The resurgence of face to face focus groups in Australia has been hidden away from the eyes of many people.
This came clearly to mind for me when I was at The City Group Rooms in Sydney recently doing what I always do which is to hang anxiously around the waiting rooms for my respondents to arrive. Unable to alter the habits of a working life-time, I was also watching what was happening around me. All seven rooms at the city venue were fully booked with many double shifts, so there were people everywhere. Seriously, this place never seems to stop.
For our paper ‘Sense-making for Exploratory Qualitative Research’ for the upcoming AMSRS Conference, Suzanne and I interviewed some recent retirees about what it was like to retire. In these interviews, we tested out our new ideas about sense-making.
Why are we applauding our financial services clients?
The financial services that many organisations provide to their customers are complex. These services can be difficult to understand and even harder to explain. Some organisations have recognised this complexity, and have done all they can to ensure that their customers knew what they were buying. The regulations required them to offer a PDS or Prospectus, but they went over and above what was specifically asked for. They tested their documentation with customers. (This is called 'consumer testing'). Those of our clients who did this - we applaud you!
We have just been doing some ‘consumer testing’ with people who have managed funds. As ever, when you use a technique like this you learn more and more about how to do it well. This time it occurred to me that people react to information in almost the same way that they interact with people.
We use a hybrid method where we first collect data, and then conduct a qualitative interview so we are able to measure reactions but also gain qualitative insight.