In a survey research project designed to understand client reactions, we examined behaviors, satisfaction, and preferences among clients of a growing firm in the Southeast. Clients were overwhelmingly satisfied with the firm’s service and advice, and the majority (92%) would recommend the firm to others. In addition to the survey (Likert) statements and other quantitative-type survey questions, we also asked clients a few open-ended questions.
Combining qualitative and quantitative data provides a richness that cannot be seen when examining the data separately. This combination allows the “numbers” results to drive distinctions between client types. It then utilizes the qualitative data to uncover areas for improvement or to help explain the results of the quantitative results. This combination provided the powerful backdrop to The Millionaire Next Door, The Next Millionaire Next Door, and other research projects and publications that provided group-level data and insights.
Back to our firm example: while most (e.g., 90% or so) of clients reported being satisfied, just a handful of detractors reported being unsatisfied or neutral with the service or advice from the firm. By dividing the client sample into two (supporters and detractors), we analyzed the comments (content analysis) to uncover how these clients could move to the “supporter” side. Some of the ideas gleaned from the qualitative data related to communication of the firm’s value in unique ways (e.g., illustrations versus verbally communicating value), providing more frequent updates on performance, and sharing more about their processes.
We recommend this same quantitative-qualitative combination when thinking about how to utilize and get the most out of assessment results with your clients. For example, if a client scores at the 45th percentile on Budgeting Attitudes (the quantitative side of the results), how can you provide a unique experience for this client based on that score? Use the open-ended questions to understand further why and how those attitudes might affect the guidance you give the client and her chances of reaching her financial goal. This “softer” but powerful data helps you provide your client with the best experience possible.