When deciding to move forward with a market research study, one of the first decisions to be made is who should be included to fillthe study. Sometimes companies make the assumption that only customers need to participate, and therefore recruiting should be a breeze.
We have a few responses to this assumption. First, the scope of the study will determine if it’s appropriate to include only existing customers, a random sampling from the general population, or a mix of the two. Second, even if you’re recruiting from an existing customer database doesn’t mean that recruiting will be any easier.
Finding potential study participants is only half of the job of the recruiter. The other half involves managing schedules, handling no-shows, and paying incentives for completed participation. Multiply this across multiple participants and it is quickly evident why qualitative research companies outsource recruiting to nationwide research recruiters.
Let’s take a look at when it makes sense to recruit your own customers. In next week’s blog we’ll explore when you should recruit external participants.
When to recruit from your own customer database
- If your research study requires familiarity and/or a comprehensive understanding or experience with your product or service
- You’re upgrading or updating an existing product or service
- You’re upgrading or changing usability functions and want to test the changes with customers familiar with your existing platform
- You want to probe the limits of loyalty from existing customers (for example, how much can you raise prices before your customers look for alternatives.)
If recruiting from your own customer database makes sense for the objective of your study, then you’re well on your way down the recruiting road. Keep in mind that just because you have a loyal customer base doesn’t mean they want to participate in a market research study. Recruiting still requires sensitivity and knowing how to sort through your database so you end up with a group of participants that meets the demographic and psychographic parameters of your study.
Another pro-tip when recruiting from a customer database is you’ll still need to offer some sort of incentive to encourage participation. Participants may respond to a discount for your product or service, but you can’t go wrong offering a cash incentive. Cash is king.
If your study includes recruiting from your customer database, you’re off to a good start with recruiting, but still a long ways off from the finish line. A screening guide when sorting through potential candidates will help weed out the casual customer from the loyal customer, in addition to ensuring you recruit a representative cross-section of your customer base.