What do market researchers absolutely have to know? Plenty of attention is paid to questionnaire design, focus group moderation, data analysis, etc. Unfortunately, one can loose sight of client management.
This is a powerful skill set that strengthens relationships, reduces stress, and makes work more rewarding for everyone—clients, researchers, and research managers.
When does market research client management come into play? “Always!” is the best answer. Naturally, what first springs to mind is the hours your researchers spend on client phone calls, preparing and responding to emails, and crafting documentation. However, even market research reports have an inherent element of client management. There are so many opportunities to impress—not distress—one’s clients.
Think like a client—they’ll like the way you think!
Great client management skills begin with an ability to see things from their point of view. This enables the market researcher to address and fix potential problems before they become actual problems. Examples: if I were the client reading the report that’s about to be sent, could I perceive certain findings as contradictory? If “bad news” is being delivered, what might I, as the client, have as immediate concerns?
The unavoidable fact is, clients look very, very closely at market researcher work. Reasons can be many and varied: research is expensive; there may have had been negative experiences in the past; a current project has underlying risk factors that are worrisome.
Working proactively to meet (and manage) client expectations is absolutely essential. After all, if a market research team—even one member of the team—fails one-too-many times, a client can become a former client.
Fortunately, what can appear to be a researcher’s lack of ability with client management is often just a lack of experience. This can be quickly remedied.
From first impressions to lasting relationships.
You’re expecting a researcher to handle a relationship lasting anywhere from two weeks to two years. Because market research is an ongoing process, it’s a very good idea to make sure client management skills are as strong as possible. That way, an effective researcher/client team can be created—a team that works together, successfully managing project risks.
Getting a “diploma in diplomacy.”
With our two-day live online class in client management (our next session starts January 13th), the ROI can be tremendous. Imagine the positive impact of moving, say, just 25% of a researcher’s client interactions from “fair” to “fantastic,” from “okay” to “O.K.!”
The first day of Research Rockstar’s Client Management Skills class focuses on basics, covering topics ranging from “8 Critical Client Management Concepts,” to “Client-friendly Language.”
Day two is devoted to managing clients during projects. This includes “6 Steps to Preparing Clients for Research Results,” and “Closing the Project.”
Want to look good? You don’t have to look far.
Research Rockstar’s Client Management Skills class teaches key concepts in ways that are specific to market research. Learn more about the class here.
Research Rockstar asks: describe your research team’s ability to see things from a client’s perspective:
- Eagle Eyes
- 20 / 20 vision
- May need corrective lenses.