How Not To Do Customer Research

We do quite a bit of customer and employee research here at Working Pathways. From in-depth 1-on-1, deep dive, interviews to quick email surveys to observational studies – our expertise runs the gamut. Whatever the study, each participant involved is 1. screened and qualified and 2. receives some level of compensation for their time and insight.

With that in mind, here’s how not to conduct a customer research telephone study:

  1. Don’t tell recruits who’s sponsoring the study. That’ll just skew the data and hey, why do participants need to know anyway?
  2. Don’t tell recruits why you’ve called them. That’ll skew the data also, say ‘satisfaction with products you may or may not have used’.
  3. Don’t tell recruits how long the interview will last. Participant’s time isn’t valuable, we can use as much of it as we’d like.
  4. Don’t compensate them. They should be happy just talking to us.
  5. Be surprised when nobody wants to talk with you.

In our experience, the most insightful research comes from passionate customer, they want to share their experiences with your products. You won’t get the valuable stories through a dispassionate qualitative satisfaction survey on products they haven’t used. They only come out when you respect your customers and consider your time with them a business appointment – pre-scheduled on both parties calendars. Like a business appointment, in this mode – one party compensates the other for the interaction.

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