In a rapidly changing environment, the only way organizations can stay on top of developments is to match the pace of insights with the pace of change. The Coronavirus pandemic perfectly illustrates this need – in a short period of time, banks had to entirely restructure their service delivery models, associations had to move meetings to a virtual environment, and travel companies had to anticipate traveler needs for a “post-coronalypse” world. These decision challenges require insights that combine the speed of online surveys with the rich insights of interactive qualitative techniques. Rockbridge offers a unique research tool, OpinionPond™, that provides the capabilities to meet this challenge.
Before introducing OpinionPond™, it is important to consider other methods to achieve rapid fire insights. One way an organization might try to do so is through an ad hoc online qualitative study, but the process of setting up the project and recruiting can be time consuming and costly, especially if your audience is not mass-market but highly unique (which is the case with most of our clients). Another way an organization may try to get fast insights is through a proprietary online community. However, most clients have found this tool has not lived up to the hype, being expensive to maintain and filled with brand loyal, professional participants.
The OpinionPond™ Solution. Rockbridge offers a solution that takes advantage of a resource right at your fingertips – your ongoing tracking studies. OpinionPond™ dynamically connects online surveys to an interactive application using a social media format. After streaming through an online survey and answering questions individually, survey respondents are invited at the conclusion of the survey to participate in an online research experience where they can interact with other respondents and are guided by a moderator.
After creating a unique username, respondents can immediately “enter the pond” where they can comment on posted topics as well as see and respond to other people’s comments. Survey participants gain the benefit of sharing and interacting with others who participated in the same study.
One benefit to the researcher is that comments in OpinionPond™ can be directly linked to the survey responses, providing rich insights that marry structured and unstructured data (e.g., what do consumers under 30 years old think? Why are some customers dissatisfied? How do consumers with a specific type of transaction feel?) Because OpinionPond™ is linked to a survey, it is also possible to selectively recruit individuals who fit selective criteria, thereby speeding up the research process by filling quotas in real time. Further quickening the process, OpinionPond™ is designed for rapid set-up, including uploading of images and content that enhance the visual appeal of the interface. Once participants enter the OpinionPond™ discussion forum, a team of facilitators continuously monitors responses and encourages participants to return to provide additional comments. Clients usually monitor OpinionPond™ forums, benefiting from live insights while being able to suggest probes to the facilitators.
OpinionPond™ also provides unique insights that go beyond the limits of the traditional survey. For example, Rockbridge often implements OpinionPond™ with a client’s ongoing satisfaction/CX tracking study. As new service issues arise in the survey over time, Rockbridge and the client can quickly ask follow-up questions to ascertain the root cause of an issue so management can take corrective action or assess a new concept for improving the transaction experience. And, the client team is able to enter the pond and engage consumers directly.
Summing it up, OpinionPond™ redefines the paradigm of distinguishing between surveys versus qualitative studies. Consumers can shift from the “stream” where they offer unbiased opinions in isolation, to the “pond,” where their ideas are stimulated by interaction with like people. OpinionPond™ saves time and money by inviting participants from the client’s current research surveys. Participants also have a better research experience; they are not required to participate over long periods of time (as in the case of online communities), and they have a chance to offer viewpoints not addressed in the closed-end survey. OpinionPond™ insights are less likely to be skewed by heavy product users or professional research respondents given the recruiting method.