Coding of open-ended questions in surveys began in earnest after World War II, as the research industry blossomed along with the boom in consumer goods industries after the war.

The inclusion of a few good, open-ended questions in surveys meant that questionnaires could be more concise. Very often a well-crafted, open-ended question could take the place of 10 to 20 closed-end questions. The open-ended question could reveal what we (the survey creators) did not know. The rise of open-ended questions injected a qualitative element into quantitative surveys and made surveys more effective in revealing the truth.

Over the past decade, however, the rise of do-it-yourself (DIY) survey software, the decline of corporate research budgets, and the growth of data science and quantitative analysis have led to reduced usage of open-ended questions in surveys and to reduced analysis of other open-ended feedback from consumers and customers.

The Human Touch

If only closed-end questions are asked in a survey, are we really listening to our consumers and customers? Are we really allowing their voices to be heard? Are we hearing what they want to say? Are we feeling what they are feeling? Do we understand? Your customers and prospects want their voices to be heard. Open-ended questions allow them to express their ideas and their emotions. The only way to capture the full meaning of these open-ended responses is through coding conducted by humans. An intelligent human being must read, interpret, and code the answers in order to extract the full meaning from the text. Nuance is passionate about listening to consumers’ voices, and allowing consumers to tell their stories in their own words.

Text Analytics

With the advent of text analtics software, is there any longer a need for human coding? Text analysis software is much better now than in the past, but it will be many years before any computer can code human responses as accurately as a human can. However, if you have a million customer comments to code, you probably ought to look at text analytics software and machine learning as possible solutions. Even then, however, you will need human coders to ‘train’ the text analytic software, and the human coders will have to periodically review the responses coming in to update the text mining software. Nuance offers text analytics and the human coding to refine and improve the software over time.

Let Us Help

Nuance specializes in active listening—listening to human voices and human emotions. Nuance interprets those voices and emotions, as well as coding and organizing the responses into an intelligible structure. Ultimately, it’s the human touch that leads to improved understanding and better marketing strategies.