Hold That Moment: The Magic of Qualitative Research

Martine Leroy | 4th December 2014

 

We all like collecting things. After many years as a qualitative research moderator, I am the proud owner of ‘collector moments’. Qualitative interviews and focus groups are designed to tease out customers’ beliefs, attitudes and motivations that underpin their behaviours. So as to achieve this, qualitative researchers strive to make respondents comfortable and to engage them. Overall, I would say that we are pretty good at doing just that. But over time, I have found the real magic of qualitative research in collector moments, when the opportunity for a truly emotive connection between moderator and respondent arises and, carpe diem, the opportunity is seized to foster discussions that go beyond the brief.

Once, a respondent asked me, "May I borrow your glasses please?" I immediately gave him my glasses – non-prescription magnifying glasses only, for readers keen on the details! My respondent had said little and had looked unengaged until then, as we had been going through communication materials. His expression and body language changed, and we engaged in a rich and friendly discussion, occasionally sharing a laugh. The rest is history, including my bright and shiny new pair of glasses, since he had walked out with mine – yes, unintentionally if you ask.

I also once had to gently talk a respondent out of a semi-hypnotic state, as my voice had guided him through a projective exercise to explore his emotive brand perceptions. We found his experience surprising and intriguing and as we shared his feelings, our rapport changed and we proceeded to a rich discussion that opened further avenues to explore. I also remember ordering two respondents out of the room as their verbal disagreement dangerously descended into aggressive verbal fighting, and that scary moment when a focus group participant rescued another from choking on cocoa powder from a piece of chocolate cake that he had just eaten. On both occasions, the unexpected negative eventually fostered positive and emotive dynamics in the rooms, which in turn gave a new dimension to our ensuing discussions.

Holding that moment

The overall goal of qualitative research is to support the shaping and refining of products and services that align the brand with customers’ needs. Qualitative research is about giving marketers fresh perspectives or insights into our mental models and behaviours. As a qualitative researcher, my goal is to uncover those nuggets of insights that give marketers clear directions for developing excellent and differentiating customer experience. But my collector moments also remind me to be ready and open to the opportunities to go beyond the brief, and to establish deeper connections with customers during the short time we spend together and whenever the opportunity arises.

As a qualitative researcher in healthcare, I have had many discussions with different healthcare stakeholders. I have seen how brand managers and healthcare marketers can use the qualitative insights so as they can contribute to turn the unwelcome experience of illness into a supportive and engaging chain of positivity across key stakeholders. Call me an idealist:

When I can find and hold those collector moments to help them achieve this, then my goal is met and magnified. I could not find a better outcome to my interest in qualitative customer research.

If you’d like to find out more about customer research for excellence in customer experience, reach out via email or give us a call on +44 (0)203 328 1840.

Culture cannot be global - Blue Latitude Health

Culture cannot be global: doing business outside your comfort zone

Dorottya Okros | 12th April 2017

Cultural context is everything when you’re working with teams from a different background to your own. Senior Associate UX Researcher Dorottya Okros talks through the common communication and negotiation pitfalls of working with Eastern Europe and the CIS for British presenters.

read more

channeling-your-inner-disruptor-kid-screaming-microphone

Channelling your inner disruptor

Jenna Earl | 5th April 2017

Channel strategy has long been a hot topic for pharma and is often regarded as the answer to many of today’s marketing challenges. Head of Brand Strategy Jenna Earl discusses these challenges faced by pharmaceutical marketers today, and if channel disruption is really the answer.

read more

Introducing_orello_Janssen

Using service design to improve patients’ quality of life

Eimear Power | 29th March 2017

Customer Experience Consultant Eimear Power talks through the process of developing Orello, a service for metastatic prostate cancer patients and their loved ones, in collaboration with Janssen.

read more