Business success often hinges on maintaining a competitive advantage through market feedback. Surveying your customers and prospects is an invaluable tool for gaining insights into their true wants and needs.  But there are countless hurdles with the potential to derail your project from the moment it’s conceptualized. Keeping your research projects within scope, on budget, and ensuring they’re delivered on time is a seemingly never-ending battle. 

That’s why partnering with market research professionals with both experience and expertise makes all the difference.

Why Your Projects Are Going off the Rails

Clear insights into what your customers are thinking and feeling is key to understanding market opportunities, improving products, spotting important trends, and taking action before those opportunities pass by.. Knowing what to market, who to market it to, and how best to reach them is becoming more challenging in a world where there is so much noise in the marketplace. And with tight budgets and short deadlines, gathering accurate consumer data on budget, within scope, and on time is become more difficult.

Phone survey response rates are at an all-time low, and this is a trend that seems destined to continue. 

  • Consumers are increasingly wary of answering the phone and landlines are all but a myth amongst the youth.

  • People are incredibly dubious about providing personal information, even in the form of opinions or insights.

  • And thanks to the growing number of spam and scam phone calls, as well as robocalling techniques, even those most obliging of survey respondents have become guarded and resistant to picking up calls. 

Online surveys were once welcomed as the answers to these phone survey woes, but it quickly became apparent to data collection companies that even these were unreliable. Plagued with scammers, professional survey takers, or bots, most online surveys also fail to collect data from the consumers you want to hear from.

Plagued with scammers, professional survey takers, or bots, most online surveys also fail to collect data from the consumers you want to hear from.

A less trusting and less accessible public means collecting data from people who actually use or could benefit from your products or services is becoming harder, and the chance of gathering skewed or inaccurate insights is becoming greater.

For your research projects, this means the time and resources needed to complete a survey is growing, the time it takes to meet quotas properly is rising, and budgets are often blown out of all proportion. Nevertheless, the speed of doing business these days means there is still constant pressure to do things more quickly and with fewer resources.

How NOT to Conduct a Great Phone Survey

With less trusting, less accessible audiences to tackle, making the most of every contact is a must. But designing and executing great surveys is just as much art as science, and requires the kind of skill, experience, and expertise very few data collection companies possess. If you’re wondering why your last survey went pear-shaped in terms of budget, scope, and deadlines, it’s likely you (or your research partner) fell victim to some common pitfalls. These include:


Poor survey design Poor survey design: Many surveys fail at the outset because of poor survey design and construction. From leading question wordings to a lack of logical screening (to make sure your respondent is qualified) to asking questions that are redundant, irrelevant or too narrow/too broad – a lack of proper survey planning, even with the most responsive of audiences, means your data may not be valid or accurate.
Poor respondent screening/targeting Poor respondent screening/targeting: Not properly screening survey respondents can lead to wasting time on people who are either not the target audience for your product or service or even surveying people who aren’t who they say they are, which can be catastrophic for your results. Only experts in the field understand how to adequately screen respondents to disregard those not suited to your project
Poor survey introduction Poor survey introduction: Phone survey introductions that are too wordy, don’t match the customer being surveyed, or are not upfront about their purpose, are likely to end in disconnection at best, and inaccurate and meaningless data at worst.
Poor personnel Poor personnel: Unfortunately, recruitment and staffing of projects with adequately experienced and trained personnel is back-of-mind for many data collection companies. Matching the personnel used to the type of study being conducted, ensuring fluency and pronunciation are not issues (including employing bilingual staff where appropriate), and investing in appropriate training of personnel is crucial. Your surveys are only as good as the people conducting them.
Poor timing Poor timing: If experience shows that surveying consumers about healthcare yields the best results between 4 pm and 7 pm, conducting phone surveys outside of these hours is going to compromise efficiency, your budget and potentially the quality of your results. Despite this, many data collection agencies fail to take timing, including time zones, into account. Knowing which demographics to target and when to target them is Conducting Successful Survey Projects 101.


How to Find the Right Insights Partner

The extensive list of potential snags in your research project above might lead you to believe that even the most respected survey platforms are doomed to disappoint. Nothing could be further from the truth. Collecting data you can trust comes down to partnering with an expert vendor who can address these hurdles and has developed a mix of tried-and-tested strategies and cutting-edge methodologies to overcome them. Having a frank and open conversation with your potential vendor will help you to reveal where their expertise lies and whether or not they’re the best fit for your projects – preferably, for years to come.

Here are some of the questions you should have for potential market research vendor partners:

What is your experience?

Experienced and expert market research firms should be able to demonstrate:

  •       Multiple capabilities (qualitative and quantitative analysis, for example)

Mixed methodologies (telephone + online data collection modes for example)

  •       Project management expertise
  •       Qualified survey designers
  •       Experience in designing the right screening mechanism to get to the right respondent 
  •       The know-how to gain cooperation and maximize response rates  
  •       Broad vertical experience (healthcare, financial services, consumer goods, political polling, etc.)

What type of technologies do you utilize?

Employing a mix of traditional methodologies and emerging, cutting-edge technologies is the hallmark of an expert market research team. The technologies we have developed at Ironwood Insights include:

  • Real-time portal access - all information related to each project available in one centralized repository and dashboard
  • Forecasting and scheduling of work, reports, productivity measurements, and search functionality
  • Respondent quality authentication (bot prevention), de-duping
  • Quality control on survey programming - checks for spelling, grammar, and punctuation (without the need to pull excel data)

By combining time-honored practices and modern technologies, Ironwood Insights offers research solutions that deliver clear data to drive business action. Our innovations in technology paired with our many years of experience help you to maximize survey responses and data quality, save time in scheduling work and planning field instructions, and maintain quality control throughout the process – to save both time and money across the whole project.

For expert advice and industry best practices in your next project, look no further than Ironwood Insights.
Get in touch with our team today to find out more.

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