One of the best ways to explore new ideas or aspects of your brand or business is through qualitative research.
Qualitative research is a research method that focuses on learning through open-ended and conversational communication. It focuses on “what” people think and “why.”
This type of research can provide input and direction to help evolve your brand or business. It’s the perfect way to learn from your customers about what they think of you, your business or the services you provide.
Qualitative research is usually done through in-depth one-on-one interviews or focus groups by a third-party. However, you can do your own interviews, if you can remain neutral throughout the interview. Focus groups are better left to trained facilitators.
If you decide to conduct your interviews on your own, here are some tips to make them effective.
Understand your objectives
Map out your objectives in advance so you’re clear on what you’re hoping to learn. For example, what are your customers’ views on your products, services or your brand.
Keep it short
One-on-one interviews should be short, no more than 15 to 20 minutes. You can do this over the phone or in person. But, remember, you’re looking for answers and input on your business, so be careful not to lead the conversation.
Identify your target
Who will participate in your survey and how will you reach them – by phone or in person?
Structure your interview
Start with an explanation of what the interview is all about and how it will help you. Then, ask open-ended questions so you collect feedback you can use. Remember to ask your customers first, if they’re willing to participate.
If the responses lead to an area you’d like to explore further, ask follow-up questions to dig deeper.
Once the research is done, look for common themes and trends in the information you’ve gathered. This is where you’ll want to focus your time. For example, if there’s consistent feedback about the waiting time for a service call, you might consider making changes to the way you schedule work, or maybe it’s time to expand your team. Consider how each piece of feedback impacts your business growth.
Want to add a nice touch when you’re done? Send a note of thanks and let your customers know their input made a difference.
Give it a go. Who knows, if you make a big enough change, this might provide good content for a promotion or social campaign!