Good intercept research. It’s harder than it looks.

Intercept interviewing is an all too often forgotten data collection strategy in today’s high-tech environment. But, this lost market research art form provides two very important and unique advantages. First of all, this data collection methodology has the ability to reach a highly targeted sample and be incredibly random at the same time. Second, intercept surveys offer a relatively unending supply of sample. You simply determine where your target population will be and go there to talk to them.

Sounds simple enough, so where could it go wrong? Execution. The execution can be challenging, especially for firms that do not do a lot of it or have the resources to be successful in executing the data collection. Here are some thoughts to consider when finding a good intercept researcher:

  • A firm that uses it’s own employees. The best intercept interviewers are those that are well selected, trained and supervised.  We’ve often asked, how can a research firm well train and supervise the intercept data collection process, if the intercept interviewers are sub-contractors or some other form of independent contractor?
  • Good intercept instrument construction. Far too often, researchers who do not collect their own data are usually disconnected from writing survey instruments with practical, in the field, experience.  Even the most experienced researchers can have trouble understanding what works and doesn’t work in the field.  If the intercept interviewers have trouble delivering the survey instrument to participants, the data, analysis, and eventual research insights can be misleading.
  • Well selected: A firm who knows the right characteristics that make for a great intercept interviewer. Not everyone can do this type of work.  Shy people, for example, have a tough time approaching someone in order to get them to participate in research.  Research firms who hire independent contractors, for example, usually have very few to pick from and then often have to take anyone — just to get the work done.  A good research firm will know how to hire the right people with the right personalities and characteristics who will collect good research data.
  • Well trained: Potential participants usually don’t want to participate. The best intercept interviewers are the always the best trained.  Good research firms know how to approach, hook, keep on the hook, and collect good data from rushed and weary participants.  Technique is a big part of good training and the effective use of role-playing during training can re-enforce and help intercept interviewers be much more successful.  If the intercept interviewers are successful, the researcher will be.
  • Well supervised: Intercept research is hard and grueling work.  Good employees must always be managed.  Management is a critical component and typically outside the traditional skill-set of the average researcher whose more used to working with computers and statistical software than people.  Effective supervision will also make sure that interviewing is consistent as possible among all interviewers thereby minimizing any potential interviewer biases.
  • Collect good data: You usually only get one chance at getting it right. Good intercept interviewers are the unsung heroes of successful intercept research.  The researcher may get all of the glory with his analysis, report and brilliant business insights, but the entire success rests on the team of intercept interviewers who collected quality data, the ‘voice of the customer’, one survey at a time.

As Oklahoma’s largest fieldwork team and the state’s most experienced researcher, we’re ready to help you deploy and execute your research needs to build the best market insights and, ultimately, your business.  For more information, please feel free to contact me at (405) 607-4664.