Summer is a time of year when everyone slows down and business slows down. For the research data collection industry, nothing is truer! Vacations, nice weather and weekends at the beach all make the already difficult respondent even more difficult to reach. So how are we to maximize our resources and manage our time more effectively to get projects completed? The following is meant to provide some practical ideas for making the most out of the summer months and assist in getting those research projects completed.
Weather – Weather is a big factor in determining if people are outside enjoying the sunshine or home sheltering from the rain. Knowing the markets you are calling into and checking the weather forecasts daily when calling on the weekend is a quick and easy way to help hedge your bets that people may be inside. I understand this is not always practice when planning shifts but should be factor whenever possible.
Type of projects – The type of projects you take on can greatly assist your productivity. Web projects are easy to deploy and do not require costly interviewer time. If at all possible, try and take on web projects more during the summer month. The reality is that even during their vacations, people can become bored and look for something to pass the time. A quick and relevant web survey coming down on their mobile device may catch their eye!
All businesses need to keep running during the summer months. A healthy mix of business to business interviewing in addition to consumer research is another way to ensure respondents are available and you are making money.
Incentives– When you do catch people, and the budget allows, offering local fun summer incentives are another way to increase your response rates. Offering a family pass to a local water park for example may just do the trick of turning a “no” into a “yes” when interviewing a parent about their spending habits at the local grocery store. Know your target respondent and know the areas you are calling into in order to reach them. A little bit of planning with the client will always help in getting better results!
Your Own Interviewers – Another way to increase productivity on a project is incenting from within. Offer your interviews summer based incentives during the summer months to see increased productivity. Paid days off on nice days or a get out of your shift 2 hours early with pay are some quick and easy ways to use the summer to your advantage. Who doesn’t want paid time off? Again, the idea of using local summer attractions with passes to the local fairgrounds, for example, for the interviewer who gets the most completes on a project.
Planning shifts – Keeping on topic with interviewers, planning shifts to accommodate slower or down times, try shortening shifts. Even an hour or two a day, when response rates are down or contact rates are low, make a huge difference on a project budget. Keep your interviewers on call as well if response rates and contact rates are particularly high during a shift, and provided you have the capacity, you can even call in extra interviewers to maximize the opportunity.
If you have other ideas or approaches you have used or can think of, please share!
I welcome your thoughts and comments. Do not hesitate to post your thoughts below and I will respond. You can also contact me at Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jason McGrath