Research 101: Treating Respondents Well

Every good marketer and researcher knows how important it is to treat clients, consumers, and research participants well, to show them respect in order to gain their trust in your brand.

We know this, but how often do we really truly practice it? There are times that we all find ourselves going the easier route in order to get our jobs done--the easy route that could impact how we indirectly treat the person at the end of our line. As long as we are thinking of our customers as a set of numbers or as simplified personas, it is easier for us to forget the human beings that our brand is interacting with.

Ted, the founder of TripleScoop, spent many years on the client-side of research and saw his fair share of awful market research studies. Most of the stuff was horrible in the treatment of its respondents--an abuse of a non-renewable resource. (In fact, in 2014, we made a really cheesy video re-enacting a phone survey that was particularly horrific.) Since this experience was many years ago, before he started TripleScoop, Ted set out to make the respondent experience better, creating the first founding philosophy behind TripleScoop. He found that as he tapped into the human side of research, as he treated respondents with respect not only in tone but in the design of his research, he was able to get better insights. His goal then stepped into leveraging technology and innovative ideas to develop his own methods to better engage our human respondents and drive more honest and action-driven insights.

Here are some ways we keep Respondent Friendly Research in practice every day:

“What does it look like from the respondent’s perspective?”

We test our surveys in-house, with the humans that work here. We avoid using automated testing, or looking just at the data results: We run through our surveys repeatedly so that we know what it looks like for all sorts of people. It’s important to us to examine the language we use, see how personable we look on their side and make sure that we are as inclusive as possible with all of our multiple choice questions.

Treat research as a Brand Interaction

Length of surveys is a big debate here at TripleScoop. From a client’s perspective, a survey may seem too short, not covering all the millions of questions they have, but for the consumer taking it, it is the longest thing they have ever done in their life. Finding the balance between thorough and brief is very important, especially since we know that consumers will associate their experience with your survey as an experience with your brand. A survey experience is just as crucial as an experience with your product or in your store.

Understand them and show it

Before getting into research on any given project, you already know a little bit about who you are targeting. Within your study, show them that! Your tone, questions, and moderated responses should reflect that you know who you are talking to.The format of your study should also fit into their lives. For example, if you are looking to survey busy parents, don’t make them stare at their desktop for 45 minutes to answer your questions: instead opt for mobile-friendly and short, finding a platform that lets them continue a survey after being interrupted by their kid scoring their first goal.

Show Gratitude

Positive reinforcement really comes into play with respondents. The more you show your gratitude for their participation, the better they will continue to respond. This is a little difficult to do in surveys, where often the best solution is a little bit of monetary compensation. For qual projects, however, where you are talking to them and building a rapport, saying thank you every step of the way is essential.

As we show our humanity as researchers in the way we treat all those we interact with, we can have a huge impact on our insights. The honesty and respect we receive in return for our own courtesy boosts our ability to make the best business decisions--not to mention, it makes us feel really good too.