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It’s the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere! Spring represents more than just warmer weather. It represents new life and new beginnings. In my opinion, this season of new beginnings is a perfect time for Market Research agencies to evaluate their business. Are your profits growing like the spring flowers? Are new opportunities emerging from hibernation?

Researchers today are in a tricky position. Clients are demanding more - faster. To grow your research business effectively you need to pull out all the stops! That means you should be constantly looking for new ways to improve in business and streamline operations. Increasing automation is the best way to accomplish both of these objectives.

While we all understand the basic concept of automation, it is a rather abstract term for the most part. So for the sake of clarity, let’s first define it. Automation, for our purposes, is the process of using technology to execute or carry out well-defined and repetitive tasks.

In using technology to automate such tasks, researchers are able to deliver faster, handle higher volumes, and simply be more efficient across their operations. All this opens the door to more opportunities that can result in higher revenue. It’s a win-win. But it begs the question, what else can we possibly automate?

I recently did a webinar on just this topic and while I recommend you watch the full webinar (you can find the link at the bottom of this blog), I thought this post may serve as a great way to whet your appetite on the subject. So, let’s look at a few great opportunities in automation that you may not be leveraging today.

  • Automatically trigger surveys based on respondent location: GPS location and beacon technology have made it possible to deliver in-the-moment surveys to respondents based on their location. For many research companies this is a game changer! This means real-time, in-the-moment data collection streamlines survey delivery, is more timely and meaningful for the respondent, and improves the accuracy of the feedback you’re collecting. [Learn more about Location Triggered Surveys]
  • Automatically categorize and analyze sentiment from respondents’ free text comments: The deepest insights often lie hidden in unstructured, freeform content stored within open-ended survey responses, internal business systems, and scattered across the Internet. Text Analytics technology helps you automate the review, categorization, and sentiment analysis of text and draw deep meaning from unstructured content. [Learn more about Text Analytics]
  • Automatically encourage respondents to provide meaningful detail in open-ended responses: Getting respondents to provide meaningful detail in their open end responses can be a challenge. But there is an automated solution. Confirmit’s Dynamic Open Text question type automatically encourages respondents to provide deeper detail and more meaningful open-end responses in two ways. First, from a quantitative perspective, the open text field is coupled with a color coded status bar that measures the quantity of text typed – gently encouraging the respondent to provide more details. Next, this question type encourages respondents to provide higher quality responses by real-time automatic identification of key words within the text. The respondents are then presented with additional follow up questions asking for more details related to their entry. [Learn more about Dynamic Open Text]
  • Automatically analyze data and deliver your clients’ reports: Studies have shown that researchers dedicate nearly 20% of their total working time to manual tasks for analysis and reporting. While that may not seem too terrible on the surface, consider this: By the time you deliver that report to your clients in that lovely PowerPoint you spent hours creating, that stagnant data may have already gone stale. Imagine instead, analyzing data with the click of a button then automatically delivering real-time, highly visualized reports to your clients through a shared dashboard or portal. This can be a reality today! [Learn more about Analysis & Reporting]

The best part is that these automation techniques only scratch the surface. There are so many areas of your business that can be automated leaving your team open and available to take care of the things that only a human can do. If you want to learn more about this topic, I highly recommend that you watch the webinar. It’s short - only 30 minutes - but explains these topics in more detail, provides some great use cases, and explores “what’s next” in research automation.

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