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A symbiotic partnership

At Crowdtech we love nothing more than to develop a long-term working relationship with our clients, and to witness their panel journey develop over time. RCI Financial Services  is a client with whom we have built an ongoing engagement of which we are proud. Providing specialist financial services for Renault, Nissan, Dacia and Alpine, RCI Financial Services facilitates for individuals or businesses to buy, hire or lease new and used vehicles. So where does their relationship with Crowdtech fit in? An exploration of customer satisfaction For the past two years, RCI Financial Services has partnered with Crowdtech to run an ongoing set of customer satisfaction surveys. Harnessing their extensive database of over 4,000 users, RCI Financial Services runs a new survey approximately once a month, each time exploring a different element of what makes their customers happy, and how they can continue to improve their service to them. Clearly they’re on the right track when it comes to keeping customers happy: Using only a prize draw, the panels achieve approximately a 25% engagement response – a very high rate for an ongoing panel. This speaks to the fact that customers feel a sense of resonance with the brand and choose to share their opinions about the business, without needing great incentivization to do so. Symbiotic growth for both parties The development of Crowdtech’s working relationship with RCI Financial Services has been the picture of a symbiotic engagement. Initially Crowdtech managed the entire panel process, from questionnaire design to technical panel operations to analysis and output. As the two companies have worked hand-in-hand, RCI Financial Services has taken on more of the project design work, utilising Crowdtech’s operational expertise to maintain smooth panel management. This embodies what we term our Hybrid SaaS model, a model which successfully straddles the provision of a technical platform with human guidance and interaction where required. At Crowdtech, our human resource comes in the form of project managers, technical support and for a full suite of market research capabilities, we also harness the input of our sister company MWM2. Crowdtech’s training upskills staff An important element of what Crowdtech offers our clients is ongoing training and upskilling on our platforms. RCI Financial Services is a client that has made the most of this opportunity. Accessing all the ready training and help that has been available to them, RCI Financial Services has successfully upskilled its customer satisfaction team on how to get the best value out of the Crowdtech platform. Being involved in project design - all the way from questionnaire stage to output analysis - significantly improves the outcome of the survey for clients. Having input at all stages of the project means that the results are well aligned with the initial question or hypothesis that they are wishing to explore. Leaning on Crowdtech to effectively manage the panel or community process is the ideal way for both parties to achieve a mutually optimum result. A relationship that continues to flourish From surveys about their new website, to exploring perceptions of electronic vehicles, to understanding how Covid-19 has impacted on people’s finances, RCI Financial Services has conducted a vast array of research via Crowtech’s panel services over the past two years. We at Crowdtech look forward to growing this relationship with RCI Financial Services, as they continue to find ways of keeping their customers engaged and happy.

Survey Tool - Superior, more functional and more beautiful

"Survey 2.0", is our name for the next phase development of our survey software and will send even better-looking questionnaires to respondents. Visually attractive questions are a key component of gaining higher response rates. In addition, it is important that, for example, complex surveys that traditionally work better on pc’s and tablets function seamlessly on mobile phones. Survey 2.0 allows you to create one questionnaire layout that reads perfectly on all device types and browsers, meaning you can send out a survey without the extra step of testing across differing devices. We will have our new version Survey 2.0 live in the summer" Better integration with other data sources "With Crowdtech we offer an integrated platform for all forms of research, but it is also important to be able to link our platform to other systems. After all, modern day market research consists of many sources, so it is important to bring this together in a smart way. We are doing this with the development of a Rest API laying the foundation for customers to fully integrate questionnaire data from Crowdtech into CRM systems or other databases. For example, two way integration into Salesforce or Zapier is fully automated in an efficient and easy to implement manner." Real-time data loading into surveys "For an integrated platform, we also require tools that fit together perfectly. This is why we are launching an even smother collaboration between our panel management system and our Survey tool and this will be available in the coming quarter. This will allow you to load real-time data from the Research panel into Survey, enabling flexible and efficient use of this data in questionnaires, communication (e-mails) and data analysis". Quicker "To keep innovating, the platform needs natural maintenance. We rolled out an upgrade earlier this year to make test automation easier. This is an important step towards building more functionality in the future. With more automated tests, this is a faster and less error-prone process. Additionally, we continuously implement non-functional upgrades in the software ensuring the platform complies with the most recent security standards".

Create Your Own Style

With our upgraded Survey technology, you can adjust the layout of your survey. Previously one of our support team had to create new layouts where now you can do this with just a few clicks. Add a company logo Customise the background color with RGB colour codes Choose many different fonts Add a favicon Upload and edit background images Customize button colors and progress bars Add text to encourage respondents ‘e.g. only two more questions to go’ From this flexibility you can adapt your questionnaire to your look and feel giving your survey a fresher more recognizable look. Greater flexibility allows user to bring in new styles and approaches meaning that multi and repeat surveys can have a different look making engagement easier. We have also added in ‘encouragement’ so a ‘You’re almost there’ comment helps deliver a higher completion rate.

New Responsive Survey

How do we ensure higher responses and better data quality for our clients? This was the challenge when we started the redesign of the Crowdtech Survey over six months ago. Our team of programmers, researchers, account managers and UX designers picked apart each element of the Survey platform. The result is a whole new and more attractive environment making it easier for respondents to complete your survey. In today’s world the majority of respondents complete surveys on a mobile device, and this is especially true for a younger audience. Our mantra become ‘mobile first’. The designs, thinking and approach focused on making it work on mobile first. A larger font, larger buttons and all the standalone responsive elements ensure a seamless experience on mobile. Importantly, the mobile Survey matches the look and feel as the desktop view. We have always prided ourselves on making surveys captivating and simple to complete and we have built upon our gamification principles to incorporate more layouts, colours, and flexibility to really guide respondents through the questionnaire. For example, the matrix question has been shaped differently. The problem with the Matrix question is that a respondent often sees a long list of questions causing high dropouts and encouraging straight lining. In the new Survey solution respondents see one statement at a time and only upon completion does the next grid appear. Beta tests showed respondents are more motivated and conscientious delivering greater reliability.

Survey tool for the visually impaired

There were an estimated 253 million people with visual impairment worldwide. This number is much higher if you include elderly people and those suffering from poor vision. To engage this audience our new Survey is designed so this group can easily participate. In developing our upgraded Survey tool, we included these key ingredients: Observability: We have ensured a minimal text size and used contrasting colors Controllability: The user interface is also easy for the visually impaired to control. We have added a lot of visual cues, so it's clear which answer the respondent has chosen Intelligibility: our new Survey is programmed so that the questions can also be read out by reading programs Robust: Respondents can access the survey on different browsers Finally, our Surveys can also be operated by a keyboard Importantly this new feature adheres to the EU ‘WCAG’ (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) guidelines helping our Client compliance to these standards. WCAG is designed to better reach a wider audience with this greater accessibility so samples can be richer and a more roust and representative sample is achievable.

Do You Use US Cloud Services?

Without being aware of it, many companies have been violating European privacy rules since this summer. Working with US cloud service providers is no longer covered by the GDPR rules. This is because the European Court of Justice has declared the Privacy Shield agreement invalid. The agreement regulates how the US handles processing of user data covering European citizens and was created to ensure you could continue to use cloud services provided by US companies. However, it now turns out the Privacy Shield is not sufficient after all.  The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) states that personal data may not be simply transferred to individuals or organisations based in countries outside the European Economic Area (third countries), such as the US. This is only allowed if the level of personal data security guaranteed by the GDPR is not undermined in those third countries. The Court of Justice holds that the Privacy Shield cannot guarantee an adequate level of protection. This is because, under US law, the intelligence and security services there have the right to access and use EU citizens' data.   Therefore, if you want to comply with the GDPR rules (and of course you must), it is no longer possible to store customer data with, or work with US cloud services. In short: If you work with research tools from the US, you are not working according to the GDPR rules. You may also be working with American parties without realising it. For example, if your suppliers process the data via American cloud services you are not working to the GDPR guidelines. To ensure you are doing the right thing, we recommend verifying all your suppliers to remain compliant.  Do you use Crowdtech technology? Then you’re covered. Our platform complies with the GDPR rules. We do not outsource our hosting to third parties. Our hardware is located in our data centre in Amsterdam and our technology is developed and maintained by ourselves. So, your data always stays within the EU and you comply with the GDPR rules. 

We speak your language

There is a Czech proverb that says, ‘Learn a new language, gain a new soul’. At Crowdtech we wholeheartedly embrace the many diverse languages represented on our globe, and hence recognize the need to conduct research in respondents’ home tongues. We understand that engaging in one’s preferred language makes respondents feel more comfortable and better valued, which in turn results in deeper research and richer insights. To this end, we have developed our new multi-language feature, which dramatically changes the translation phase of the research process, for clients and respondents alike. Predominantly used for research surveys across multiple languages, the feature is also applicable to other arenas including external samples, client databases, website links and of course, panels and communities. Enhanced experiences for respondentsOne of our primary focuses at Crowdtech is to ensure that we deliver an optimum experience to each of our respondents. Calvin Olland explains, ‘We understand the value in keeping our respondents happy, so that they stay engaged in our panels and communities. They are literally the backbone of our system… without respondents, we would have no research.” The new multi-language feature enables respondents to choose their language before starting the survey – thereby playing an important role in making them feel valued and recognised.  Increased efficiencies for clientsTypically, clients wishing to conduct multi-lingual research had to upload translated questionnaires in each required language – with every translated version having to be coded separately. Once the research had been conducted, the output then needed to be merged into a single language, prior to analysis. Our new offering changes this process in a number of ways. By leveraging our advanced technology, our multi-language feature enables various tasks to be carried out much more easily than before: Clients can upload a multi-lingual questionnaire in just one language, relying on our intuitive technology to upload and code the translated versions automatically Once the survey translations have been uploaded, clients can easily toggle between languages to check scripts as required The output in all its different languages will be collated together, enabling the research to be delivered back to clients in a single language, ready for analysis  Naturally all of these elements massively reduce time wastage for clients, making the research translation process smoother, more efficient and more cost-effective. These elements can literally be done at the click of a button, making them very user-friendly. If however, there are any queries over their implementation, our support team is always available to help, at every stage of the research process. Applicable to both multi-country and single-country surveysAs globalisation increases, the ability for research surveys to operate across countries becomes increasingly important. Crowdtech’s advanced technology places us in a strong position to conduct multi-country research – and including a variety of languages is one way of enhancing this offering. Multi-country research is not however the only format that requires this capability… countries with more than one commonly-spoken language will benefit just as much from this feature. Such a feature is perfectly suited to the likes of Switzerland or Belgium, as well other countries globally, where respondents hail from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Constant innovation is the name of the gameOur project managers and technical team deem panel management a high priority. They are constantly innovating to find ways of keeping our surveys fresh, dynamic and easy-to-use. And what better way of making the experience easier, than to allow respondents to engage in their preferred languages? “We’re very excited about this new addition to our stable,” says Olland. “Our teams are always on the look-out for how we can add to our bouquet of features and enhance the user experience. Offering a multi-language solution is one way of doing this. What’s amazing about this tool is its simplicity and efficiency – we’re looking forward to rolling it out to more clients.”

Helping you with WCAG compliance

It is indisputable that digitization is becoming prevalent in every industry and transforming every business function. Already a global trend pre-Covid-19, the digitization of the world as we know it has sky-rocketed due to the effects of the pandemic and its lockdown. Crowdtech has been at the forefront of research technology since its inception. And whenever new developments take place in the digital world, we pride ourselves on embracing them in an agile manner. What are the WCAG? The WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) were first published in 2008, but recently gained traction as the digital global revolution took hold. They are a set of documents which explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. A global set of guidelines, their purpose is to standardise web content and ensure that it is accessible to as many individuals, organisations and governments as possible. To date, different countries have adopted and enforced the guidelines to different degrees. In many areas across the EU, it is legislated that government websites conform to these guidelines, with many other countries adopting a similar approach. How do they make the web more accessible? The guidelines seek to mitigate any elements of a website that might be difficult for users with disabilities. Spanning disabilities including sight, hearing, physical and cognitive impairments, the guidelines address a multitude of items. Examples include making sure that text is big enough for those who are hard of sight, or that all functionality is available by keyboard for those who cannot use a mouse. How does this relate to Crowdtech? Crowdtech’s technology is used to deeper human understanding through a tool kit of research techniques. Naturally, this is an area that holds huge potential for inclusivity of people with disabilities, as the WCAG guidelines have brought to the fore. Crowdtech has worked hard to develop survey tools that ensure that digital surveys are WCAG compliant. With additional programming and also additional human resource to check the output, we can safely say that our surveys hold up to the most stringent WCAG checks. Catering for a range of disabilities In addition to examples such as provision of larger text and keyboard navigation, our platform contains features that ensure all images have text descriptions, that any colours used are easily distinguishable, and that images are bold and clear. In terms of hard of hearing respondents, the researcher designing the survey can make sure that every video used has subtitles and there are no sound clips without descriptions. Addressing cognitive disabilities, the platform can ensure each screen is shown for sufficient time to allow respondents to read everything within the survey text. It is important to ensure that questions are clear and easily understandable and that there is no ambiguity in them. Additional checks are carried out Simply adhering to the guidelines by means of programming is important, but this on its own is not enough. At Crowdtech our business policy is to go the extra mile when it comes to client support. In our efforts to ensure full WCAG compliance for our clients, we also offer a thorough additional check on surveys once they have been programmed by our WCAG consultants. One of the considerations of the team will be the idiosyncrasies of the language that is used. For example, phrases such as ‘as you will see in this image’ may be considered exclusive or even offensive to the hard of sight. Instructions such as ‘navigate to the answer button’ may be difficult for someone with a physical disability. Having combed through lots of surveys with a watchful eye, the more it becomes clear how commonly used phrases and words in everyday language can exclude those with certain impairments. It is this additional checking phase that we feel sets our WCAG offering apart from others. A more inclusive digital future As more and more countries roll out enforcement of these guidelines, companies and other institutions will start to adopt them as common practice. The effects of this are already becoming evident: Naturally, this opens up digital surveys to a notable subset of the population, in some countries as much as 18%. But more than this, it fosters a culture of inclusion, and encourages individuals and companies to embrace differences. Such ways of thinking are vitally important to progressing diversity for all consumer segmentations.