Recruiting participants for user research or testing from a customer list

At People for Research, we understand it’s essential for most organisations to get feedback from their existing customer base.

As Smashing Magazine explains here, it is important to make sure customers feel valued. As a recruiter of participants for paid research, we regularly manage customer data pools or recruit participants and users for user experience testing and market research, from a specific list of client customers (client data).

Customer satisfaction is crucial for a business’s continued success. When working with client data for participant recruitment in focus groups, depth interviews and testing, we focus (and you should too if doing your own recruitment) on delivering quality communication, transparent objectives and excellent customer service.

Quality communication = engaged costumers

  • If you are emailing a client’s customers as a third-party (an agency, for example), be clear in your communication, explain who you are working on behalf of, and allow the customers to verify your relationship with the client.
  • Where possible, encourage the end client to email customers first to advise them they will be contacted by an agency working on their behalf. When the customers receive the email detailing information about the research, they will not have concerns as to where the email has come from.
  • If this is not possible, ask the client to supply a name and contact number and/or email address for inclusion at the bottom of the email, enabling customers to verify the research, should they wish to do so.
  • In addition to verification information, ask the client to share brand identity (logo, phrases and key words) for inclusion on the correspondence, if possible. This really helps customers to identify with the research.
  • Don’t forget to manage customer expectations, explain not all people who respond will be eligible, acknowledge all correspondence both those who may be suitable and those who are not.
  • Always submit all content to the end client for them to review, make amends if necessary and to give the final sign-off. Remember, these are their customers, and they should know how you are communicating with them.
  • Finally, each client and customer group is different: what works for one may not work for another.

Transparent objectives

Be clear about the nature of your research, whether it is a one-to-one research session or a focus group, usability test, card sort or remote interview, how frequently you expect to contact them, and for how many sessions of research. This is essential for long-term panels of participants or customer pools.

If you do not have access to data and would like to create a customer pool for user testing or market research, we recommend setting up a survey online to gather details of interested customers. In the past we’ve used:

Online surveys help to avoid contacting customers on multiple occasions, and reduce time spent screening customers who are not eligible for the project.

As with emailing a client list, be clear and transparent in what the objectives are, so that the customers can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want to take part.

This blog was originally published on the People for Research website.

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