What Is Qualitative Business Metrics?

by Vanessa Cross; Updated September 26, 2017
...

A business metric is a tool used to measure some aspect of a company's performance. Qualitative business metrics involve assessment through non-numerical reporting about a question or inquiry. A qualitative metric may request feedback as simple as "yes" or "no." More detailed explanations or descriptions of an experience with a particular phenomenon may also be sought from participants in qualitative studies. It is best understood when compared with quantitative business metrics, which use numerical measurements, described as more objective data.

Surveys

Qualitative assessments can uncover the opinions and viewpoints of customers or clients about a particular topic or business product. The survey is one type of qualitative tool used for this purpose. Cross-sectional surveys and longitudinal surveys are two survey types. An example of a cross-sectional survey is a questionnaire that explores students' online search experiences. A longitudinal survey, in contrast, would seek to measure changes in students' experience over a period of time, as opposed to a single point in time.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a qualitative assessment technique that involves questioning a group of individuals. Focus group moderators are trained to effectively conduct these group interviews. Market researchers can gain a deep understanding of what focus group participants think about a new product, as well as their opinions and perceptions on a variety of topics.

Interviewing

In contrast with the focus group, which obtains information from groups, an interview is a qualitative research method designed to gain information from individuals in a one-on-one setting. It is a more personal form of researching to gain insights into consumer perceptions. The intimate environment of the interview may be more conducive to securing honest opinions and impressions from participants. It is also a more time-consuming and resource-intensive research method.

Benchmarking

The various types of qualitative assessment tools can provide a wealth of information to businesses about their products and services. Qualitative assessments allow a company to discover its quality performance strengths and weaknesses. Through qualitative benchmarking, which identifies industry best practices, a company is able to compare its performance against that of competitors. This helps a company to develop business goals and objectives that increase competitive advantages and effectively address competitive shortfalls.

About the Author

Vanessa Cross has practiced law in Tennessee and lectured as an adjunct professor on law and business topics. She has also contributed as a business writer to news publications, including the "Chicago Tribune," and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Cross holds a B.A. in journalism, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in international business law.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images