Top 10 Questions Panel Buyers MUST ask!!

Know Thy Vendors!!!

Panel quality is directly proportional to the panel vendor you are using. With most of the traditionaol market researchers still new to survey research it becomes all the more important to ask the right kind of questions to the panel providers. This article illustrates few cue points as to what you should inquire about the vendor providing you the respondents.

Situation 1:

Panel Providers – “We have access to 5 or 10 or 20 million panel members”

Read between the lines – “The panel count can be house hold or individual i.e. a panel provider might count everybody in the household but probably only one of them is registered with them”.

Client – Please let me know if the count in your panel is household or individual. In case of the former (i.e. household) how do you plan to target the remaining members of the family?

Situation 2:

Panel Providers– “We have profiled our panel on 80 or 100 or 120 data points”

Read between the lines –  “Many a times the panel provider has profiled their respondents largely on demographics basis and remaining parameters are partially filled only, resulting in excessive send out of email invites and poor quality responses due to inappropriate targeting”.

Client – “I have a project where these 4-5 parameters are to be targeted and therefore I require specific numbers of panelists you can target along with their response rates”.

Situation 3:

Panel Providers – “We are a one stop shop solution for your fieldwork”

Read between the lines –  “Many a times the panel provider is expert in one particular service and is aggregating the rest therefore the client needs to ask specific questions on the capabilities and coverage of the panel vendor”.

Client – “I need X, Y and Z services therefore how are you going to manage it on field. If you are using partners let us know beforehand”.

Situation 4:

Panel Providers – “Our panel is representative of the population”

Read between the lines –  “The issue here is validity of the statement made as to how the representation has been done”

Client – “Please brief as to how you have made your panel representative of the population what were the challenges and how you overcame the same”.

Situation 5:

Panel Providers – “We have strict panel management policy in place to flush professional respondents”

Read between the lines –  “Panel quality is still in its nascent stage of evolution and therefore kindly be aware of the farfetched claims of the panel providers.”


Situation 6:

Panel Providers – “We can provide you cost in a flash of a second!!!”.

Read between the lines –  “Most of the times the price is a ball park cost and would change when you provide more info such as complexity level and specific quotas”.

Client – “What all information you require to provide me accurate cost of the project? Also what are the components incorporated in the CPI provided?”.

Situation 7:

Panel Providers – “We have best in class programming capabilities”.

Read between the lines –  “This maybe a marketing gimmick so ask specific questions about what tools are been used, whether programming is outsourced or done internally?”.

Client – “Can you provide us survey demo? Also can you program the following attributes into the survey and the relevant costing and timelines?”.

Situation 8:

Panel Providers – “We are your faceless partner in research”.

Read between the lines –  “Many a times you have to deal with multiple point of contacts during the project which causes unnecessary confusions and communications gaps”.

Client – “Will I be interacting with a single person or multiple poc’s during the project?”.

Situation 9:

Panel Providers – “We are the industry leaders in our category”.

Read between the lines –  “This again can be a marketing gimmick to attract audience therefore ask specific questions in terms of industry associations, partnerships, historical performances etc.”

Client – “Please provide us the related case studies of the project which you might have undertaken in past”.

Situation 10:

Panel Providers – “We provide competitive prices or we offer volume discounts to our loyal clients”.

Read between the lines –  “Are the charges per hour, per complete, per amount of sample used? Can costs be broken out so they can compare between vendors?”.

Client– “What all components are taken into consideration while pricing and how does a long term association will help my bottom-line?.

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About akshay kanyal
Understanding Survey Research

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