Market research has evolved its techniques over years, but at its core, it’s still guided by a simple question: Do the people you talk to trust you?
In the 1960s, market researchers working for major brands had to go door to door, with survey booklets in their hands, to write down everything that their customers desire, to understand the motivation behind thei buying decisions. So why customers were willing to open their door and talked to thos researchers? Because they trusted them.
Nowadays, in a more devided and cynical world, where spams clog email inboxes and fake news around – getting people to participate in market research is a more complex work. According to a June poll by the Global Research Business Network, just 34% of respondents from around the world said they personally trusted market research companies — about the same level of trust found in government.
So how do we get back to a position of trust? Consider these strategies:
- Speak your customer’s language
Speaking your customer’s language means paying attention to tone and voice. Are you overly technical in your communications where a straightforward approach would be much more effective? If your audience is technical, allow yourself to take on that voice. If you are an IT company and need to speak directly to the C-suite, you had better make the business case and speak to business ROI.
Speaking your customer’s language also means not hitting them with a barrage of industry-speak in an attempt to look smart. Don’t let your message get lost in a sea of buzzwords or technical jargon. You will earn the trust of your audience when you can communicate with them the same way that they communicate with each other.
Especially if you do branded research, the language you use – even the emojis you pick, for the kind of research we do at Rival – has to line up with the brand you are working with.
And to better understand your customer’s language, here are some tips: Make your communications relevant to their needs, track customers on social media to see their most used words, join LinkedIn groups pertinent to your customer’s industry, broaden your knowledge by reading your customer’’s industry blog.
- Establish clear expectations upfront
The most important thing you can do is to establish expectations for your customers. You can assk yourself questions like: How much time do you need with them? What topics will you be covering? If you’re asking them to be part of a mobile community for ongoing research, how often will you be reaching out to them? And what will you be doing with their data?
It is impossible to build mutually clear expectations with customers if you haven’t defined your expectations. If you can’t clearly articulate them verbally or on paper, you aren’t ready to share them with customers. “I’ll know it when I see it” isn’t a clear expectation.
And remember that customer’s data is particularly important. Recent researches show that most customers wil leave a brand is they find out that their data is being used without their consent.
- Offer a consistent brand experience
Brand consistency is the practice of always delivering messages aligned with the core brand values in the same tone, presenting the brand logo in a similar way, and repeating the same colors throughout your visual brand elements. Over time, these elements become ingrained in the minds of consumers, and they’re more likely to remember your brand.
But, consistency should be seen not just in how you deal with research subjects but also how you represent the brand. One of my worst experiences was with a travel agency. Everything was great until I received the customer survey, and it was a nightmare. I was trapped for a long tim on an barely readable microsite, answering long questions. Ofcourse I felt angry with the brand. The company simply didn’t realize that the survey experience was an extension of their brand—and not a good one.
We need to realize that trust isn’t something that is bestowed upon us as researchers: We have to go out there and earn it — and keep earning it.