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Relationship Research
Process Overview
I. Drivers, Dimensions & Strategies
II. Trends & Refinements
III. Strategic Customer Relationships
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Establish the Baseline
Discovery and Establishing the Baseline

The first phase of GuideStar's relationship improvement process involves both qualitative and quantitative research to establish a baseline measurement of the critical dimensions, the key drivers, in the relationship.

Qualitative Research - Structured Relationship Profile Interviews
Specially structured, one-on-one interviews (in-person or by telephone) with representatives of each segment of the population in the relationship you seek to improve are conducted by GuideStar consultants to develop a preliminary relationship profile.

Using GuideStar's Relationship Profile Analysis instrument as a guide to conduct the interviews, our consultants gather the essential information needed to develop a preliminary relationship profile, which includes position definition, relationship strengths and weaknesses, collaboration and interpersonal communication scores, aspiration levels, opportunities for improvement and other critical dimensions of the relationship.

Following the interviews, we examine the relationship profile findings to determine the essential areas for further exploration and inclusion in a baseline quantitative survey. The purpose of the survey is to accurately establish the overall baseline levels of each important dimension in the relationship profile so improvement levels (hopefully) can be periodically measured and tracked.

Quantitative Research - Baseline Relationship Surveys
Working collaboratively with you, a team of GuideStar consultants will craft a survey questionnaire to measure all the important dimensions of the relationship with a representative sample of the population; customers, employees, network partners, etc.

GuideStar's relationship surveys are designed to go beyond traditional satisfaction and loyalty measures and indices. The goal is to define the critical drivers and dimensions in the relationship which, when improved, can be predicted to have a positive influence on business outcomes.

Survey questionnaires include GuideStar's signature relationship question sets, which reveal the relationship's profile and provide our analysts with the information needed to define and predict the key relationship and business outcome drivers and dimensions. Among the relationship dimensions measured are interdependence, closeness and collaboration, impact, bonding, sharing of risk, caring about mutual success, authenticity, keeping commitments, bridging and interpersonal communications.

Managing a GuideStar Survey - the EMMS
(Email Message Management System)

Working with the SMMS™, the GuideStar team carefully manages the survey's data collection process to maximize response rates and sample sizes for data analysis.

GuideStar's unique Online Report Center (ORC) system provides secure, real-time, online reporting facilities for accessing and analyzing survey results and creating great looking reports. With the ORC, you can easily "slice and dice" their data, drill down into the data and design reports in a variety of graphic formats.

While you work with your survey data in the ORC, GuideStar analysts examine it more deeply, conducting a variety of analyses, some of which have been expressly developed by GuideStar. They reveal the deeper relationship connections in the response data and how those connections define and influence the quality of the relationship and the client's business outcomes.

Relationship indices, as well as standardized satisfaction and loyalty indices, are developed to establish a baseline for tracking on future surveys. Target Goal Ranges for Performance Excellence are established based on overall and industry standards.

GuideStar professionals then prepare written summary findings reports with specific tactical and strategic recommendations to provide guidance to you for taking actions that will improve the quality of your relationship with the survey population - customers, employees, network partners, suppliers, etc.

GuideStar Consulting Services
Following the presentation of the baseline research findings and recommendations, GuideStar consultants engage leaders and teams within your organization to assist with communicating the research findings within the organization, in planning both short-term actions and longer term strategic initiatives aimed at improving the productivity and health of a primary business relationship.

GuideStar's Strategic Research Partner Role - A Trusted Advisor
Recognizing that your relationships with your most important groups took years to develop to their current state, it will take time and investment to strengthen and/or repair those relationships. Our approach is to establish, early on, a collaborative partnership relationship with our client. We agree to mutually commit resources to work together collaboratively over a period of several years to improve your relationships with the people who matter most to your business success.

Though GuideStar's role as a trusted advisor to each client is earned over time, by establishing a strategic partnership early on with our clients, we are able to dedicate high-level consultants to the initial discovery phase and to develop strategic research plans to begin improving our client's business results as quickly as possible.

Individual Surveys are Useful -
But Strategic Survey Programs "Move the Needle"

Relationships are not changed overnight. It is a process of mutual investment, building trust, earning respect, planning collaboratively and sharing common goals and achievements. Measuring the improvement of a relationship overall and its key dimensions is best accomplished periodically so trends can be identified and appropriate responses developed.

The goal is to create a trajectory of relationship improvement over time on all the important dimensions in a relationship that result in improved business outcomes and organizational performance. That is why a single survey may have a dramatic impact at a point in time, but does not usually provide the strategic information necessary to build a healthy, sustainable, productive relationship.

Often, a client's relationship with GuideStar will begin with a single survey assignment. And, more often than not, after the first survey project, as the client better understands and appreciates the value of a longer-term effort designed to elevate their relationships with groups that have the greatest impact on their business success, the relationship with GuideStar progresses to a more strategic level.

Move on to Phase II - Drivers, Dimensions and Strategies.


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