The need for flexibility is imperative in any business environment. In light of stay at home orders, and continued social distancing for the foreseeable future, our team has been asked about the future of research by researchers and moderators alike. Businesses still need testing, ethnographies, shopper insights, mock juries and more. With flexibility as a core value, here is how we are adapting to continually answer client needs and deliver superior service.
What are clients saying about changes to their budgets and timetables based on COVID-19 realities?
A variety of timetables and budgets have changed due to the pandemic. At Fieldwork, we can speak about the qualitative research industry in broad terms, because we serve clients across all verticals and across many professional roles, which allows us insight to the qualitative research industry. For example, we serve the medical industry as well as the entertainment sector and end-clients as well as consulting groups and research firms. We do have some clients pressing pause on projects that simply need to be conducted face-to-face, but most are looking for creative ways to still make their deadlines despite this business disruption.
While many firms were doing qualitative research online before this pandemic, many clients consulted with us about revisiting our online services supported by Fieldwork Webwork as a way to continue forward with their projects. We reviewed each client project individually and looked at adding virtual solutions along with innovative recruitment plans, streaming options or any of our many other services that might make for a smoother transition.
Clients voiced concerns about how our global staff would adapt to move timelines and even locations based on untimely outbreaks. Our strong partnership with local 3rd party teams 'on the ground' helped us quickly react to local situations and challenges. In this way, COVID-19 has proven to our clients that our project managers are creative and resourceful in unanticipated ways.
As we continue to monitor the situation throughout the globe, we're adapting to best serve our clients and move their projects forward. Many clients need new projects in-field in response to arising situations that demand a qualitative understanding of consumer sentiment. While some clients have paused older work, they are prioritizing new work in order to answer newly emerged questions pertinent to key business decisions. Others are simply ready to regroup on paused projects and move forward 'in research' to ensure they are not behind come Q3 and Q4.
What services at Fieldwork are not impacted by this new framework of living and working?
Our motto is “focus on the research; we'll do the rest,” and that means we offer a variety of services to meet our clients' needs. Although we were forced to press pause on in-person research for a time, our commitment to project management, recruiting and customer service have remained a constant.
While continually adjusting to the pandemic, we have been able to move forward by openly communicating, empathizing, and listening to our clients and their needs. Our client-centric project management, including daily recruiting updates and a single point of contact for all details, has not skipped a beat. For example, we are still communicating a full logistical itinerary to respondents; only now, that plan includes online log-in codes, technology updates, addressing interruptions in the home, and additional clarification in training techniques and confidentiality procedures at a more increased rate. While the way we prepare and execute on projects may have slightly changed, the way we handle all of the details has not.
Fieldwork’s online offerings, supported by Fieldwork Webwork, continue to offer our clients direct and personalized support. Even with increased demand, every online qualitative session requires tech support. We don’t give our clients technology and make them operate it. Just like they would come into our physical facility, we welcome them to the virtual facility. Our team preps respondents, clients and moderators alike for their virtual experience. We also don’t provide virtual focus groups without a technician on hand. This ensures everyone is comfortable with the technology, without the anxiety of having to troubleshoot.
How quickly can clients shift their face to face qualitative work to virtual focus groups?
While we can shift quickly, we want to make sure we’re helping our clients make the right pivots for their business. We like to consult and offer our expertise about how their particular desired outcomes can best be achieved. We do offer live demos and walk-throughs where they can see for themselves if using technology will be right for their purposes.
Our partnership doesn't end at the decision to try virtual focus groups. We handle logistics and project management during the entire research process, making sure the right recruits are where they need to be and all technology concerns are addressed in real-time.
What does Fieldwork offer outside of the traditional focus group?
Aside from Fieldwork Webwork, Fieldwork Network International has a global footprint to take your research to any destination around the globe. If a client has a field project in Nigeria, they may only ever do ONE study in Nigeria. They don't need to experience a sharp learning curve of new platforms and data collection customs or procedures because our global team handles the details allowing clients to focus.
What are the steps clients need to take to make this transition?
Because each clients' needs are unique, the best starting point is to contact us directly for detailed conversation or a personal, confidential demonstration. At Fieldwork, we want to address your needs on a one-on-one basis and take the time to understand your unique situation. Our goal is always to design a project around your expressed needs and specific circumstances.
Vice President of Corporate Services
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