A few weeks ago, I got a project to conduct two focus groups in Pampa, Texas. In case you don’t know, Pampa is an oil town in the Texas panhandle about 60 miles from Amarillo.
Of course, there is no focus group facility, so we set up in a hotel. One problem was that there was not a hotel in town with two conference rooms where we could set up closed-circuit viewing. Clients wanted to view the groups but I preferred that they not be present in the room with the participants. We did a little brainstorming and found a solution.
20/20 Research’s QualMeeting service is essentially an online video streaming service. Therefore, we set up a video camera in the room with a feed to a laptop computer. Because I was concerned about potential technology failure, a technician/camera operator set up and operated all the equipment. We had a second technician at 20/20 during the streaming to ensure that any and all problems were dealt with immediately..
Thankfully, it worked! Even though we had a few audio difficulties in the beginning, the client loved it. They were able to watch the focus groups from various locations across the country. We debriefed between groups and after the groups via teleconference. I asked the client for some feedback and here is what she had to say.
I very much liked the capabilities of QualMeeting. It was so helpful to be able to see and hear the meeting in real time. The quality of the video was fine – would drop out/stall occasionally, but that could have been a function of my computer, rather than the system. The audio was adequate for the most part – I could understand most things being said. Overall, my experience was positive.
Biggest benefit – (1) being able to watch the groups and follow-up immediately afterward with you, so we could tweak the questions to the second group as needed (didn’t need to do much there, but it was nice to have that option); (2) saving all the travel money and feeling like I was still participating – I can’t imagine it would have been much better being in the next room.
Drawbacks – probably the audio more than anything, but as I said, I was able to hear most of what was said.
I would absolutely use this solution again, and in fact, I’ve already told someone about it and how great it was to be able to participate this way.
The next time I have a small market study, I am going to consider this solution as a way to cut costs and improve the client experience.