Conducting Effective Telecom Market Research During COVID-19: FAQs

By Kristyn Corrigan

COVID-19 has disrupted nearly every market imaginable. It has created a new realityBoth enterprise and residential customers are communicating and consuming media in new and different ways. Expectations have changed. This represents a critical opportunity for those in the telecommunications  industryConducting market research can allow industry members to understand and meet customer needs better than competitors and increase market share and customer loyalty. Where to get started? Here’s a set of frequently asked questions about telecommunications market research.

Q: What number of customers should I aim to speak with to collect a complete set of insights? 
A: Sample size depends on the type of market research you’re conducting. For qualitative studies where we’re looking to uncover the complete set of needs or insights in a given market, we typically recommend a sample size of 25-30. This is often fewer respondents than people thinkThis is because in qualitative research we’re looking to hear the complete range of responses. We’re not counting or quantifying yet. A qualitative sample size may increase if we’re trying to incorporate a number of segments, such as geographic or consumer vs. enterprise. For quantitative studies where we’re looking to measure things like drivers, satisfaction, NPS® or market size, we typically recommend at least N=300 participants and even more depending on how many unique segments we seek to compare. 

Q: What’s the easiest way to get customers to participate in research? 
A: Getting customers to participate in research studies is always a challenge. In today’s COVID-19 environment, we’ve noticed that those in business and consumer markets have generally been more flexible with their schedules and able to fit in time for an interview or short survey. Best practice is to offer an incentive for a respondent’s time, such as a gift card or charitable donation. Respondents are also more likely to participate in research when they know why the research is being done, how they were selected and that their answers will be used for research purposes only.  

Q: How do I conduct research during a time of social distancing? 
A: There’s a misconception that customer research requires us as researchers to be in person with customersThe truth is, almost all research can be adapted for the virtual environment. Interview and focus groups can be done on virtual meeting platforms. Surveys can be programmed and administered online. Even ethnographic, or observational research, can be done through the use of mobile phones and wearable cameras. 

Q: What type of research should I start with?  
A: The type of research you start with depends on a few things. First, take inventory of any research or customer data you have already, being mindful of when the data was collected and for what purpose. Next, think about gaps in information and the business objectives you’re trying to meet. Are you looking to understand customer loyalty in retention? Willingness to adopt a potential new offering? Willingness to pay for a new product or service? Finding answers to these questions will lead you in the right direction in terms of setting the research scope. 

Q: What is the best way to determine what customer needs are most critical to meet first? 
A: The most successful product and CX innovations are developed to satisfy needs that are important to consumers and are unmet by the current market. The best way to uncover these needs is to conduct in-depth Voice of the Customer interviewsThe interviews should be done systematically to understand the complete set of customer needs or jobs to be done while using your product or service. Next, involve customers in the prioritization of those needs for development. 

Q: How is Applied Marketing Science’s (AMS) approach to research different from other market research approaches? 
A: AMS is a consulting firm that uses market research to solve clients’ business problems. With over 30 years of serving clients in a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, our research methodologies are based on award-winning academic researchproven in real-world practice. We don’t just provide dataAMS helps you put your customers at the center of your business decisions, while providing actionable insights linked to recommendations. 

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Tags: Ethnography , Voice of the Customer

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