There has never been more potential to access customer and market information, but if you want to conduct a piece of ‘quality’ research, upon which you can make informed commercial decisions, it can seem that the odds are against you. However, there is an innovative new approach that is making the challenging task of sampling simpler.
Today’s consumer can be generous in their willingness to provide their opinions regarding products and services they buy and use. Organisations have recognised this and they have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to tap in to and evaluate the Voice of the Customer, whether through feedback to be shared online, asking vox-pops style questions via email, post call IVR, Net Promoter Scores etc. However, the time needs to be right and it needs to be convenient. So, when they receive a call, seemingly out of the blue, asking them to take part in a survey, the answer will often be no, or not right now.
To counter such resistance, some organisations choose to employ the services of online survey companies, or go it alone with tools like Survey Monkey. For certain types of research (especially those demanding high-levels of participation) these services can be the perfect low-cost option, making it quick and easy to compile and distribute a market research questionnaire out to the masses. However, one pitfall to be aware of is that they can attract ‘professional’ online survey-takers, spurred on by the incentives offered. A consequence is that results can potentially be skewed by those determined to complete as many surveys as they can in order to reach their points target. What’s more, if you are looking for feedback from a niche audience it can be hard to reach a valid sample size.
Traditional telephone-based surveys tend to deliver higher quality results, but the costs are greater and response rates typically lower. What’s more, Ofcom’s tough stance on cold calling and the implications of GDPR on using data, compounds the challenge of reaching the right people, who have consented to being called.
So, with online and telephone both offering clear advantages and disadvantages the common sense approach is to bring together the best of both worlds – use digital channels to screen and schedule interviews and execute them on the telephone.
Digital and online channels – namely email, digital display and social media (predominantly Facebook) are the perfect vehicles with which to locate, approach and qualify potential respondents. Subject to their willingness to participate, they can easily go online and book a convenient date and time to receive a call. This information can be automated and placed in to the outbound contact centre/telemarketers dialling schedule.
To highlight, how effective it can be, a cancer charity wanted to speak to people living with the illness (an extremely sensitive area that needs to be handled with the upmost care). By adopting this approach, it was able to screen and recruit the 250 respondents it needed and conduct 80% of interviews within seven days.
Like most of the best ideas it seems obvious and as such you may think everyone is doing this already – I assure you they are not! The key to the success is having access to the right data, in order to pinpoint the right sample of people to target. If you don’t have it you are back at square one, casting your net as widely as possible in the hope of catching the volume you need.
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