Are you asking the right questions in your market research?
Eliciting information from market research projects is not always easy. In many cases, you may only have a matter of seconds to establish trust with a prospect and ask a series of important questions. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to optimize your conversations with prospects to secure honest, useful information. Below are six tips to help you get more information from market research prospects.
1) Let the prospect know how long the survey should take
Today’s consumers are always on the go and many will have limited time to participate in a survey. Accordingly, one of the most important steps you can take when conducting market research is to let prospects know right away approximately how long the survey will last. There are several ways you can convey this point in a way that encourages the prospect to participate. Here are a few examples:
“Would you have time to take a short survey about Moonlight Restaurant? Most people can answer the questions in about two minutes.””Do you have about two minutes to answer five short questions about your recent experience at Moonlight Restaurant?””We would like to ask you five short questions about your experience at Moonlight Restaurant. Do you have about two minutes to help us?”
2) Start your survey with simple, non-threatening questions
If you plan to ask about any topics that could be considered sensitive in nature, do not kick off your survey with the questions about those items. It is best to ease into them by first asking the less threatening questions. For instance, if you would like to know if consumers 18 or older purchase condoms while shopping at Target, you may order your questions like this:
- “Are you 18 years of age or older?”
- “Have you ever shopped at Target?”
- “If you do shop at Target, have you ever purchased any sexual health products there?”
- “If you answered ‘Yes’ to the previous question, did your purchase every include condoms?”
3) Use a series of short related questions to provide data on a larger topic
Assessing the prospect’s overall level of satisfaction with a product or service is more complicated than it may seem at first glance. For example, if you are calling to find out about a patron’s experience with a restaurant, it will be difficult to gather actionable feedback with just a single question. You could ask patrons to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 10, but a rating of a 3 would be useless to you unless you know whether the low rating was due to the poor quality food, poor quality service, or combination of the two. You can avoid this pitfall by asking a series of several questions such as these:
- “Using a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the overall quality of your service at Moonlight Restaurant?”
- “Using a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the overall quality of your food at Moonlight?”
- “Using a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the restaurant’s atmosphere?”
- “Using a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the value of your meal at Moonlight?”
- “Using a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being highly likely and 1 being highly unlikely, how likely is it that you will return to the restaurant?”
4) Avoid asking double-barreled questions
Double-barreled questions are popular in everyday conversation. They ask a person to provide a single response to a question that references two distinct issues. Common examples include, “Would you like to be tall and gorgeous?” and, “Do you love Christmas and New Year’s Eve?”. These questions are somewhat useful during a casual conversation in the sense that they may provide clues about whether a person values external beauty or loves the winter holidays.
However, they are not as useful in the market research industry because they do not help you identify which of the two issues referenced in the question is the driving factor in the person’s response. For instance, if a person answers “Yes” to the question about loving Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it is entirely possible that the respondent may have answered “Yes” to the question because she loves Christmas so much – even though she feels rather ambivalent about New Year’s Eve.
5) Refrain from using leading questions
The wording you choose for your survey questions should be neutral as opposed to biased or leading. Using leading questions in your telephone surveys can sway respondent feedback, thereby negating the results you obtain. Here is an example of a leading question, along with a suggested alternative:
- Leading question: “Should concerned parents take their children to receive immunization shots?” Suggested alternative: “Do you think parents should be required to immunize their children?”
Here is another example with a suggested alternative:
- Leading question: “How beautiful is the governor’s new home on a scale from 1 to 10?” Suggested alternative: “Using a scale of 1 to 10, please rate the appearance of the governor’s new home.”
6) Ask for ways that you can improve your survey
Asking for feedback from survey respondents accomplishes three important goals: First, it shows respondents that you value their thoughts and opinions. Second, you may gain valuable insight that can help you tweak your questions or survey design to obtain more useful results in the future. And third, you close out the survey on a positive note, demonstrating that your organization is committed to the quality improvement process.
What is the single best way to optimize conversations with prospects?
By following the steps above, you can improve your likelihood of eliciting useful information from prospects. However, the single best way to make the most of your outreach efforts is to seek the guidance of a leader in the market research industry. With the help of an experienced market research provider, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that trained specialists are contacting prospects to obtain the valuable information that you need.
We invite you to contact us at Precision Opinion to discover why our quantitative data collection is the nation’s most trusted provider of market research services. With over 900 specialty-trained research associates and 650 CATI stations, we have the tools and resources to help your business thrive.
We look forward to showing you how professional market research can take your company to the next level of success!