In This Issue
A team of us from CSR attended the Quirk’s market research conference in Brooklyn a mere five weeks ago (it feels so much longer given everything that has transpired since)! Thanks to all of you who met (and even caffeinated) with us!Questions? Click here to send us an email with your request.
- Vol. 15, Issue 4, April 2020
In This Issue
Another almost-Springtime, which means Summer is practically here! The years fly by. Read this edition of Research with a Twist to find out why that’s a lot of caffeine. And a lot of, possibly too much, research.
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons (and research)
March was National Caffeine Awareness month, which is why this quote from T.S. Eliot sprung to mind (plus measuring makes me think of research, of course). Coffee, and its magic ingredient, caffeine, makes me happy. My husband tells me that my birthstone is a coffee bean.
However, “Caffeine Awareness Month” is not so much a celebration of caffeine, as a reminder that too much coffee can be counterproductive. Yes, a horrifying thought. Too much coffee? What next, too much research? Well, again, horrifying. But perhaps we should consider the possibility.
Yes, we need research. Yes, we love research, and get so much joy and insight out of it. But, perhaps there are times when research is too much? Crazy, we know. But here are three cases that demonstrate how it’s possible to have “too much” research:
After every transaction
I order a lot on Amazon. Within the past week, I’ve ordered a book on beekeeping, pug-themed paper cups and napkins (it’s my dog’s birthday), a card table and chairs, a “classic” edition of Trivial Pursuit, and yes, I’ll admit to sneaking an extra bottle of hand sanitizer in there. After every transaction, I received a survey from Amazon, asking me to rate my purchase. How much can I really say about my experience with ordering on Amazon via “one click”? It was an extremely satisfying click? As much as I love research and surveys, I’ve had to ignore some of them. It’s just too much.
Other businesses can make the same mistake. Especially for customers that do a high volume of business with an organization, “transactional” surveys can be too frequent, and can lead to survey fatigue. If too many customers start saying “it’s too much,” then we will see a decline in participation rates. Even coffee won’t help us out of that problem.
Surveys that are too long
Sometimes, when stakeholders learn that a survey is planned, many want “in” at the same time. Several clients will all want to ask “just a few questions.” We are then wedging 50 questions into a single survey, rather than breaking the questions out into separate surveys. In coffee terms, it’s like making a huge urn of coffee that takes 30 minutes to brew, when what you really need is a Keurig pod, and coffee in 20 seconds.
While the 50 questions may all be insightful, helpful, and interesting (or not), this phenomenon can lead to surveys that take longer than 20 minutes to complete. Participants will struggle to finish the survey, which can lead to survey death. For many research participants, particularly in B2B settings, it is much more palatable to spend five minutes once a month for four months rather than 20 minutes at one time. For this reason, we recommend doling out questions K-Cup style, rather than urn-style.
When you’ve already collected that information
Occasionally, clients will ask us to conduct a research study, and we will happily point out that we already have the information they need from other research that we’ve conducted on their behalf. In most cases, this information was collected during qualitative conversations with custom panel members, where the topic was mentioned in open-ended discussions.
As many of you know, CSR has a proprietary content coding tool which enables us to efficiently tag and warehouse complex ideas (concepts that resist keyword searches) across multiple, often multiple years’ worth, of studies for our clients who have worked with us for that long. Like the rush one receives after that first gulp of coffee in the morning, wouldn’t it be wonderful to realize that you already have the information you need on hand? Warehouse your data, as you should stockpile your coffee, and this too, could happen to you.
Here’s the Twist: Coffee is good. Research is good. Sometimes a lot of either is too much. With that, we wish you happy researching. Gentlemen (and ladies), start your coffee makers!
Mixology (Putting Research into Practice)
Here are some handy tips for DE-caffeinating your research:
- Surveys after some transactions: Rather than after all customer transactions, select a set of circumstances when surveys will be sent, for example, after a service call of a specific, pre-determined nature has been made. Your customers will thank you.
- “Bite sized” surveys: In the case of surveys (and virtually nothing else), smaller is often better.
- Maintain a data warehouse: Call us!
A team of us from CSR attended the Quirk’s market research conference in Brooklyn a mere five weeks ago (it feels so much longer given everything that has transpired since)! Thanks to all of you who met (and even caffeinated) with us!
The Center for Strategy Research, Inc. (CSR) is a research firm. The “Twist” to what we offer is this: We combine open-ended questioning with our proprietary technology to create quantifiable data. As a result our clients gain more actionable and valuable insights from their research efforts.