If you’ve checked your inbox lately, you likely have a request or two to respond to a survey from vendors you use, asking you for insights into how you view their product, whether you would be willing to continue using it, or even why others may not be willing. Spending ten minutes to provide an opinion about a product is market research. Companies use the results to determine whether consumers are satisfied, products are in demand, or what areas of a business need to be improved.
The direct benefit of market research is to help organizations identify issues or opportunities and determine the effectiveness of current programs. Organizations that know how to apply what the market research is telling them are also able to focus on the consumers, reduce risk, make a case for funding, and innovate.
In certification, the consumers are candidates, their colleagues and supervisors, and the general public. Organizations need to know whether their consumers are happy, how earning the credential has impacted them, the reason behind earning the credential in the first place, and the overall value of the credential. Often certification bodies collect information at the end of a computer-based test about a candidate’s experience in the testing center. These post-exam surveys are also becoming popular with remotely proctored exams. But is asking candidates about their testing experience enough?
PSI works with a number of clients who feel like it is not enough. PSI develops targeted market research approaches based on the strategic goals of these clients. For example, PSI work closely with a client that uses both post-exam questions at the test center and a separate marketing survey sent to all registered candidates a few weeks after the testing window closes. Specifically, the survey research is designed to provide insight into the importance and satisfaction levels of various program elements. This way, the organization can target the elements that are most important to their consumers and work to increase satisfaction levels in those areas. PSI makes recommendations to the organization on how to make meaningful changes to their program based on the results. The survey results are compared over time to determine whether efforts are successful.
Other PSI market research projects have included post-conference satisfaction surveys, training needs analysis, new credential feasibility studies including interviews and focus groups, and complete program audits leading to strategic portfolio redesign. PSI has the social science and survey research expertise to provide targeted market research to help organizations ask the right questions and turn their results into action.
Beth Kalinowski, MBA, is Director of Account Management, Certification at PSI. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 818.847.6180.
Siddiq Kassam is Associate Psychometrician at PSI. Contact him at email@example.com, or by phone at 818.847.6180.
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