I’m often called upon to comment on a friend’s market research survey, where they don’t have the budget to employ a specialist, but do want to undertake some customer research so want to have a bash at it themselves. Some common errors often crop up in their design time and again, so here are a few quick tips to guide you and stop you falling into the same traps …
1. Avoid the ‘skip’ approach, where you try to cram in every question possible – it’s better to focus in on what you really need to know rather than alienating the audience with a long and boring set of questions that they give up on
2. If designing an online study with multiple choice answers, do ensure a ‘don’t know/not applicable’ box where appropriate – this avoids people giving up in frustration or shoehorning an answer into the wrong box, which may then give you a false steer
3. Your sample design is vital – in layman’s terms this means who you are going to include in the research. For example, if you put out an online study that anyone can respond to, you can often risk polarity of response, ie those who absolutely love or hate your product may want to tell you so, but those in between may not bother. You need to be in more control of who is responding to ensure they represent a full cross-section of your customers or your results will be biased
4. What’s in it for me? Some people think their customers or potential customers will be delighted to share their views. But let’s face it, everyone is busy these days and unless there is a compelling reason to take part in your research, many won’t. Professional research design usually allows in the budget for cash incentives, a prize draw, or some way of rewarding participants and ensure they are engaged and willing. When setting your budget for the research, don’t forget this element
5. Careful probing – topic guides and questionnaires don’t always allow for the kind of probing which will reveal deeper insights than just ‘what people said and how many said it’. Your research may need to allow for further questioning on why they feel like this, when they experience that, how the issues may be resolved etc, ie more open questions to obtain richness of response – yet there is some skill in doing this well without being intrusive or asking too many open questions and ending up with oodles of data to analyse!
These are just a few of the many considerations in good research design. As you can see, there is more to it than just asking a few questions! If you need more expert help, do give us a call.Posted in Qualitative Research Tips September 2, 2014
The market research study we recently completed for Chloe, SRE at Kantar Retail has, I’m pleased to say, led to a lovely testimonial …
Thank you for all of your work on the recent Winter Medicines and Children/Baby Medicines research. I asked the team for some feedback and they said that you were very personable, professional, enthusiastic, great to work with and showed a great depth of knowledge. Our eye tracking technician said that you ‘couldn’t have been more helpful’ had a ‘can do’ attitude, nothing was too much of a problem when you were in the field so thank you for that.
The insights gained from the qualitative interviews really bolstered the quantitative elements and helped us to explain the why behind the behaviours we observed.
The report you provided was excellent – very detailed but clear and to the point with some really interesting observations and insights. The client was particularly pleased with the quotes supplied and the Vox Pops footage which he said really brought the report ‘to life’.
Thanks Chloe!Posted in Added Insight Company News, Client Testimonials September 23, 2013
The proliferation of online survey tools and people having a stab at their own questionnaires might lead one to think that market research is easy. After all, how hard can it be to ask a few questions? And it’s true that a quick poll of customers to get a steer on satisfaction levels or a short questionnaire on residents’ opinions can provide interviewers with some useful feedback at little cost, especially when budget is tight.
However, professional research to obtain rich insight into complex business issues is a different matter. What many don’t realize is that timing, content, discussion flow, sampling (audience) and method all play a huge part in the quality and accuracy of the information that comes back. If not considered carefully, there’s the risk that the results will provide the completely wrong steer.
Take sampling for example: Randomly interviewing shoppers on a Monday morning is likely to attract a completely different audience (and feedback) to undertaking those interviews on a Saturday. And what about timing? A study on employee satisfaction just after a round of redundancies might obtain quite different results to one carried out just after a Christmas bonus. Considering method is vital too: An online survey among pensioners may be inappropriate if wanting a representative cross-section of the public, as some don’t use the internet. Yet it might be ideal for a different audience.
A lot of effort is generally directed towards survey content, but this again can be a minefield for the uninitiated. Commonly, survey designers will try to cram in too many questions with the thought that: ‘It’s too good an opportunity to miss, so while we’re there …’ This can leave respondents bored and unwilling to complete the study, rather than engaged and enthusiastic about giving feedback. In addition, rarely is enough thought given to discussion flow, with sensitive questions about salary etc being asked upfront instead of later on, once rapport has been built.
These are just a few of the pitfalls to consider when designing and undertaking research – there are many more, such as response rates, incentives to participate, pre-tasking, the list goes on. Which is why, if it’s an important business issue, it can be worth the investment to call in the specialists. Of course we like to ‘defend our art’, but were rightfully proud of our profession and our ability to uncover meaningful insights that can inform a company’s strategy and genuinely drive their business forward.
If budget won’t allow the use of professional researchers, it’s wise to at least spend some time considering more than just the questions to be asked. Thinking about when, where, who, how and what will be most likely to achieve representative, unbiased feedback can pay dividends down the line.
MD, added insight
I’m delighted to have received this client recommendation for undertaking this fascinating project in conjunction with Consensus. The aim was to understand how customers wish to interact with National Savings & Investments, given the choice of new channels available:
“Nanda recently helped us out on a project and I found her to be very professional, creative and efficient. We would certainly use Nanda again.”
Peggy Young, Associate DirectorPosted in Client Testimonials May 10, 2013
Have just done really interesting project for a major telecoms provider interviewing technology lovers re their thoughts and feelings about the internet. It seems that if I don’t have at least three working phones and two tablets, plus a smart TV and Xbox, I’m so last year! No wonder broadband speeds suffer when people are using that much bandwidth.
I’m clearly too old to be a digital native but I thought I was quite up with the latest gadgets.
What a fascinating eye opener!Posted in Recent News April 18, 2013
Pricing Solutions is a client we’ve worked with for several years, supporting their pricing expertise with insightful customer research. They have this to say about our latest project together:
“Nanda recently completed in-depth qualitative interviews for a project I’m working on. She was a pleasure to work with, professional, reliable and efficient. The interviews she conducted were excellent, and provided a lot of valuable feedback. I would certainly use added insight again for future projects.”
Posted in Client Testimonials March 25, 2013
“We worked with added insight recently on a project covering Birmingham, Manchester and London. Nanda is a hard working and insightful qualitative researcher. We found her easy to work with, she delivered on time and provided excellent insight into the project, she’s also a good moderator to boot. We wouldn’t hesitate to use her again in the future”
Seb Martin – DirectorPosted in Client Testimonials March 25, 2013
“added insight has just completed a difficult job for us involving organisation and analysis of business to business quali-qant interviews. I relied on Nanda to manage the programme from start to finish and she did this throughout with calm professionalism. Throughout she worked with me to deliver to the client’s specifications.”
Neil Aulton, DirectorPosted in Client Testimonials March 21, 2013
“I commissioned added insight to undertake some research with GPs, which is a very hard group to start with, with a very emotive subject matter. They demonstrated an excellent understanding of the goals and positioning of the piece of research and were able to point us in the direction of best methodology to meet both objectives and budget. I do not hesitate to recommend them.”Posted in Client Testimonials March 15, 2013
“I worked with Nanda for the first time recently when she offered to help me organise some challenging focus groups. She also offered to host the groups in her home. I cannot recommend Nanda highly enough. She completed the task most efficiently. She is professional, highly intelligent and a delightful person. I felt throughout I was in good hands and very much look forward to working with her again.”Posted in Client Testimonials ← Older posts Newer posts →