There are many places to look for signs that something in your company needs to be adjusted.
In this post, I’ll share 20 different places where your business can look to avoid a potential catastrophe. I also explain how to evaluate these sources for vulnerabilities, and which questions to ask.
You can read the differences between Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Method data review in previous articles:
- How to Understand the Quantitative and Qualitative Data in Your Business
- Interpreting the Quantitative Data (Numbers) in Your Business
- Interpreting the Qualitative Data (Experiences and Emotions) in Your Business
- Interpreting a Mixed Method Data Evaluation in Your Business
Quantitative Data: Show Me the Money
Let’s start by reviewing data that shows us the numbers.
Remember that scene from Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise’s character yells “Show me the Money!”?
Yeah. That’s what quantitative data is all about. We look at things that can be easily measured and counted. It allows us to look at precise numbers and measurements of quantity.
To get this kind of data, we can use tools such as:
- line graphs,
- pie graphs,
- scatter graphs,
- statistical models, and
Hard-and-fast numbers allow us to evaluate a situation with very little bias. We can look at a business problem and predict the ways to achieve a better outcome in the future.
Here are some places where you can find quantitative data in your company.
1. Number of leads, conversions, and repeat sales
- How often do you attract, win over, and keep buyers?
- What percentage of leads converts into sales?
- Which types of customers are repeat buyers?
2. Number of customers scheduled for service
- Who is scheduled to receive your services or products?
- What are the changes to your schedule every week or month?
3. Amount of sales generated in a month, week, day
- How much are you making in different time periods?
4. Amount of sales generated by customer type, service or product, and department
- What are additional ways to slice the data further (other than time)?
- Where is your highest net profit coming from?
- Which type of customer, specific services or products or combination purchase, buying circumstances, department or area of your company, sales rep?
5. Error rates
- How many mistakes, incorrect items, inaccurate data, misses, and near-misses are occurring in your business?
- When does this result in a replacement or refund?
- How often does it lead to customer dissatisfaction?
6. Advertising/marketing campaign
- When and where do you advertise?
- How effective are these campaigns in terms of leads, sales, and high-value customers?
7. E-mail bounce-back and open rates
- How effective is your e-mail list at reaching Ideal Customers?
- Which percentage of e-mails sent result in sales?
8. Regular mail returns and forwards
- Similar to e-mail, how effective are your mail campaigns?
- What percentage of conversions (interest and sales) are you getting from direct mail?
9. Returned products/services
- Which products or services are returned most frequently?
- Is there a time of the year, type of customer, or other factor that influences dissatisfaction?
10. Number of customer referrals
- How are you getting new customers?
- Which referral sources produce the most Ideal Customers?
11. Online ratings
- Where can customers review your company? (Indeed, Google, Glassdoor, Better Business Bureau, industry-specific ratings site)
- Which reviews are visible to the public, and which are only visible to you?
- Have you evaluated your company’s online ratings and comments?
- What was your response and followup?
- What are the most recent ratings, and how are they tied to buying experiences?
12. Customer surveys
Surveys can be structured (which can evaluate quantity, time, money, frequency, and intensity) and unstructured (which capture people’s stories, examples, observations, and descriptions).
- How do you conduct surveys to your customers?
- When are surveys provided? (prior to a sale, during the sale, immediately after, 6 months after)
- In which format are surveys provided? (paper, verbal, online form, in-email)
- Is there an incentive for a customer to complete the survey?
13. Employee surveys
Similar to the above:
- How do you conduct surveys to your staff?
- When are surveys provided? (prior to hiring, during onboarding, immediately after hire, 6 months later, annual survey)
- In which format are surveys provided? (paper, verbal, group setting, online form, in-email)
- Is there an incentive when an employee completes the survey? Is there a penalty if they don’t?
14. Customer attrition rates
- How often do customers leave?
- What is your weekly, monthly, and annual customer turnover?
- Do you have a net positive customer rate (adding more than are leaving) or a negative rate (not enough being added)?
15. Staff turnover rates
- What percentage of turnover is voluntary (employee-directed)?
- What percentage is involuntary (not the employee’s choice)?
16. Defective products/services
- How often are products or services delivered below standard? (see Tradeoff Triangle below)
- What services have the highest rate of defects?
- Where do the defects come from?
- Even if you haven’t seen defects or injuries, how often were there “close calls”?
- How are you measuring these near-miss events?
18. Risk assessments
- What is your process for evaluating risks?
- How often do you evaluate vulnerabilities in your company?
- How are risks measured?
- What do you do once risks are identified?
19. Internal audit results
- What kind of audits do you and your staff conduct?
- Where is the data collected from?
- How comprehensive is the audit? What does it cover?
- Who is conducting the audit? How often is it performed?
- Is there a standard that needs to be met or exceeded?
20. Industry regulation checks
- What are the expectations in your industry? (labor, quality, health, safety)
Regulatory bodies relating to healthcare in the In the United States include:
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) programs
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations
- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) which is responsible for health care quality and costs
- Joint Commission quality care
- National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) which oversees managed care plans.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for public health (monitors birth defects, disabilities, diseases and conditions, emergency preparedness and response, environmental health, genetics and genomics, health promotion, injury and violence, travelers’ health, vaccines and immunizations, and workplace safety & health).
- World Health Organization (WHO) which regulates the transmission of infectious diseases and public health.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responsible for controlling the safety and effectiveness of drug and nutritional supply to humans and animals, dietary supplements, biologics, national blood supply, medical devices, food additives, product recalls, and restaurant inspections.
- The United States Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) which monitors the effects of hazardous materials on public health and educates the public on HAZMAT risks.
Key Questions for Quantitative Data
The main things to ask when looking at quantitative information involve digging deeper into the meaning behind the numbers.
Here are some questions you could ask to gain a better understanding of your company’s quantity results.
- What happened?
- How did it happen?
- When is it happening?
- How often is it happening?
- How many times does it happen in a week or month?
- Who is it happening to?
- Where is it happening?
- What is the data telling us?
Find out more about this in How to Do a Year In Review
Evaluating the Results of Quantitative Data
Once you are familiar with the sources of measurable data in your company and how to collect this, the next step is to apply what you’ve found.
How can you apply measurable data to decision-making? Here are some ideas.
- Reach “X” leads by e-mail, social media, video, and/or direct mail
- Send marketing materials to “X” potential customers
- Follow up with “X” referrals
- Convert “X” customers to buy a service or product
- Schedule “X” new customer visits each week
- Complete “X” number of transactions
- Generate “$X” in sales
- Increase net profits by “X%”
- Reach an average hourly rate of “$X”
- Decrease outstanding A/R by “X%”
- Decrease the number of returns to “X” a month
- Receive customer feedback from “X%” of customers
- Increase customer satisfaction rating by “X%”
- Add “X” customer testimonials to marketing materials
- Create “X” new case studies for your website
- Reduce employee turnover by “X%” compared to last year
Notice that each of these is a metric — it shows movement, quality, or engagement.
In the next part of this series, I’ll explain where you can find Qualitative data — the experiences and emotions that occur in a business.
Interested in hearing how you can reverse staff turnover and increase your profit margins? Find out more here.
Grace LaConte is a business strategist, writer, and workplace equity advocate whose risk management graphics are used around the globe. She specializes in finding hidden threats and opportunities in organizations that employ working parents. Grace is the host of the What’s Wrong with Your Business? Podcast, which provides tools to adapt in a rapidly changing market.