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Interviewing Hard-to-Reach Respondents During Difficult Times

Interviewing Hard-to-Reach Respondents During Difficult Times
By Arundati Dandapani

Door to door sampling was the truest, recall the veterans, who are still grappling with the challenges of an industry that has fast moved towards automation and programmatic designs. Research reveals that operational efficiency and costs have brought down the overall quality of the respondent experience, leading to a general distrust in the industry. Poor experiences have led to declining participation rates, leading to even lower response and completion rates.

Incidence rate is defined as the number or percentage of qualified people from a sample that are eligible to participate in a study. Since the onset of one of the most disruptive global health crisis in recent decades has changed the way we work, suppliers across the board report no change in IR (ease of finding qualified respondents/targetable population) or Response Rates (completion), and in some cases observing even higher response rates than before. Meeting respondents for specific market research studies however remains an ongoing challenge and difficulty for many reasons.

Are these Difficult Times?

Twelve weeks ago, there was no COVID-19 to talk about. Today, how we are doing business and market research has changed completely owing to the economic, social, and public health impacts of the current global pandemic.

“In times of COVID-19, we need to be hyper-sensitive on user experience as everyone has heightened emotions. When we poll our audience about ‘what questions do you have today’, Covid related questions are becoming major top of mind questions,” said Paul Neto of Measure Protocol. Rand Market Research confirms that nearly 80% of Canadians are concerned about the Coronavirus and are changing their behaviour due to it. “While many companies focus on Incidence Rates, the critical metric is its conversion to completion rates, as in many cases (70-90% of all surveys), participants do not complete them because of poor experiences. The industry has moved away from responsible interaction with the participant,” reminded Neto.

Jackie Lorch of Dynata wrote that, “Consumers can still provide generalizable data and think objectively about their cars, TVs, household goods and other products and services, but their answers on many topics will be different while the Coronavirus crisis lasts. This reflects the reality of your customers’ experience. It is more vital than ever to keep in touch with them and not risk being left with a data “black hole” as the world recovers.”

Business as Usual Despite the Crisis

The major reported or observed change in research operations has been in the shifting of real-person fieldwork to virtual operations, affecting offline qualitative work the most (including face-to-face interviews, and focus groups). The best way to measure change is by tracking respondents over time, for example, comparing the IR in studies in the last month with the past three months of studies in field.

Whether times are good or bad, maintaining respondent interest can be a challenge for many reasons. Factors range from the source of sample (e.g., banks that use highly targeted client lists for surveys seeing higher participation), mode of survey (online is a better medium for some demographics, and has little barriers for use in difficult times like COVID-19), quality of profilers (the rarer the qualifications or behaviours, the feasibility of that sample is lower) among others.

While there are different reasons for low respondent participation, panel participation is often dependent on how the survey question is worded, and what the qualification times and windows are. Qualification includes the criteria that respondents are required to fulfill at the recruiting stage, and qualification times and windows often determine how tracking studies will be impacted, opening unique opportunities to benchmark and observe targeted respondent behaviour over time.

The potential of mode must not be overlooked. According to Randa Bell of ASDE Survey Sampler, “IVR (interactive Voice Response) presents an interesting opportunity to reach respondents in a cheaper or faster way than traditional telephone surveys, when your interviewing capacity is lowered due to physical distancing in call centers. Also, there’s the added ability to reach cell phones via IVR or SMS text messages to the younger age groups who might be sitting at home and bored with all the news and lock-down. All surveys at these times should be introduced knowing that COVID-19 is on the minds of everyone and acknowledged in the introduction.”

Doing More to Earn Respondent Trust and Retention

Businesses need to keep conducting mitigation tests to check that their field studies are on track to optimize their incidence rates. The qualifications for studies and project timelines must reflect the new reality and new needs, whether that means keeping a close tab on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, and being adaptive in response as governments and citizens work to contain the outbreak, or introducing new measures that protect the public and companies investment in the ongoing health of their respondents.

Incidence rates are reflective of the effort it takes to convert qualified persons to participate in a study. Research fieldwork and data collection methods must be adaptive to create better experiences that improve participation rates. If that in the current environment means substituting / migrating all face-to-face qualitative work with other user-friendly virtual, mobile and safe alternatives, businesses must prepare. Targeting lists and respondents effectively involves employing the optimal mix of traditional and new technologies including AI, the internet of things and blockchain to ensure user-intuitive experiences that convert to the highest participation of qualified respondents.


About Arundati

Arundati Arundati Dandapani, CMRP (@itadnura) advises non-profits and businesses with insights and storytelling. She is the founder of Generation1.ca, an online cross-sectoral resource and outlet for Canada’s newest residents, chief editor of MRIA-ARIM, and has been honoured with industry awards like the inaugural GRIT Future List Honour along with the 2020 AAPOR Burns Bud Roper Fellow and QRCA’s 2020 Young Professionals Grant. She can be reached at arundati@generation1.ca.

COVID-19: Business Continuity

To all of our friends & colleagues,

In light of the current COVID-19 virus, we are carefully monitoring the situation by following national and global updates and implementing measures to ensure our employees’ well being, in addition to ensuring reliable business continuity.

We have not experienced any significant impact to our business operations to date. Our employees are based throughout North America and are equipped to work from a remote location. We are also working diligently to limit any potential impact to our clients and vendors.

Effective immediately we have implemented the following protocols:

•          Business travel restrictions until further notice

•          Leveraging virtual and/or teleconference meetings

•          Cancelling large group gatherings until further notice

•          Ensuring national Public Health agencies’ best practices are being followed at all of our offices (including call centers)

•          Secure technology in place for employees to work from home if necessary (including call centers)

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions.

Thank you,

Sam Pisani
Anthony Molinaro
Paul Molinaro
Managing Partners

The Logit Group

Paul Izzo Joins the Logit Group

Toronto, ON, March 10th, 2020

Paul Izzo joins The Logit Group Inc.

The Logit Group, one of North America’s largest independently owned market research execution and data collection firms is pleased to announce that Paul Izzo has joined the team as Vice President, Sales & Business Development.

In his new role, Paul will be responsible for increasing Logit’s client base in the US marketplace as well as overseeing new and strategic sales and growth initiatives.

“It’s with great enthusiasm that we welcome Paul Izzo to the Logit team”, said Managing Partner, Anthony Molinaro. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Paul over the years and his professionalism and client first attitude makes him a tremendous resource to both our team and our clients.  His hand on approach to projects gives him a unique perspective on things and allows him to develop innovative solutions to complex data execution problems.  As we focus on our continued growth in the US, Paul will serve as an integral part of that expansion.”

Prior to joining the Logit Group, Paul recently served as Executive VP for Directions in Research, where he held the title since 1999.

“I am really looking forward to working with the team at Logit,” Says Paul.  “Logit has a phenomenal track record in the research space, and with the resources and capabilities that they bring to the table it’ll allow me to further enhance the portfolio of solutions I’m able to deliver to my clients.”

Headquartered in Toronto, with offices across North America, Logit is widely regarded as one of the top innovators in research execution services, combining a highly experienced team with a unique mix of innovative and proven approaches to solve complex data collection needs for their clients.

Web site: www.logitgroup.com

 

Keeping Your Market Research Data Safe and Secure

Market research companies are faced with varying challenges and security threats when it comes to protecting their data. Over the last two years, there have been many breaches exposing millions of data records as cybercriminals have been targeting both the public and private sectors. According to IBM’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach worldwide is $3.9 million. For the United States, that number soars to $7.91 million.

Shane Graph1

 

The burden of responsibility is widening as many international regulators are now holding organizations liable for any privacy or security breaches. As custodians of sensitive client data, market research companies have a responsibility to minimize the security risk for data both in motion and at rest.

Data in motion, as its name suggests, refers to information being moved from one location to another across the internet, along networks, or from storage devices or the cloud. Protection methods are particularly critical because this data in transit tends to be thought of as less secure than data at rest, which is information simply stored or archived on hard drives, devices, or networks.

Protecting data is critical not only for its own obvious sake, but also to reassure potential survey participants who might be apprehensive about participating in your market research project due to being aware of recent data breaches in other sectors.

Some recommended measures to be implemented include:

• providing staff with cybersecurity tools to ensure ongoing compliance with best practice policies and procedures;
• lowering risk exposure by implementing technology such as intrusion detection systems (IDS), intrusion protection systems (IPS), honeypots, and firewalls;
• regularly monitoring and auditing security procedures to meet developing cyber threats;
• implementing detailed security policies that entail procedures, rules, and roles so all staff members understand that data privacy and security are priorities (e.g. policies like handling procedures, usage, privacy, social media, and user responsibilities);
• keeping informed with all cyber-threat news, updates, and applicable security patches;
• investing in data-breach or cyber-security insurance; and
• conducting penetration testing—also known as “ethical hacking,” this the practice of testing a computer system or network to find security vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

Perhaps one of the most important data security recommendations comes down to always ensuring you are working with people whose approaches and practices you can trust. The Logit Group is continually implementing new measures that comply with industry best practices and address client concerns and requirements about data security and privacy while adhering to data protection laws.

 

Forbes graph: https://www.statista.com/chart/9918/the-price-tag-attached-to-data-breaches/


shane headshot

About Shane Scott

Shane Scott has over 17 years of notable success leading a broad range of corporate and government IT initiatives while participating in the planning, analysis, and implementation of solutions in support of business objectives. As the Logit System Administrator and Support Specialist, Shane has been championed to enhance the Security, Infrastructure and System administration as the company growth continues.

Using A Mixed Methodology Approach For Emerging Markets

Mixed methodology, otherwise known as multi-mode research is a popular choice when approaching emerging markets. With varying response rates, influenced by geography, language and respondent qualification to name a few, a mixed methodology approach allows researchers to compensate for coverage biases and shortfalls.

Cultural influences play a major role in determining the type of methodology used. In emerging markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia, email invitations to VOC programs yield lower response rates in than other countries. This is caused in part by social and cultural behaviours within these countries. Due to this a mixed use methodology may be warranted.

The quality of data collection is critical, and appropriate quality control measures are implemented. For e.g. in Malaysia, data quality requires 100% monitoring to ensure compliance from both interviewers and respondents. While phone and online methodologies are ideal there are some countries such as Singapore and Myanmar where face-to-face data collection using CAPI could be used as it gives wider access to sample and it’s use is generally accepted amongst the population. For each it’s important to note the costs and time constraints. These are factors that will influence choice of methodology.

 

We’ve pulled together a few key observations from our work with mixed methodologies in emerging markets. Here are some factors to take into consideration when developing your study:

Questionnaire Length: It’s important to maintain consistency in the length of your survey. We’ve concluded that the optimal length is around 10 minutes. Studies have been conducted up to 30 minutes, however this is not the norm.

Combatting Rural Areas: In more secluded areas, participants tend to be more conservative in their willingness to participate in studies. We have found that the face-to-face intercept methodology is most successful, as opposed to phone and online approaches, although this option is more costly.

Language Versatility: It is important to consider regional dialects and languages when using face to face intercepts. In instances where there are multiple distinct languages across various states, having the awareness and understanding of regional differences will strengthen your response rates.

Research Execution: The more comfortable your respondents feel when engaging in a study, the more successful your responses will be. It’s vital to have local native speakers wherever your study is taking place in order to ensure clear and unbiased communication.

Observance of Cultural Nuances: Ensure that your study takes into consideration the local cultural nuances. Public holidays, political events and even cultural differences in what constitutes a weekend versus a workday are all to be factored into a study to ensure higher response rates.

For example, in the Middle East countries, a weekend is Friday/Saturday, not the typical Saturday/Sunday. In emerging markets, it’s much more common to have a larger number of public holidays. These factors all contribute to the way in which a field plan should be mapped in preparation for a study.

Political situations such as a general election can impact participation due to a large influx of social media use. Consider the type of government in power within your emerging market, as this impacts how trusting the population may be. For example, while attempting to complete a survey during a national election in Malaysia, the corruption of the government and mass amount of propaganda going out for the election meant that we had a much lower response rate during that time.
In order to ensure all possible nuances, cultural practices and language variations we need to be mindful of all options when working in emerging markets. Logit carefully factors in all of the above when recommending the appropriate methodology for each research project. With over 25 years of experience, our international research execution can help to leverage your next international study.

Interested to learn more about our services? Contact us here: http://bit.ly/bidrequest


About Oscar Fernandes 

oscar

Oscar has over 25 years’ experience in market research especially in the areas of Project Management and Business Development. Before joining the firm in 2014, he held senior positions at Greenwich Associates/Corsential/Consumer Contact.

How to Gain a Competitive Edge Using MR

How to Gain a Competitive Edge Using MR

Since Daniel Starch developed his theory in the 1920s that advertising had to be seen, read, believed, remembered, and most importantly, acted upon, in order to be considered effective; companies have been using research as a means to gain a competitive edge on their competitors.

Research methodology and techniques have evolved substantially over the years most noticeably since the turn of the millennium. Conducting research has become faster, cheaper and more efficient; allowing companies of all shapes and sizes access to it. With companies conducting research in one form or another more than ever before, the challenge to gain meaningful unique data has grown ten-fold.

The pursuit of consumer insights has become an arms race, with the most successful companies finding ways to not only understand, but leverage insights at breakneck speeds. Those who have been able to harness the power of insights have flourished in the post brick and mortar retail world, while those who haven’t have faded into obscurity and obsolescence.

So how does market research play into the success of a company? And what are some areas of focus that companies can look toward in 2020 for a competitive edge?

Looking at Purchase and Usage Trends

purchase trends
To know where you’re going you need to know where you’ve been. By evaluating both purchasing and product usage behaviour of your current customers, you can understand the why, when and how of their consumption and through it can see trends and potential areas for change and enhancement. There are a few keyways to do this each with their own inherent benefits:

In Store Observations: Allows you to see consumers in their natural environment and gives you an understanding of their path to purchase.
Online communities: A small representative population of your consumer base. Gives you quick access to run both quantitative and qualitative data.
Point of Purchase / Interaction data: Short follow up quantitative survey delivered post interaction.
In Home Usage Tests: Diary / Log of a consumer’s interaction with your product and key takeaways of it’s use.

Gaining Competitive Insights

competitive insights
As important as it is to know how your consumers use your product / services, it’s also equally important to know how your consumers view you in relation to your competitors. Several ways to do this include:
MaxDiff Exercises: Respondents evaluate all possible pairs of items within the displayed set and choose the pair that reflects the maximum difference in preference or importance
Conjoint Analysis: Helps to determine how people value different attributes (feature, function, benefits) that make up an individual product or service

Leveraging Technology and Automation

leveraging technology
As the speed of business continues to get quicker and quicker so too does the speed at which insights are gathered and put into use. The ability to leverage technology and automation has become more important amongst the ever-evolving business landscape. Here are a few areas where you can gain a competitive advantage.

Facial Coding: Allows you to capture a respondent’s emotional engagement to any stimulus in real time.
Chat Bots: Conduct qual style exercises at the size of quantitative studies

Through harnessing the research techniques above you too can ensure that your company has a competitive advantage. Want to learn more about how you can implement these on your studies, contact us to learn more.