Not all business information is created equal. Some information sources are accurate and trustworthy, while others are misleading and can actually cause greater harm than good. Consequently, for small business owners trying to better understand their businesses and customers, informational quality should be a foremost concern.
Quality > Quantity
In market reseach, quantity does not always guarantee quality. And, clearly, quality control is of paramount importance for firms engaged in market research. Certain research practices have been shown to generate credible market and/or business data, that is, information businesses rely upon to sustain and grow them.
But what exactly does effective quality control look like? How can businesses know their market research investments are worthwhile and producing trustworthy results?
1. Human Eyes on Everything
There simply is no substitute for a team of human research professionals who carefully review data as it is received. Though a computer system can certainly enhance the research process, such systems lack the sensitivity, flexibility, and overall skill of human research analysts.
Having a dedicated team of quality control experts allows you to quickly detect any problems that might arise during the data collection process, meaning business owners can take full confidence in the results they receive. Simply stated, there is great advantage in placing human eyes on every piece of data collected.
2. Reliable Technology
Effective quality control encompasses cutting-edge tools such as timestamping and GPS positioning that allow business owners to know the exact time, date, and location of the responses they receive. Furthermore, it's often important to know the personal characteristics of respondents: details like age, gender, income, and shopping preferences, all of which allow owners to know precisely who is providing their information.
Through timestamping, GPS positioning, and other tools, business owners receive the exact information they need...from the exact places they need it.
3. Targeted Audience
A research project is only as good as its sample. And a business should be able to ask questions that pertain directly to its target audience and unique products.
While conducting a mystery shopper study of a local coffee company, Onyx Coffee Labs, the questions included, “How many coffee beverages do you drink in an average week?” and “As you anticipate your visit to Onyx Coffee Lab today, approximately how long do you think it will take to receive your order from the moment you walk through the door?”
Such questions helped the owners understand the background of respondents (i.e., their coffee-drinking experience), while also allowing them to see customers' expectations before they entered the store. As Jon, the owner of Onyx, commented:
“Knowing who we’re getting feedback from and how we’re getting feedback is pretty important.”
The quality control process should be timely. A business can’t effectively use data that takes too long to process.
Mobile technology enables the real-time collection of business information. Respondents are able to submit pictures, videos, and/or survey responses through their smartphones, which are then approved and displayed instantly. Our quality control team is often able to review and compile data within hours.
Information is powerful, but only if it's accurate and trustworthy. Effective quality control is the difference-maker.