I’ve been doing some research on market research panels and noticed the overwhelming number the the word “quality” appeared in articles and blog posts. This experience reminded me of doing customer satisfaction research for manufacturers and getting into long drawn out battles about why “price” and “quality” weren’t real reasons for buying and not buying because they were too ambiguous.
Opportunities for Quality inside the Market Research Process
Let me explain what I mean by “quality is ambiguous.” In the world of manufacturing quality isn’t a step — it runs throughout the process. When we measure quality — we’re actually measuring the quality of the customers’ experience with our process and our product or service. So quality happens at any stage of the process.
Here’s an example – Let’s say that you receive a catalog in the mail. The catalog has all kinds of products and as you leaf through it, you see something you like – you’re ready to order — but WAIT — there’s no phone number, no web site, NOTHING! Notice that this impacts the quality of your experience. You want to order, but something is missing that’s making it difficult or impossible for you to complete your task. In a way, it’s the same as if a button on your phone didn’t work – you set out to dial, but the quality of the part failed.
My point here is that quality is something that happens at many steps of the process.
Quality in market research
Let’s get back to quality in market research. I’m researching online survey panels and notice that (as expected) panel quality is a real concern. After all, when you purchase panel responses to do your branding research you are making the assumption that people are responding honestly to your survey. But what’s really nagging at you is whether the people who are responding are:
- really who they say they are
- responding because they care about the survey — or responding because they want to incentive