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  • Cost-effective insights from free text responses using human-machine interaction

    Free text responses are not only a current and sought-after means of conducting survey research, they are also a current instrument of many touchpoints in the company (hotline, evaluations, general feedback, CRM data, etc.). Such open responses provide important insights for directing relevant KPIs, as comments, opinions, experiences, etc. are given in the respondents’ own words. However, traditional approaches to the analysis of such text fragments are very expensive and time-consuming, and straight machine algorithm-assisted tools often do not supply the quality of results required.

    The LINK Institut therefore uses a mix of both approaches for the processing of text data: modern algorithms and efficient processes, together with professional multilingual human coding. This is based on more than 30 years of manual experience with code frames combined with artificial intelligence for machine learning. This new form of interaction between human and machine provides a cost-effective option for processing large amounts of text into the desired codes: the human trains the machine, and the machine finalises the work. You can decide for yourself what the proportion of human coding in the process should be. Once the machine is trained, the algorithm is in place and newly arrived free text responses can be automatically coded time and again.

    The right feedback at the right time in the right place

    Another advantage of this form of text coding is that the code lists can be adapted individually to the organisational structure of a company.
    For example, the codes can be set up according to department, organisational unit, specialist office or topic. Our project managers have more than 30 years of experience in creating meaningful, individual code lists. The development of the code list is always carried out in close cooperation with the customer, so that they receive their insights for any level required.

    Cost-effective identification of your success drivers

    Are you tracking your NPS and do not actually know what the driving factors for the NPS represent? The LINK Institut also helps here with interactive human-machine coding.
    With an additional open question on why this score has been given for the NPS, the content can now be analysed cost-effectively via human-machine interaction. We also enable you to work out a driver analysis automatically, to gather, analyse and track individual success drivers.

    Thomas Bauer
    Head Data & Analytics
    +41 41 367 72 64

    Laura Colledani
    Head of Project Management West & Consumer Goods/Retail
    +41 41 367 72 25

  • Interview with Stefan Reiser

    Stefan, you have been the head of market research at LINK since the beginning of this year. How have you found your first 100 days?
    A great deal has happened in those 100 days. There are a number of exciting topics that we are pushing forward in parallel in market research, for instance, the development of new tools such as the predictive promoter score and enterprise feedback management solutions. And of course, there is the diversity of cooperation in a highly competent team in which I feel very much at home.
    Is there anything else you especially like?
    What strikes me in particular with LINK is that a great deal of attention is paid to quality at all phases and steps of a project. Also, that you can rely on an unusually good infrastructure, whether this is the online panel, the CATI laboratories, the qualitative research or the face-to-face field, which also works very successfully with difficult, sensitive target groups. Quality also very much characterises the day to day work of all employees. Ultimately, this is in keeping with the brand essence of our agency too.

    What challenges is market research currently facing?
    On the one hand, the issue here is innovation: in short, “use it or lose it” – and this applies to market research too. New opportunities for surveys and analysis are coming onto the market against the backdrop of technological change. The portfolio of products and services therefore has to be continuously optimised. On the other hand, it is about the positioning of our profession in the market. It is important to uphold the strengths of market research and the opportunities that our work offers: above all, how we help to improve business decisions through actionable, authentic customer feedback.

    What might your customers expect in the near future?
    Firstly, they can expect us to remain true to quality requirements. Our yardstick in the future too, is to offer the best possible quality on the market for data collection and deriving business insights. Secondly, there will be new solutions, new tools and new technologies. For example, with our new predictive promoter score, which is based on artificial intelligence, it is possible not only to measure the willingness of customers to recommend, but also to predict changes. This provides some direction in turbulent times.

    Should you have any questions for Stefan Reiser, please send them to us at info[at]link.ch.

  • The mystery shopping peak season begins


    Mystery shopping plays an important part for many companies in identifying strengths and weaknesses in the organisation at offline touchpoints. The adherence of sales and service staff to discussion guidelines, and their technical competence or process reliability in this, for example, are checked by test purchasers, test callers or test vehicle owners using observation questionnaires. LINK conducts more than 600 mystery visits and calls each year for banks, insurance companies and car manufacturers, as well as in the media and telecommunications field, in all language regions of Switzerland.

    The added value of this method is still huge today: for the direct customer, contact is transformed into a social oasis in a realm of anonymous digital touchpoints, which is a desirable factor for many people. However, there are of course further developments and trends in mystery shopping too: on the one hand, mini-shops, i.e. smaller samples that are designed to be qualitatively more robust and offer agile feedback. On the other hand, we are increasingly integrating direct feedback loops between mystery shoppers and “audited” respondents, in order to convey impressions and optimisation potential. Finally, market interest is growing in terms of the use of real customers, who can give a particularly authentic review following the relevant training.

    Ramona Lucia
    Head of Face2Face
    +41 41 367 72 01
  • Identifying the current customer trend precisely and simply with PPS

    NPS-related open text responses as they occur in many companies, are a valuable “insights asset” as the “voice of customers” and let the company know what their customers think and feel. The predictive promoter score (PPS) tool from LINK and Success Drivers which has been developed in cooperation with the text analysis platform codit.co, combine automatically coded text responses with NPS evaluations by means of artificial intelligence, and thereby generate evidence-directed customer insights for management-orientated recommendations for action. This type of automated intelligence enhancement enables management to make more precise decisions more quickly overall. Via continuous monitoring and an interactive dashboard, customer opinions that are critical to success and responses to various customer contact points can be monitored and directed with a view to assessing the vitality of the company.

    Read the full article in the new 2019 yearbook from the Association for Swiss Market and Social Research on “market and social research”

    Dr. Steffen Schmidt
    Senior Project Manager Analytics
    +41 44 497 49 30
  • Departure after 19 years


    Urs Aellig is leaving LINK after 19 eventful and successful years and, following a business handover phase and a sabbatical, he will be taking up a new professional challenge in the coming year.


    Urs Aellig joined LINK in 2000, shortly after completing his geography degree at the University of Basel. Neither the managers at LINK at the time nor Urs Aellig himself would have expected it to be such a long success story for him and LINK, based on, as he himself says, “a chance application” back then. At the same time, Urs Aellig already indicated to his management colleagues 3 years ago that, despite his successful career at LINK, one’s professional life should consist of at least two stages. It was therefore possible to plan Urs’ departure and successor effectively.

    On behalf of LINK, we would like to thank Urs sincerely for his excellent, reliable, creative, always clearly structured, and untiring commitment as the head of the social research division. Urs has made his mark in the division in countless ways, has built up and further developed a team and services of the highest quality, and has always participated very constructively in the management of the entire company too.

    Thank you, Urs, for 19 successful years of management, development work and passion!

    The board of administration and executive board of LINK Marketing Services AG are now pleased to introduce Dr Sabine Frenzel as the new head of the social research division and new member of the executive board. She will succeed Urs Aellig at the beginning of the 4th quarter of 2019. Ms Frenzel brings with her excellent professional qualifications and a great deal of management experience, ready to open another successful chapter for social research at LINK along with her team.

    A warm welcome to Sabine and our sincere best wishes!

  • Every tenth person in German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland is planning to change their health insurer in 2019


    Half a year before expiry of the general notice period for basic insurance, LINK Institut surveyed a representative sample of 1,000 people from German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland with regard to their plans and intentions to change. According to the results of this study, 3 per cent of all respondents in 2019 have already implemented a change of health insurance for their basic insurance, and another 7 per cent are still planning to do so in 2019. In conclusion, 10 per cent could therefore be classified as ready to switch in 2019.

    Young people are particularly open to switching

    The proportion of those prepared to change is particularly high among people aged 18 to 29 years. Around one fifth of them are prepared to switch – 14 per cent would like to make a change, and another 5 per cent have already done so in the first half of the year. By contrast, intention to change is just 1 per cent overall among 60 to 79-year-olds. “Health insurance companies have to compete intensively for digital natives, and also take into account the special requirements of this age group”, says Stefan Reiser, head of market research at LINK Institut, who managed the study.

    Premiums as well as products and services are the main reasons for switching

    When asked about their reasons for switching, a “lower priced alternative range” was clearly at the top. Given that there was the option of multiple mentions, almost three-quarters of those willing to change over indicate this as a deciding factor. Dissatisfaction with the reimbursement system as well as with customer service follow in second and third place. That good service and proximity to the customer pay off for providers is also apparent from the barriers to change: asked about the reasons that argue against switching, 54 per cent of loyal health insurance company customers mention the good service of their current health insurer. The reasons for not changing that are ranked just behind this are: the potential for cost savings being too low or the fact that the current health insurer offers cheap premiums, as well as too much administrative effort being involved. “To succeed in the competition for young adults, you have to provide attractive offers”, adds Stefan Reiser.

    Comparison portals as a no. 1 source of information

    This is also proven by questions about the information channels used prior to switching: online comparison portals now play a part here. 64 per cent of those willing to switch have already used or plan to use relevant websites as part of their decision-making process. Friends and acquaintances (33 per cent), health insurance company websites (32 per cent), as well as independent insurance advisers (20 per cent) follow some way behind this. Stefan Reiser summaries the results: “To be able to benefit in the long-term from the segment of those open to change, the whole online presence of a health insurance company must be consistent and convincing across their own website, comparison portals, assessment pages and social media. Our study shows: a company with an image of expertise will win customers here and will also be able to retain them over time”.

    You can request the study presentation free of charge at info[at]link.ch.

  • Survey of the month

    How often do you exercise?
    Which types of sports do you do?
    Who is your favourite athlete?

    You will see further details on the survey on our Tableau Dashboard

  • Congratulations

    Thank you for your interest in our competition on the topic “Have a heart for the beaver” with two prizes of family admission to the Sihlwald nature park to be won.
    We would like to congratulate Marie-Ange P. from WEMF AG für Werbemedienforschung and Bettina W. from the Hirslanden Clinic Linde on winning these prizes.