Move Over Digital, We Still Need Face-to-Face Research!

Even in an age of digitalisation, we are seeing increasing demand for face-to-face research; the need for personal interactions to truly understand consumer views is still valued as a key methodology within the research toolkit. 

Face-to-face interviews provide an opportunity for interviewers to ask questions which require a deep and meaningful answer, allowing for more in-depth data collection and comprehensive understanding. Typically chosen when targeting a specific target audience, interviews are arranged at the convenience of the respondent, often at their home or a preferred location.

With an allocated timeslot and chosen environment, respondents are more tolerant of longer surveys and open-ended questions. Expressing long answers orally is much quicker and less laborious than typing or writing out, and respondents usually respond better to probing and further questions in this scenario. This means questions are answered in full detail, in turn providing clearer and deeper insight. Non-verbal cues, such as body language and facial impressions, also aid with this understanding.

As much of the success of this methodology lies with the interviewer, it’s essential to partner with an expert interviewer who can lead and adapt the conversation depending on the respondent, whilst still ensuring the necessary questions are asked and data is collected. The interviewer should have some background knowledge on the subject area – but they don’t need to be an expert. Experienced interviewers will sense small signals which help direct and focus the interview. This advantage is unique to face-to-face interviews – online and SMS surveys, for example, cannot capture raw emotions and behaviours.

While face-to-face surveys require a level of investment of time and money, the methodology’s unique benefits make it the perfect choice for deep, detailed and holistic insight, which digital options struggle to provide to the same level. Face-to-face interviews promote discussion and allow the interviewer a deeper understanding of the answers given, based on the body language and visual display of emotions of the respondent.  Face-to-face is here to stay, and we don’t see it going anywhere soon.

To find out more about Watermelon’s dedicated face-to-face team and capabilities please contact Phil Corr on 020 7861 2080.

“Listening to customers can identify opportunities, avoid mistakes and positively impact word of mouth...”

Mark Squires, Chief Executive - Watermelon

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