Utilizing Remote Research During and Beyond COVID

As we are rounding the corner closing in on the end of 2020, this is obviously a year we will never forget. With the onset of COVID-19, our lives were thrown into a complete tailspin, and we’ve all faced challenges we never could have imagined. From working remotely, to homeschooling, to distancing from family and friends, these past eight months have been challenging for everyone.

Businesses in every sector faced challenges, some more difficult, while for others it was, “business as usual,” albeit in a slightly different way. Despite having to change the way in which one worked, the overall goals established pre-pandemic never wavered. Clients still needed consumer feedback to produce their products and it was up to us, the research and insight companies, to find the safest and most effective ways to deliver that information to them.

Here at The Boedeker Group, we have always worked remotely, which gave us an advantage when it came to shifting the work structure. We knew it was possible for businesses to still be able to engage both effectively internally as a team and with external customers to get the results needed without being in person.

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Just because we’re distancing doesn’t mean user research and product development slows down (at least it shouldn’t). While companies may have had to switch and adopt new user research methods, they can still get the information they need to meet their goals. User experience tests are still happening using some great online tools that measure time on task, failure rate, and can even track eye movement on a screen. Interviews can occur. Product demonstrations don’t need to pause. Our mission hasn’t changed. We help our clients use insights to develop their product, to know how to position it, and to seed the market. And though we can’t see our participants in person right now, we can reach thousands of people in our clients’ target markets with the click of a few buttons while still delivering the insights they need to develop their product, or know how to position it, or to seed the market.

Conducting research remotely offers some advantages as well. We were in the process of developing a full symposium and focus group strategy for a client this fall. These events were going to be in-person and while these types of events can lead to strong relationships and detailed feedback to help companies make strategic business decisions, they’re limited to a smaller group of people due to the high cost of these activities. They also come with their own set of challenges. When we had to adjust, though, we were able to rethink the overall strategy, widen the group of participants quite significantly, and we were still able to provide the level of detail needed for our clients to reach their goals of these events. No travel arrangements needed. No complicated logistics to work through, no meetings rooms that needed to be reserved or hotel reservations to be made, not to mention the cost is far lower than it would have been. At the end of the day we’ll still be delivering the types of insights that will help them drive key strategic decisions.

While remote research is currently a requirement given the times we’re in, it has shown research-based companies that not only is it possible to obtain customer insights without being in-person, but that it is an effective method when it comes to engaging with customers, now, and in the future. When your participants can comfortably participate by just using their laptop and strong internet connection, your audience grows significantly – as can your user base.

What insights do you need from your market? We’re here to help.

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