We're hiring!


It's time to take Mineful to the next level! We are looking for a talented software engineer to join our team in Downtown Chicago. Join Mineful from the early stages and leave a mark in the product. Your contributions will not go unnoticed.

You can apply here: http://bit.ly/4xEUJ7

Here are the details:

A start-up marketing analysis software company located in downtown Chicago is looking for a highly motivated engineer. The entrepreneurial engineer should be willing to give up the big bucks in the short term for a stake in the company in order to reap the benefits in the long term. Ideal candidates will have the experience and skills in the full range of user friendly, scalable front-end systems to back-end technologies that will scale to millions of transactions per day. Your contributions will directly impact performance, customer experience, and the growth of our business.

Requirements and Technologies:

  • 2+ years java application development preferably in a fast-paced and dynamic environment
  • Ability to manage all aspects of the software development lifecycle
  • Experience with Java, Hibernate, Spring, Web Services (RESTful)
  • Working knowledge of a web framework
    - We use JSF and SEAM, but experience with other frameworks is OK
  • Expert Javascript/HTML/CSS/Ajax coding skills
  • Experience with relational databases like MySQL
  • Strong command of web standards, CSS-based design, cross-browser compatibility
  • Good understanding of web technologies (HTTP, Apache) and familiarity with Unix/Linux
  • Ability to work in the UI layer as well as the backend
  • Excellent communications and analytical skills
  • Self-motivation and the ability to work under minimal supervision are a must
  • Demonstrated ability to leverage open source tools to increase productivity
  • BS in computer science, engineering, or related field
  • Master of the AJAX toolkits.
    - If you know Dojo, ExtJS, Scriptacoulus you rock!
  • JUnit, TestNG, or any other testing frameworks
  • Ability to Learn and go outside the box to find a solution

What will set you apart:

  • Working knowledge of OO analysis and design
- You can create and read UML diagrams
  • Knowledge of SEAM (JSF), EJB3, JPA.
  • Working with R, S, or SAS
  • Knowledge of Flex or OpenLazlo
  • Knowledge of artificial intelligence principles and business rules engines
  • Knowledge of statistical and mathematical principles

Culturally we believe in:

  • Evidence based thinking: gathering data to make decisions
  • Team based collaboration: bringing diverse ideas to shared problems
  • Emphasis on delivery: ownership, execution and follow-through
  • Self-starter: take initiative, drive consensus
  • Think creatively: There is always a way to get there
  • Take pride in your work
  • We work hard, but we have fun and flexible with work hours.

What we offer:

  • This is a full-time position
  • Annual salary between 30 - 40K (If you are looking for the big salary from day 1, then we are not for you.)
  • Health, dental, and life insurance
  • Paid vacation
  • Equity in the company

If interested, send us your resume and cover letter.
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Survey Data Integration


Mineful released today the first solution to easily integrate customer or products data with survey data. This allows researchers to see how customer information and survey answers are related. Mineful's survey data integration gives researchers a powerful yet easy way to integrate survey data with respondent characteristics, such as shopping patterns, customer segment, and geographic location. The result is a clearer understanding of different segments of the market.

For example, suppose that a grocery store chain conducts an online survey of customers who have signed up for shoppers' discount cards. The survey might ask customers how important they consider things such as ease of checkout, expanded store hours, and availability of special services, such as pharmacies or florists shops, in the store.

A survey like this will be valuable in itself, but it will be even more valuable if the consultant can integrate survey data with data gathered from discount cards. These cards typically provide information about where, when, and how often customers shop, what they buy, and how much they typically spend on each shopping trip.

If a consultant attempted to ask for this information as part of a survey, it would create two problems. First, respondents might not be able to provide accurate information about such things as how often they shop or how much they typically spend. Second, asking for such information would make the survey considerably longer, and the longer the survey, the less likely it is that people will complete it.

By integrating survey results with data from shopping cards, a researcher can determine answers to questions such as:
  • What services are most important to the chain’s best customers?
  • Which stores have the highers customer satisfaction?
  • How does customer satisfaction affect purchase frequency?
In technical terms, a user can upload two kinds of files: 1) a respondent list with customer emails and other columns that describe the respondent or 2) a general data file that could describe a product, store, or something else about the organization. The respondents' list is the example we explained above.

In the second case, a user can upload a table for which a code or an answer must be entered to retrieve information. This could be a products table, store level table, demographic table, etc. For example, a construction company that replaces windows, siding, and gutters might have information on its products serviced by warranty number. The first question of the survey asks the respondent his warranty number. The information on the table (product category, date, service representative, price, location, etc.) is then linked to this person's responses.

Survey data integration tools, such as these, allow marketing departments to give decision makers the information they need to get the most out of their marketing efforts.
Read On

Retailers Increase Loyalty by Finding Out What their Best Customers Want


In an ideal world, retailers would like to use surveys to gain a better understanding of satisfaction and preferences for different types of customers — for example, plus-size women, do-it-yourselfers, or fitness enthusiasts. Mineful has engineered a fast, low cost solution to this problem. Mineful enables retailers to integrate survey data with information about customers including purchasing patterns, demographics, market segments, and location. The result is a clearer picture of different market segments.

Here's an example of how a retailer might use this information. Suppose a retailer wanted to know if the sales staff in some departments or stores needed additional training. A customer satisfaction survey might ask questions such as:
  • Did your salesperson seem knowledgeable?
  • Did your salesperson help you select a product?
  • Was your salesperson able to answer your questions?
Mineful allows the responses to these questions to be easily integrated with data about what customers purchased. Then the retailer can see which departments need more highly trained staff. The retailer could also determine which types of customers need the most assistance.
Survey data integration can also help a retailer see how customer satisfaction differs by market segment. For example, a survey might ask:
  • Did you feel you had a broad enough range of products to choose from?
  • Were you satisfied with the overall quality of the product selection?
  • Were products displayed in a way that made shopping easy?
When responses to these questions are integrated with sales data, it will be easy for a retailer to see which markets are being served adequately and which departments need to redesign their product displays. Other survey questions might help a retailer identify which segments of their customers are more concerned with quality than price, and vice versa.

If a retailer attempted to ask for this information as part of a survey, it would create two problems. First, respondents might not be able to provide accurate information about such things as how often they shop or how much they typically spend. Second, asking for such information would make the survey considerably longer, and the longer the survey, the less likely it is that people will complete it.

Once a survey is completed, Mineful makes it easy to display the results. Users can create charts and graphs with just a few clicks. They can choose to display results using survey dashboards. Dashboards are visual displays of data that are easy to interpret. They can be adapted for different users to make them even more effective. For example, regional sales managers might see customer satisfaction charts for several stores, store managers might see charts for their own stores, and department managers might see charts for their own departments.

This approach to sharing survey results can help employees at all levels stay focused on the customer’s satisfaction, wants, and needs.
Read On

How Can Hotels Keep Guests Satisfied?


It has been a difficult decade for the hospitality business. The awful events of September 11, 2001, led to a sharp decline in leisure travel. Just when business was getting back to normal, the economy turned sour, forcing both business and leisure travelers to cut back on their plans.

In an effort to cut costs to cope with the decline in business, some hotels have reduced staff and eliminated some amenities for guests. But at what point do such cutbacks threaten guest satisfaction and lead to even further erosion in business? How can hotels boost customer loyalty by focusing on improving things that guests really care about? Those are the crucial questions that hotels must consider as they try to control costs while at the same time keeping their guests satisfied.

Knowing what to cut
In February 2009, research company TNS conducted a survey of 2,500 adults to determine how cuts in hotel services might affect their choice of hotels (http://www.quirks.com/articles/2009/20090505.aspx). Specifically, the survey asked about five types of reductions in services:

  • Reduced entertainment, such as free in-room access to premium movie channels
  • Reduced to-door services, such as in-room checkout and delivery of newspapers.
  • Reduced personal assistance, such as help with luggage.
  • Reduced free amenities, such as hand lotion or mouthwash.
  • Reduced hours for service for restaurants, hotel stores, or business centers.

The survey found that guests cared least about door-to-door services and personal assistance. In fact, most respondents said that cutting these items would have no effect at all on their choice of hotels. Since both of these services are staff-intensive, reductions in these areas could lead to significant savings without threatening hotel loyalty.

The survey also found that the biggest area of risk would be cutting free amenities. Over a third of respondents said that cutting amenities would affect their choice of hotels.

The bigger picture
This survey provides valuable information for hotels that are thinking of cutting back on services, but hotel satisfaction surveys can also serve a broader purpose. A well-designed survey can help a hotel boost guest satisfaction by identifying areas where services or amenities need to be improved. This link (http://hotel_satisfaction.nisurvey.com) will take you to a good hotel survey example.

This survey asks about a broad range of things, from ease of check-in to cleanliness of rooms. Many of these things can be improved without significant cost because they involve nothing more than a change in staff behavior. In fact, hotel market research has revealed that “employee performance” is the most important factor guests consider in differentiating one hotel from another (http://www.quirks.com/articles/2007/20071005.aspx). It also has a major impact on customer loyalty and repeat business.

Employee performance includes such things as:

  • Efficiency
  • Friendliness
  • Hospitality
  • Courtesy
  • Promptness
  • Responsiveness

The bad news is that recent hotel satisfaction surveys show a significant decline in these qualities. According to Hospitalitynet.org, “Guests did not feel as welcome, and staff friendliness scores were down. Guests also felt less pampered and less entertained during their stay.” The good news is that hotels can turn this situation around with a greater commitment to customer satisfaction and a relatively small investment in staff training.

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