Tag Archives: feedback

Focused Group Dynamics

One of the best things about my job as a moderator is getting to create an atmosphere where a group of strangers feel comfortable enough to talk about a focused topic for a couple of hours.

It’s fascinating to be in the driver’s seat, gently nudging each person to give a point of view or express their opinion. And it’s just as interesting to watch the complexity of group dynamics in action. What a joy it is when the group interacts and expresses differing opinions in a constructive way, providing true insight. I believe this doesn’t happen automatically. Rather, it comes with a bit of finesse. While there are times when it’s necessary to go to more dramatic means to ensure cooperation and avoid group think, the following steps will help you get there most of the time:

1. Set the Stage’I believe people in most focus groups generally want to give you what you want’insight from their perspective. I also believe that people need ‘coaching’ many times on how best to do that. So, it is your responsibility as the moderator to properly set the stage. Tell respondents that you expect everyone to participate, that you expect them to have at least some differing opinions. Explicitly stating your expectations in the beginning will help you when you have to shut down the loudmouths and call on the wallflowers later in the discussion!

2. Be in Charge’you, as the moderator are responsible for the discussion thread. If you don’t manage it, someone else will. Do not be afraid to shift a respondent from an off-the-topic monologue. Time is not your friend in a group’you only have a set amount of it to extract insights. Therefore, keep yourself and your respondents focused on the objectives of the discussion. Again, be in charge of what you want to hear!

3. Use Non-Verbal Feedback First’this is especially important when gaining reactions to communication pieces or concept ideas. Get a quick read non-verbally by having participants write their opinions first. I also believe that structuring the verbal feedback process is helpful. Ask for positive comments first, then neutrals, then negatives. Structuring the feedback this way helps you stay on a path of constructive feedback rather than everyone jumping on a negative bandwagon.

4. Control the Loudmouth and Nurture the Wallflower’it is important to your clients to hear from everyone (if they all have something meaningful about the topic to say, that is’) So, again, it is your job as the moderator to ensure that the ‘loudmouth’ doesn’t overtake the conversation. You can do this by simply stating, ‘Thanks, I really want to hear from XXX.’ When trying to get the ‘wallflower’ to speak, it helps to make strong eye contact with them and when all else fails, call on them. ‘I haven’t heard your thoughts yet, XXX. Please tell me what you’re thinking.’ Specifically stating the respondents name who is not participating will usually at least get them focused in again.

April

How Consumers Communicate Reviews of Products

As reported in this post from Church of the Customer Blog, BIGresearch conducted a study of close to 16,000 people regarding consumers use of online research to determine which products to buy. The results of the study, as shown below, indicate that adults who actively research online, are more likely to pass on the information that they have found.

Active Online Researcher All adults
Regularly gives advice 47.0% 29.4%
Occasionally gives advice 49.8% 63.4%
Never gives advice 3.2% 7.2%

Source: BIGresearch, SIMM 11 (December 2007) The study also reported findings that a majority of individuals, 72.7%, communicated their findings face-to-face. Still many others, 63.2%, passed on information via e-mail, where as 11.8% talked using online communities, and 6.8% used blogging as a medium. These findings indicate that while forums, such as blogging and online communities are starting to become more and more relevant, especially in terms of research about products, a majority of individuals still see an importance in discussing product reviews in person. Brad Fay, study co-author of a Keller Fay study, which concurred with BIGresearch that 75% of individuals communicate product reviews face-to-face stated: “Apparently, the value of eye contact, voice and perhaps even non-verbal communication provides a boost to credibility and the likelihood that we’ll do something about what we’ve learned.”

Social Media and Market Research Go Hand in Hand

Marketers have long used demographics compiled by market research firms, but social networking sites provides a great opportunity to access information in real-time. David C Skul, CEO of Relativity, details a couple of points in this YouTube video Use Social Networking for Market Research

  1. Direct feedback and direct sampling groups are one of the benefits of social networking sites. Businesses can easily send mass messages to all of their friends asking for honest opinions on products and services. Rewards may be given as an incentive for people to give their feedback.
  2. Polls can be created in networking sites, given users an opportunity to vote amongst several choices. This is one of the quickest ways to compile information.
  3. Demographics such as name, age, gender, and income are shown on networking sites, and in turn it helps to ensure that messages are reaching targeted groups.

Are you using social media in your organization to find out more about your customers? Take a look at this informative video. It’s a must see’