Case Study: State Agency Fully Understands Stakeholders with The Decision Co. Research

“The Decision Co. empowered us to better understand the true feelings of our stakeholders, their motivations, and how best to engage them. With anonymous data collection, The Decision Co.’s analysis, and clear recommendations, we’re improving customer service, communicating with our clients clearly, and more effectively serving the State of Alabama.”
– Jim Purcell, Acting Secretary, Alabama Office of Information Technology

The Alabama Office of Information Technology (OIT) – a state agency charged with providing IT strategic planning, governance, and services to other state agencies – needed a fresh perspective on how to improve communications with their constituents, strengthen customer service, and execute their state mandate more effectively. Providing IT infrastructure, services, and policy to nearly every agency is a herculean task. While OIT took a significant leap forward under its new administration, they wanted additional unbiased insight with a clear way forward, as well as increased departmental synergy.

Anonymity Without Sacrificing Valuable Insight

As with any organization, feedback is a critical component of improving products and services; however, feedback is only as good as it is honest. Getting honest feedback was particularly important to OIT because its customers are IT professionals within other state agencies.

We took every precaution in this regard and generated a response rate nearly 30% higher than the industry average. We were able to ensure each respondent’s identity remained anonymous without sacrificing any beneficial demographic data that could provide further context for analysis.

We matched state employee data with each respondent, removed all personal identifying information, and delivered a report back to OIT, with respondents broken out by age, tenure, income, state agency, and job role. By fielding this survey with an outside research firm, OIT gained valuable insights and key recommendations, while providing its employees with peace of mind.

Detailed Analysis and Insights

OIT wasn’t just interested in knowing what its customers thought, they wanted to know why – the driving force behind respondents’ opinions. To that end, we included open-ended questions and conducted anonymous executive interviews.
Thorough sentiment analysis on open-ended responses paired with quantitative data, allowed our team to provide deeper insight into customers’ motivations and feelings.
The anonymous executive interviews we conducted gave unprecedented access into the minds of OIT’s clients. We collected a representative sample using customer data by conducting 20-minute interviews with OIT customers serving in different roles at various state agencies. These interviews were conducted at the end of survey fielding, which allowed our interviewers to gain further context around key pain points OIT customers were experiencing.
Incorporating anonymized demographic data let us dig even deeper. Suddenly results aren’t limited to state-wide brush strokes; instead, intricate pictures of consumer feelings across location, salary ranges, roles within the agency, tenure, age, and many other demographics began to appear. This detailed look allowed us to develop custom solutions for OIT to address communication and customer service issues with its wide-ranging customer base.

Expert Analysis and Recommendations

Analysis is both an art and a science. Making data-driven recommendations that can be easily understood and quickly applied is a craft mastered through experience. With many research firms (and software solutions) that measure satisfaction, once the survey is complete, that’s the end of the transaction. When the research phase of a Cygnal project is completed, that’s when our work really begins.
We believe research and analysis is only useful if you know how to use it. For OIT, we presented a comprehensive path forward, which included a project recap, situational analysis based on the findings, insights from executive interviews, primary challenges discovered during the project, stakeholder segmentation, and specific organizational, communication, and customer service recommendations. After OIT had time to review these documents, we followed up with several meetings on how to implement and measure the effectiveness of these suggested changes.

The Solution Is More Cost-Effective Than You Think

With a Decision Co customer satisfaction research, project, we saved OIT months of work and gave them more honest, useable results. OIT now has a better path forward to care for and improve satisfaction with its most important audience – their customers.
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