There is a lot of communication throughout business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) industries when a health crisis or pandemic occurs.
During a crisis, the everyday status-quo within an organization and its particular industry feels like it’s completely flipped from where it was weeks or even days prior.
Currently, the world is facing a global pandemic, known as COVID-19. Right now a lot of organizations are in fear for the future, while others are facing challenges right now.
Wondering if your organization should survey customers or employees during times of crisis? The short answer is that it depends.
An organization will always benefit from putting it’s employees and customers first. Understanding their concerns and needs is crucial, especially in times of uncertainty. Conducting a quick poll or survey are a great way to do this, but in some cases may cause more trouble than it’s worth.
In this blog post, our market research company will help your organization decide if a crisis is the right time to conduct market research with customers and/or employees.
Should I conduct market research with my customers?
In times of uncertainty, it can make sense to rely on fact-based evidence and feedback directly from your customers to gauge what shifts COVID-19 may have caused in their purchasing behaviors. Some of these changes in consumer behavior may even outlast this crisis, therefore it is important to prepare for that now.
When conducting market research during times of crisis, the key is to make sure customers are treated as a valued asset.
On the other hand, it is also important to consider, particularly when it comes to market research, whether your organization can be agile and act on the feedback collected.
In other words, if your company no longer has the time or resources to act quickly on customer concerns or dissatisfaction, then it might be better to postpone plans for market research until you can genuinely make changes.
Should I conduct market research with my employees?
A common market research study is employee surveys. Again, it depends on if conducting an employee survey during a time of crisis is a good idea or not.
Regardless, leaders should give reassurance to employees each day. This may be through regular, open communication, sharing realistic updates about the next steps, and expectations for the organization and employees.
If your employees are working to fight the crisis...
If your organization is in an industry that is actively fighting a crisis, such as a healthcare facility during COVID-19, it is important to remember employees are as busy and restless than ever.
Time, in particular, is an extremely valuable asset to employees, which means they will not have time to fill out a survey. Plus, the results of an employee survey may be negatively skewed due to current working situations.
If your employees are operating during a time of crisis…
For organizations that are still operating during times of crisis, employees are depending on communication from human resource and leadership teams more than ever.
Moreover, employees want to feel a sense of stability and comfort. An employee survey can give quick insight into what your team needs to feel safe and that they are still a priority. Surveys are also a good outlet for employees to anonymously share their feelings and concerns.
Potential solutions may include options like having some staff work from home, reassessing offerings to customers, change in vacation policies, and daily communication updates from leadership.
Conducting market research during a crisis
When conducting market research during a crisis, consider how you are using the data and leverage it effectively.
Times of crisis are unique, so it is important to consider:
- How an invite to participate in market research will be perceived
- To what degree the data collected may be skewed
- Whether the organization will be able to act quickly on the data collected
There are ways to conduct market research in a way that feels genuine and thoughtful during a crisis. In many industries and organizations, employees and customers want to join together to create a sense of stability and comfort.
Therefore, it’s important to keep communication open at all times which may mean surveys are ideal - especially if the survey is quick, easy, and anonymous.
Rather than pausing all market research initiatives, consider how to genuinely gather feedback to guide future decision-making in a way that makes employees and customers feel supported and valued.
Remember: Transparency is key
When organizational leaders speak out during times of crisis, it’s painfully obvious to employees and customers if there is a lack of transparency. This means it's important for leaders within an organization to listen and share challenges.
Oftentimes, customers and employees want the opportunity to share fears and concerns. Some options to consider include discussing how future decisions will be made, leaders taking an active role when speaking to employees and customers, and creating a formal plan to discuss messaging and disseminate information.
The key is to make sure employees and customers feel like a valued asset rather than a problem to address in the future.
Drive Research is a national market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team has the knowledge and tools to design a robust market research study, should it be the right fit for your business.
Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.