentiate different attribute levels in the questions they are rating. I.e. for concept tests in which respondents are being exposed to something new, a 5 or 7-point scale could be best.

    For a customer satisfaction study, where respondents are rating services with which they are familiar, then a 10-point scale (1 to 10) works well and provides granularity in data for action planning.

    In all cases, use a balanced scale.

  • How should we report the research?

    Research reports should be clear, concise, insightful and enable actions to be easily drawn from the output.

    Formats can vary significantly, our approach is to create designs and agree them with clients before they go into production. Research users should also be involved in the report development stage, ensuring all their requirements are captured and support effective deployment of research results.

    This process enables clients to provide feedback and make changes to formats as required.

    Our process also enables clients to extract information from reports and use it for onward communication or presentation.

  • How many employees should we interview?

    We recommend all employees are invited to participate in employee research, ensuring they do not feel excluded and all have equal opportunity of participation.

    This approach also ensures staff do not feel their results are potentially being singled out and therefore personally identified.

  • How many customers or respondents should we interview?

    There are two essential considerations in determining who you will interview in your survey. The first is deciding the kinds of people to interview. This group is known as the target population.

    If the research is designed to test the likely success of a product, the target population may be less obvious. Correctly determining the target population is crucial to survey success. If you do not interview the right kinds of people, the sample may be skewed and the research objectives will not successfully be met.

    The next thing to decide is how many people you need to interview. Statistics experts say that a small, representative sample will reflect the group from which it is drawn. The larger the sample, the more precisely it reflects the target group. However, the rate of improvement in the precision decreases as your sample size increases. For example, to increase a sample from 250 to 1,000 only doubles the precision. You must make a decision about your sample size based on factors such as: time available, budget and necessary degree of precision.

    If accurate samples are required, a sample size calculator should be used to calculate the sample applying the different criteria required.

  • What is Gap Analysis?

    Gap analysis is a research framework; it enables a combination of research approaches to be employed supporting understanding of respondent expectations and perceptions of service delivery.

    The process can be used to understand different relationships and environments. For example in the customer/supplier environment, customer expectations can be understood and quantitatively measured to understand the strength of expectation. The perception of delivery is also measured to understand the extent of Gap between customer expectations and perceptions.

    This is an effective approach to understanding core question content and structure of tracking or periodic CSI measures?

  • How do we manage bias in respondent interviews?

    Removing all bias from sample is almost impossible. However you can take steps to avoid sample bias and validate respondents through asking screening questions before interviewing commences.


    Probable Bias




    A random sample should be invited to participate in customer research.

    Lapsed Customers


    Important to understand why they are lapsed customers



    Important to understand what their requirements are to win them as customers

    The consequences of bias depend on the nature of the survey. For example, a survey for a product aimed at a retired respondent group will not be as biased by daytime interviews as will a public opinion survey. A survey about Internet products can safely ignore people who do not use the Internet.

  • How many customer records will we need for a customer survey?

    This will be dependent on considerations such as the type of data collection method employed. For example, if there is personal engagement with an interviewer who can encourage participation and demonstrate the benefit of participation, less database may be required to engage customers.

    Pre-survey communication and strength of relationship with customers are further supporting factors. Other dependencies include the length of time between customer interaction and survey and if a survey is conducted annually or more frequently.

  • What sort of research is best for me: qualitative or quantitative?

    Q. Should a combination of qualitative research, quantitative research or data mining, such as social media research be applied?

    Each has its own merit and will provide different results; for example qualitative research will inform the “how and why”. For example, how customers expect an organisation to deliver its services and why a mainstream competitor is better.

    Quantitative research is conducted applying whichever data collection process is most appropriate to quantify respondent views or rated perceptions, often drawn from the initial qualitative research.

    Social media research provides the opportunity to gain insight across a host of social media and internet platforms, capturing unstructured data and insight from customers, stakeholders, employees and potentially linked influencer groups. This approach adds cost effective insightful context to other forms research output, for example survey results or qualitative interviews.

  • How much does a survey cost?

    Key dependencies of survey cost are:

    • Questionnaire length
    • Complexity of questionnaire, for example if it contains multiple routing
    • Ease of obtaining interviews with the respondent base
    • Method of data collection employed
    • Number of interviews to be completed
    • The extent of analysis and reporting following survey completion

    Survey cost is provided once this information is understood. We provide advice and guidance in this area and build proposals around individual customer requirements

  • What are the differences between employee satisfaction surveys and engagement surveys?

    Employee engagement is not a science, but the development of survey tools and questionnaires enabling levels of 'engagement' within an organisation to be measured. Exactly what aspect of engagement these questionnaires analyse varies as no organisation is the same. Some describe the level of engagement within the organisation on a scale, or as a percentage.

    This enables comparison between different parts of the same organisation - engagement levels between different functions or sites. The nature of the engagement - with the job, team, and organisation - can also be identified.

    Employee satisfaction survey is the terminology used to describe the measure of whether employees are happy and contented and fulfilling their desires and needs at work.

    Many measures purport that employee satisfaction is a factor in employee motivation, employee goal achievement and positive employee morale in the workplace. Satisfaction is also linked to loyalty and the extent to which employees remain loyal to an organisation or will recommend an organisation as a good place to work.