By April 10, 2020 No Comments

What happens when face-to-face research can no longer be face-to-face?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the world and business, we’ve had to think of some creative ways to help out clients adapt their research methods. Over the last few weeks we’ve seen the research community come together and support each other in some incredible ways. In the spirit of partnership, we decided to share our experiences with two recent studies, in the hopes that our fellow researchers may find it helpful, interesting, or even provide a little bit of welcome distraction.

Shifting Strategies for Multicultural Recruiting

If you’re familiar with Q-insights, you may know that we are known for our multicultural intercept work. Our tagline for many years has been, “Think Outside the Mall.” We’ve been successful with recruiting multicultural groups like Asian, African, and Hispanic Americans by sending interviewers to the places these audiences frequent. One of our clients, a major auto manufacturer, has relied on us for years to intercept an Asian American audience to help them gather feedback on their ad campaigns. We would go to places like Chinatown, Korean markets, bakeries or churches.

With coronavirus basically eliminating foot traffic all together, and not wanting to put our interviewers at risk, we could no longer rely on face-to-face intercepts for recruiting. With our client still relying on us to supply our monthly quota of 85 Asian respondents, we had to present them with an alternative. We had used phone to web recruiting in the past for other clients and thought this project might be a good fit for that methodology.

Our client approved the change, and then we had to quickly adapt our survey instruments knowing that the interviewers could no longer complete the initial screener for the respondent. We adapted our process for phone to web, while still maintaining our “white glove” handling approach by emailing respondents the survey link and staying on the phone with them to guide them through the process while they completed the screener. Once the respondent makes it to the main questionnaire portion, the interviewer drops off and the respondent self-completes on their own. We were able to successful achieve our Asian quota for this study using this strategy.

Driven to Succeed

One of our other long-term clients, a high-end luxury car manufacturer, has been using our services for years to help them develop their top tier product line. Previously, we would interview 50 people, a mix of luxury high-end car owner and intenders in a face-to-face interviewing format. With social distancing practices in place, and our offices suddenly closed we had to quickly move the interviews to an online platform.

The interviews were moved to a remote platform – Zoom, which allowed for a wider geographic spread of respondents. Respondents were able to complete the interview from the comfort of their home or office while still maintaining a personal connection with the interviewer. Our team of interviewers were able to schedule and complete all these interviews in less than two weeks.

Staying True to Our Strengths

Adapting our face-to-face intercept work was a challenge, because we didn’t want to lose the personalized, guided approach that had made us successful in the past. We had to become more flexible, and pivot, but without giving up our best asset – the human connection between the interviewer and the respondent.

Our number one goal is to keep our clients’ projects going strong through the pandemic. We will continue to seek out new ways to connect and engage with audiences in the challenging landscape we are all now facing. If you’d like to chat about projects, creative solutions, or even ways to stave off cabin fever, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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