This is Connie and Joe. They are amazing in-person interviewers who can get anyone to talk to them, whether it’s someone coming out of a store or a doctor attending a conference. I brought them in to help a retail client understand their shoppers’ behavior, and together we’ve been in half a dozen malls in as many months. Besides being great at their work, Connie and Joe are full of advice, so I thought I’d share some of their wisdom to help anyone considering interviewer-administered surveys!
JB: What’s your best advice for someone who wants to do in-person surveys?
Connie: Bring us in early and listen to us! We know what works in the field. For example, I’d much rather do mall work on a Monday. People automatically think there’s more foot traffic on weekends so it’s going to be easier to get respondents, but it’s not true! It’s crowded, they’re stressed, they have their kids with them, they’re not going to stop and take a twenty minute survey. On Monday, they just dropped Little Johnny off at school, they’re walking through the mall, they’re happy to stop and answer.
Joe: It’s hard when the client sends a survey five minutes before we go out and we’ve never seen it before. If the questions don’t make sense, I’m the one the respondent is looking at. The guy who wrote it is sitting by a pool somewhere.
Connie: And keep your surveys short! By the time you go past ten minutes, people are out the door, driving home, and cooking dinner– they don’t even hear the questions any more!
JB: What’s the best way to get people to stop and talk to you?
Joe: Anybody’ll talk to her.
Connie: It’s true. I can talk to anyone. When people see someone else taking the survey, they get interested and they’re more likely to stop. But if they don’t want to, I don’t worry about it. My skin is THIS thick!
JB: How did you start doing survey interviewing?
Connie: In 1993 I was grocery shopping in Pathmark and there was a guy doing surveys. I asked him who he worked for and he was like, “You’d be great at this!”
Joe: I started when I was 17. Nobody believes me when I tell them Connie’s my mother.
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