It means just that – customer service! Seems simple, right? Not necessarily…
The market research industry is constantly evolving and so are the needs of researchers. Researchers need to be able to act fast on their feet to meet their client’s expectations and as do the service providers who work with researchers. Whether you are a data collection firm or translation service provider, researchers need to know that they are being looked after from a service perspective. And how do we, as a supplier, know this? Quest has worked with many kinds of researchers and clients over the years that have communicated what they appreciate about Quest’s service approach. Lots of it is common sense but it does take a concerted team effort to maintain standards of customer service across the organization. How and what individuals do to help their clients needs to be an acknowledged aspect of your company culture.
Below are some qualities to consider when it comes to providing customer service to research clients:
The most important attributes, from our perspective, are Dependability and Trust. As a service provider, your reputation precedes you. Researchers are forced to rely on service providers for authentic data and they need to know that their providers can be trusted and relied upon to deliver in the time frame. You must handle the tasks at hand reliably; otherwise, you should not be handling them at all. We also view dependability as an important part of the bidding stage in market research projects. As a supplier, making a commitment on panelist availability and accurate estimates for feasibility is so important to our clients that we take extra measures – like routine updated training on internal systems and extra details during the discovery process – to ensure that we are completely aligned with expectations. An aggressive proactive approach to project set up allows us to rank high on dependability factor.
Clients do not expect you to respond to their requests at the drop of a hat. They understand that data suppliers are busier than ever during these times but what they do expect, is responsiveness. Every client has a different need when it comes to the timeliness of such responses but there is one thing for certain – they need a response! Unacknowledged requests are one of the quickest ways to take the
customer out of customer service. A quick email or phone call deepens the reliability factor of a supplier. Responsive behavior has allowed Quest to significantly enhance client relations particularly when it comes to the onboard of new clients with whom Quest needs to integrate survey links, programming and more. The linkage process between systems is routine for Quest but Researcher clients’ may need technical expertise to liase with Project Managers and ensure the survey redirects are working correctly with every intended variable captured to
satisfy both party requirements. Here is when a responsive team can become critical for short fielding windows.
Communication needs to be clear, concise and to the point, but it must never be robotic. Clients do not want to see the same, generic response to every request that they have. They also do not need a long, drawn-out response with 7 smiley face emojis – one will normally do the trick. For that reason, we place effective communication as a key contributor to customer service success. Quest clients are long-standing research experts often skilled across both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In short, they are as knowledgeable as they are keen to work with a provider that will give straightforward yet detailed answers about measures taken or solutions applied. Kind and prompt communication styles go a long way in preserving client relations.
Problem Solving Skills:
Online market research studies tend to run into problems on a daily basis. Given that there are many variables involved that need to align for a successful project, there always seem to be issues that pop up in either the survey programming, quota groupings, or target audience. As a service provider, it is imperative that these issues are addressed proactively and in a timely manner. You need to be able to spot potential issues before they happen— and when they do happen, you need to provide creative solutions to those issues in a timely manner. Problems are inevitable in market research, like many other industries, but how a service provider handles those problems is what keeps client loyalty intact. Customer service is a key component in almost every industry but in market research, it can be the difference between success and failure with service providers. Researchers need to trust that the data they are collecting is reliable, just like they need to trust their service providers in delivering on unique project needs. And quality customer service is a way of building that trust – just like data quality! Customer service can mean many different things to researchers, but it comes to our service providers, we strive to be the qualities mentioned above.