Webinar Highlights: Presenting Data Effectively

[The following post is re-blogged from Social Science Space. Click here to view the original article.]


Crystal clear graphs, slides, and reports are valuable – they save an audience’s mental energies, keep a reader engaged, and make you look smart. This webinar held on June 6, 2017, covers the science behind presenting data effectively and will leave viewers with direct, pointed changes that can be immediately administered to significantly increase impact. Guest Stephanie Evergreen also addresses principles of data visualization, report, and slideshow design that support legibility, comprehension, and stick our information in our audience’s brains.

Evergreen’s presentation was followed by an audience question-and-answer session, which is included in the recording. Not all the questions were answered at the time, and Evergreen answers some additional session questions below.

Evergreen is an internationally recognized speaker, designer, and researcher best known for bringing a research-based approach to better communicate through more effective graphs, slides, and reports. She holds a PhD from Western Michigan University in interdisciplinary evaluation, which included a dissertation on the extent of graphic design use in written research reporting. Evergreen has trained researchers worldwide through keynote presentations and workshops, for clients including Time, Verizon, Head Start, American Institutes for Research, Rockefeller Foundation, Brookings Institute, and the United Nations. She is the 2015 recipient of the American Evaluation Association’s Guttentag award, given for notable accomplishments early in a career.

She is co-editor and co-author of two issues of New Directions for Evaluation on data visualization. She writes a popular blog on data presentation at StephanieEvergreen.com. Her books SAGE Publishing books Presenting Data Effectively and Effective Data Visualization both reached No. 1 on Amazon bestseller lists. A second edition of Presenting Data Effectively was published in May.

  1. When is it best to place the data information (e.g. 20 percent) on a bar or lollipop vs. using a scale on the side or bottom of a chart?

If people will want to know the exact value, add the data label. If the overall pattern of the data and estimated values are sufficient, use a scale. But don’t use both – that’s redundant.

  1. How do your clients and colleagues respond to the ‘flipped report,’ in which research findings and conclusions are presented before the discussion, literature, methodology, and background sections?

With a “duh” as in “Why haven’t I thought of that before”? Generally, clients appreciate how a flipped report values their time. On occasion, you and I will find audiences who really bristle at the idea, usually people steeped in the academic culture, so check first if a flipped report structure would be okay.

  1. Any tips for the converted about changing resistant organizational culture to data visualization? “You need to use our template!”

Culture change is slow, so the first tip is to be patient. After that, try remaking one of your own old (bad) slides or graphs to show what an overall would look like. See if you can get a friendly client or customer you know to give you feedback on it. Then report on the redesign and the feedback to others in your organization. Try getting someone from senior management on board. Leave a copy of my book in their mailbox or in the break room. And hang in there.

  1. How do we report small numbers? Without percentages?

I would report small numbers as raw numbers, not percentages. Try an icon array for a visual.

  1. Where is the best place to get report templates?

In your imagination! Any report template is going to look like a report template, not like something that fits your own work. Look around for inspiration, for sure, like on my Pinterest boards, but create your own style that fits you and your work.

  1. What program do you use to create dashboards or infographics? We’ve used Piktocharts…. are there others?

I work within the Microsoft Office suite. I make dashboards in Excel and infographics in PowerPoint. This way I have total control over the design and everyone on my team can make edits. A quick Google search of either dashboard or infographic programs will give you hundreds of choices you could work with. If you want something from that list, look for maximum flexibility, low learning curve, and reasonable expense.

  1. Each chart can have multiple findings; are we skewing the results when we highlight certain findings over others using color and data?

“Skewing” sounds like we are manipulating, but that’s not the case. Using color to highlight a certain part of the graph still leaves the rest of the graph completely intact and able to be seen. Adding color does, however, reflect an interpretation we have made of the data. But that isn’t “skewing” – it’s telling people our point and that’s why they are listening to us in the first place.

  1. Can you please explain the difference between your two books? Thanks!

Sure! Effective Data Visualization walks you through how to choose the right chart type and then how to make it in Excel. Presenting Data Effectively talks about formatting graphs well with consideration of text and color and broadens that discussion to address dashboards, slides, handouts, and reports.

  1. One challenge I face is presenting nuanced findings in an accessible way. For example, when there are limitations to the data or subgroups that need to be acknowledged or findings need to be interpreted with caution. As a researcher, it worries me that the client might put tentative findings “out there”, misrepresenting them (to a degree).

This makes your title and subtitle ever more important. Be very clear in your wording that the findings are limited. You can also add things like confidence intervals to your graph if you are confident that the reader will know how to interpret them. If it is still going to be a concern, don’t make a graph of the data. People are drawn to graphs because we look at pictures so don’t put the data in a picture if you are worried people won’t read the nuanced narrative.

Understanding Customer Barriers and Barrier-Attenuating Practices in Access-Based Services

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Simon Hazée, Cécile Delcourt, and Yves Van Vaerenbergh who recently published an article in the Journal of Service Research entitled “Burdens of Access: Understanding Customer Barriers and Barrier-Attenuating Practices in Access-Based Services.” Below, the authors share more insight on their research in the service industry:]

What motivated you to pursue this research? JSR_16.2_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgWe are witnessing a global rise of what’s been called ‘the access economy’. This growth is yet mainly driven by an increasing supply, with lots of companies—including manufacturers like BMW or Daimler AG—offering services that grant customers limited access to goods. Although these services offer several potential advantages, convincing customers to use them remains challenging. Service innovation failures represent potential losses of revenues that can even endanger firms’ competitiveness; indicating the pressing need to understand the barriers that keep customers from participating in the access economy.

Were there any surprising findings? Customers face several important barriers for why they don’t participate in the access economy, and these barriers do not always have rational grounds. For instance, one striking observation is that customers are afraid of contamination. After all, when accessing goods, you know for sure that someone else—whom you do not know—has touched the product; this may create disgust and avoidance responses. Another surprising finding is that customers believe they must engage in a bunch of practices to attenuate the barriers themselves. For example, customers must be ready to alter or postpone their needs to counter the fact that goods might not be available when needed, an important barrier perceived by customers.
Interestingly, although engaging in such practices helps attenuating barriers, customers also consider them as burdensome.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?Our findings suggest that customers reject service innovations not only in response to numerous perceived barriers associated with the innovation but also out of consideration of the practices in which they must engage to attenuate those barriers. Prior research shows customers typically adopt and use access-based services to avoid the burdens of ownership. We show that they reject these services due to the burdens of access, which include the barriers to access and the barrier-attenuating practices. Understanding both the barriers and the practices in which customers engage is critical for theory and practice; it can reveal new ways to see, examine, and manage service innovations. In sum, the success of access initiatives is not necessarily for those service providers that show the benefits of using the service, but might be for those who are best at overcoming the barriers as well as facilitating and limiting the practices in which customers engage.

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The Effect of Social Networking Sites’ Activities on Customers’ Well-Being

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[We’re pleased to welcome Seonjeong Lee, Assistant Professor at Kent State University in Hospitality Management. Lee recently published an article in Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research entitled “The Effect of Social Networking Sites’ Activities on Customers’ Well-Being.” From Lee:]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

    With customers’ increased interests in their well-being, many hotels have opened their eyes to the concept of “well-being” to promote their service offerings, to distinguish their brands from competitors, and to attract more customers. For instance, Westin Hotels & Resorts launched a well-being movement to promote their brands through meeting customers’ well-being needs. Scholars have also responded to increased interests in well-being, by investigating employees’ and customers’ perspectives; however, it was still puzzling what made customers fulfill their psychological needs that fostered their well-being perceptions when customers engaged with SNSs to share their hotel experiences. Thus, this study explored the effectiveness of the well-being marketing to investigate SNSs’ activities that influenced customers’ psychological needs and impact of a sense of well-being on customers’ brand usage intent in the context of the hotel industry.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you? 

    Results revealed that not all customers’ SNSs’ activities had positive effects on their autonomy and relatedness needs. When customers engaged with SNSs’ activities for self-centered motivations, such as self-enhancement and venting negative feelings, they fulfilled their autonomy and relatedness needs. However, customers did not positively fulfill their psychological needs when they posted their hotel experiences with other-centered motivations, such as concern for others. Even though one of the main motivations for customers to engage with SNSs’ activities was to add values to others (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2004), customers might not be able to fulfill their psychological needs when they post comments of concern for others.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Based on prior well-being marketing research and self-determination theory, this study examined how SNSs’ activities influenced customers’ sense of well-being when customers shared their hotel experiences and how hotel brands could benefit from customers’ well-being perceptions in SNSs. Results suggest hotel marketers need to promote their well-being marketing in SNSs. As customers positively fulfill their psychological needs through self-centered SNSs’ activities, hotels need to provide a place where customers share their experience to resolve any dissatisfied incidents and promote themselves to enhance their self-concept. In addition, hotels need to develop proper response strategies to customers’ negative comments. Even though venting negative feelings positively fulfilled customers’ psychological needs, negative comments might negatively influence prospective customers. Hotels need to adopt proper response strategies to develop a positive relationship with customers.

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How to Recover Customer Trust After Unsatisfactory Service

6279924331_f857af05f4_z[We’re pleased to welcome Kenny Basso of IMED Business School. Kenny recently published an article in Journal of Service Research, entitled “Trust Recovery Following a Double Deviation,” with co-author Cristiane Pizzutti. ]

The number of complaints on sites such as ripoffreport.com and consumersaffairs.com and complaint boards around the world illustrate that service failures are frequent and even inherent to service encounters. To avoid this public exposition, company can perform a service recovery. However, some times, the results of the service recovery are also negative to the client, or else, company is unable to appropriately restore service after a failure. In this situation, there is a double deviation of the client initial expectations about the service. The double deviation situation imposes a severe violation of the trust that the client has on the company. This paper focus on elucidates how a company can recover JSR coverclient trust after a double deviation.

Our results demonstrate that, contrary to what some may think, money (i.e., financial compensation) does not buy trust after double deviation; instead, companies can restore the client’s trust (at least in part) and maintain the relationship with him/her by making an apology or a promise of non-recurrence of the failure. However, it is worth noting that whereas making an apology does not require many resources, making a promise requires that the internal problems that generated the initial failure be resolved; otherwise, the promise will be a deception. Furthermore, it is important for firms to match the type of double deviation to the recovery strategy. Hence, promises have more efficacy in restoring trust when the trust violation is based on a company’s competence, as, for example, slow service in an understaffed store or by unprepared employees in on-the-job training programs, a room that is not clean, a meal that is cold, or baggage that arrives damaged. On the other hand, apology has more efficacy when the client perceives the failure as resulting from a lack of integrity or improper company principles and values, such as treating the customer badly because he bought a ticket from a daily deal web site, having rules that benefit the company written in fine print to make it more difficult for consumers to read them or giving a table reserved by one client to another who arrives earlier at the restaurant to ensure its occupancy.

The abstract for the paper:

Although double deviation (i.e., unsatisfactory service recovery) is an acknowledged phenomenon in the field of marketing, little attention has been devoted to determining what actions firms can take to restore consumer trust in the wake of such an event. Across four experimental studies of different populations and service sectors, we show that double deviation intensifies the trust violation generated by the initial service failure and that recovery from double deviations requires fundamentally different strategies than recovery from single deviations. Our results suggest that financial compensation is not an especially effective strategy for double deviations compared to the effectiveness of apologies and promises that the problem will not occur in the future. However, it is important for firms to match the type of double deviation to the recovery strategy, with apologies being more effective for integrity violations and promises being more effective for competence violations.

You can read “Trust Recovery Following a Double Deviation” from Journal of Service Research free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Service ResearchClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Customer service image attributed to Didriks (CC)

Kenny Basso Professor of Marketing at the IMED Business School, Faculdade Meridional – IMED, Brazil. His research interests include services marketing, trust and consumer behavior. He has papers published in the Journal of Services Marketing, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, International Journal of Bank Marketing and Journal of Product & Brand Management.

Cristiane Pizzutti Professor of Marketing at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS, Brazil. Her research interests include consumer behavior and services marketing. She has papers published in the Journal of Product & Brand Management, Journal of Services Marketing, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, and International Journal of Electronic Commerce.

Are Academy Awards Effective Signals of Quality Films?

87th Oscars®, Governors Ball Preview

The Academy Awards is a well-established celebration of talent and achievement in the film industry. Yesterday marked the Oscars’ 88th award ceremony, a testament to the popularity of the Academy Awards, but popularity alone does not mean that the Oscars are a reliable signal of quality. We revisit the article, “Why Some Awards Are More Effective Signals of Quality Than Others: A Study of Movie Awards” published in Journal of Management by authors Gedra Gemser, Mark A.A.M. Leenders, and Nachoem M. Wijnberg, to consider how different award shows define and award quality work. The authors discuss whether the Academy Awards, a peer-selected award, is less effective in boosting film performance than expert-selected awards. In addition, the authors compare the Academy Awards with less prestigious film awards to determine whether the Oscars are viewed as a more credible cue for consumers to select movies.

The abstract:JOM 41(3)_Covers.indd

In this article, the authors develop and empirically test a conceptual framework that predicts which types of awards
have the biggest impact on the competitive performance of the award winners. The empirical setting is an industry where awards proliferate, namely, the U.S. motion picture industry. Overall, their results suggest that awards granted by a jury composed primarily of end consumers, peers, or experts each have a different effect on consumer behavior, which can be explained in terms of differences in source credibility and award salience.

You can read “Why Some Awards Are More Effective Signals of Quality Than Others: A Study of Movie Awards” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Wan to know all about the latest research from Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Oscars image credited to Todd Wawrychuk (CC)

Is Value Creation from Human Connection an Area of Opportunity for Companies to Stand Out?

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Company executives believe they know the value of their product or service they provide, but the true judge of value comes from the customer’s perspective, which is constantly changing and shaped by every interaction, directly or indirectly, with a company. Customer perspective plays a large part in determining a company’s brand and the values the company stands for. It can impact how the employees of a company work collectively toward specific company values.

The number one reason customers leave a business feeling dissatisfied with their experience is poor customer service and indifferent customer representatives. As a result, customer service is an area that holds great potential for companies to really stand out from their competition.

In a marketplace with fewer competing companies, consumers have little choice as to JCVwhere they buy their goods. Companies can tell the customers that they provide a great service without actually following through with the promise—how easy for the companies! But now that companies face more competitors, companies no longer rule the marketplace. The consumer does. It does not matter how much value the company executives and employees think they are providing the customer. If the customer perceives that the value provided is lacking, then they can easily take their business to a competitor instead.

With the introduction of the Internet and web, information is readily available. Technology has changed the behavior of consumers overnight. That once-trusting ‘believer’ evolved into a very sophisticated ‘researcher,’ and the buying patterns of consumers are no longer as predictable, controllable or reliable as they have been.

When a company transforms into a customer-centric organization, a collective mindset emerges that prompts employees to strive for a positive customer experience and perception.  In every transaction between the customer and a company representative, value is always being created or destroyed! Positive value leaves the customer feeling better than before they interacted with a company and employee. Negative value leaves the customer feeling worse than before the interaction. Understanding customer perceptions is fundamental to facilitating positive customer value creation, and it is something every executives and employees alike should be aware of.

Click here to read the full article!

The abstract:

This article introduces an area of value creation seldom considered in the strategic sense in business: value creation from human connections. And given the number one reason for customers leaving a business is a feeling of indifference from a company representative; this is an area that holds a great opportunity for companies to really stand out from their competition. This article examines where business has come from, where we are now and why the critical need to revamp our way of thinking. When a company transforms into a customer-centric organization, a collective mindset to design for the desired outcome of customer emotion emerges.

Click here to read Human Connection: Uncharted Territory for Value Creation for free from the Journal of Creating Value.

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*Market photo credited to the US Department of Agriculture (CC)

A Matter of Formality: How Dress Code Can Impact Customer Behavior

Retro Fashion Image

How an individual dresses can be quite revealing about their personality and how they would like to be perceived, but there is more to be said on the effect of dress style beyond first impressions. Customer experience and behavior, for instance, can be significantly impacted by the dress style of other customers around them. In their article, “The Effects of Other Customers’ Dress Style on Customer’s Approach Behaviors: The Moderating Role of Sense of Power,” published in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Choongbeom Choi of University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Anna S. Mattila of Pennsylvania State University explore how a customer’s sense of power can change depending upon the dress style of others, particularly in formal situations. For some businesses, enforcing a dress code could have the positive effect of encouraging customers with low sense of power to engage in word-of-mouth behaviors.

The abstract:

Most hospitality services are delivered in the same location in which they are produced, and, thus, their delivery involves the presence of other customers. Yet, the role of other customers’ physical appearances in influencing service encounter evaluations has received scant attention. Moreover, previous research shows that consumers with a low sense of power are motivated to seek status by engaging in conspicuous consumption. The current study examines the joint impact of other customers’ dress styles and the observer’s sense of power in influencing customers’ approach CQ Covers.inddbehaviors (e.g., willingness to stay longer in a restaurant, interact with other customers). The results from our experiment show that customers’ approach behaviors among observers with a low sense of power were significantly higher when other customers’ dress styles were formal rather than informal. Conversely, the effect of other customers’ dress styles was minimal among observers with a high sense of power. Results from this study indicate that approach behaviors mediate the impact of other customers’ dress styles on word-of-mouth intentions among customers with a low sense of power. The findings of this study help hospitality operators use dress codes to their advantage.

You can read “The Effects of Other Customers’ Dress Style on Customer’s Approach Behaviors: The Moderating Role of Sense of Power” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!