Thought Leadership

In-House Research Is Great, But What Happens When Your Project Hits a Roadblock?

February 5, 2021
In-House Research Is Great, But What Happens When Your Project Hits a Roadblock?

As technology has allowed businesses to bring their research initiatives in-house, new challenges are emerging. While taking on your own research projects is less expensive than bringing in an external research company, what happens if you hit a roadblock? Engaging a research company at that point would be too costly—and the research company would likely only take on the business if they could take over the entire project, right?

At Escalent, we have a different perspective. We respect your initiative and your ability to carry your project through. But we’ve seen many companies that hit a snag somewhere in the middle of the process, and need help getting their project back on track. That’s why we offer right-sized partnering. We make it easy by setting up a retainer agreement so we can step in, assess and correct the issue that’s blocking your progress, and then step back and let you finish your project.

Here are three areas where we’ve seen clients struggle, and how we can help keep projects moving in the right direction.

Get started with the right tools and information

When it comes to gathering information from clients, it can be challenging to get exactly what you need. A little training can go a long way to get your research off the ground and make sure you’re ready to navigate the process. We can coach your team on how to listen to clients, collect information, avoid taking the offensive, and take action only after your client’s voice has been heard.

Case study: A major tech company felt their product planning team wasn’t close enough to their customers to understand their needs. Because team members weren’t trained on how to effectively communicate with customers, they would dive into technical conversations without taking the time to listen to clients. Escalent was brought in to help prepare the team for this new task, moderating qualitative interviews to encourage dialogue. (Read how we are managing qualitative research during the pandemic.)

As a result, the company’s product planning team had much more open conversations with clients, and learned to gather feedback without becoming defensive. This allowed for stronger connections and more productive relationships—ultimately leading to better service and stronger loyalty.

Engage clients at a deeper level for real insight

The most effective case studies start with uncovering the client’s story. But getting clients to open up isn’t easy. We can help you make the one-to-one connections that get conversations started. For example, we can assist with moderating and interviewing clients to draw out the most relevant information and more compelling stories.

Case study: A major technology company was building video case studies and needed the participants to be at ease in front of the camera so they could tell a compelling story. Because we knew the audience and topic so well, we stepped in to help participants feel comfortable enough to tell their story.

We used our moderation skills to open up participants and draw out not only emotion and passion, but facts as well. This resulted in videos that created a deeper connection with the subjects and subject matter, drawing viewers into the story and creating more compelling, convincing case studies.

Write effective questionnaires

Using a self-service platform to develop your questionnaires can be a great tool. However, you might still struggle with figuring out your questions and what the answers actually mean, or cleaning up and analyzing your data.

Here are some guidelines when writing questions:

  • Use terms your audience would understand and avoid jargon
  • Write clear, concise questions that can only be interpreted one way
  • Provide response options that are mutually exclusive and lead to a clear and accurate interpretation
  • Avoid asking about the same topic over multiple overlapping questions, causing respondents to lose interest (or even quit the survey)

We can provide training and coaching to help you better understand how you should structure your questionnaire, which language to use, how to incorporate instructions, and how to use survey platforms. On the data side, we can train you on what to do if you’re not getting the quality data you expect.

Your Business, Your Choice

These are just a few examples of where we see clients getting stuck, and where we can help. If you’re struggling with a research project that you’ve launched and don’t know where to go, send us a note and we’ll help you move that obstacle out of your way.

Originally published February 21, 2020. Last updated February 5, 2021.

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Janice Anderson, Vice President
Janice Anderson
Vice President

Janice Anderson is a former vice president in the Technology division of Escalent.