What Do You Expect From Your Focus Group Facility?

What Do You Expect From Your Focus Group Facility?

Always looking for ways to improve our in-person research projects, we recently conducted a survey to determine what research consultants expect from a focus group facility.

Group Dynamics asked research consultants the following question:

You are entering a focus group facility for the first time...
What are your top priorities when you arrive and while you are there?

Here are some of the responses:

‟It is nice to be greeted by name by either the Project Manager or the QA who will be handling the onsite activities. I should not have to wander around, looking for someone who looks surprised to see me.

“It would be stellar if the person who greets me at the facility would give me a specific location in the facility (e.g. reception desk) where I can get support when I'm ready for it. At that point, I'll know exactly what I need and how long I can wait for each task to be accomplished. (Note: In a perfect world, my STAT needs would always be taken care of STAT. I'm not kidding when I say I need something immediately.) Otherwise, assuming the room is already set up to the project's specification, my first request would be that you leave me alone to get set up. Don't worry - I'll let you know what I need as soon as I have a chance to catch my breath and get oriented to the space. I realize that facilities take pride in their service orientation, but true service isn't about hovering and forcing attention on the customer. It's about letting the customer tell you exactly what kind of service you need, and when.

I want to feel comfortable, have no unknowns, and no curveballs. I was just in a facility for the first time in New Jersey last month. It was no great shakes from the outside, just off an interstate in an old building. When I entered, it seemed old, but once I got to my room, looked around, checked out the back room, and found out where the supplies were, who my point person was, and all, I was set. I need to put the whole world on autopilot so I can zone in. My contact person needs to anticipate my needs, stuff needs to be easily accessed/found/set up/connected. That facility was great. It was a short-notice project and I had 2 days to prepare with some demanding conditions and new clients, so the on-site team that enabled me to be at ease and not bug me with details was key.

The location of the bathroom.

Upon arrival at a facility, my top priority is ascertaining that all is set up and equipped as we need/want it in the focus group room—test any technology being used (internal facility settings have caused challenges), place my materials, glasses, water, tic-tacs, etc., and sometimes rush to secure photocopies due to last-minute client changes. Then tend to the details—wireless connections to temperature to food menus. I expect a clear point person from the facility and to know whether there are different individuals for different responsibilities. A quick tour as time allows is nice too.

When I arrive, I have already sent a briefing document ahead of time on expectations for the day(s) in general. At that point, I need to know who my "point person" is and how long they will be with me. Then, I need to settle in the back room, check with clients, set up materials and interview room on my own. After that is complete, I want to speak with both the front desk and the person assigned to me for the day. This is to convey the confidential, immediate and often, nuanced aspects of the project.

The absolute number one priority is the quality of the respondents and that recruiting specifications are met. All of the best hosting in the world does not make up for inadequate shows or off strategy recruits.

Many thanks to all the participants for helping us know how to serve our clients and make sure all the services you expect from a focus group facility are ready and waiting for your next in-person research project.

We'd love to hear from you, what are your top priorities when you enter a focus group facility for the first time?