Using Checklists and Handbooks in Market Research

September 6, 2016

In the book titled Work the System written by Sam Carpenter, the author talks a lot about improving efficiency and workflow through process documentation. Carpenter writes about his experience at his former company Centratel, a telephone service provider. At Centratel, processes, quality, and poor service had progressively gotten worse to the point where he was forced to make massive changes as he was regularly putting in over 100 hours a week.

Carpenter did some in-depth analysis of his operations, divisions, and personnel and identified a series of choke points and identified areas of improvement. The result was a documentation of policies, procedures, and operational functions so productivity increased across the board and necessary work hours from staff decreased. As a result, the author's company turned around and profits soared.

 

An easy translation to the market research field would be to create a series of checklists and handbooks for your day-to-day work. Even before reading Carpenter's work a while back, I have always a big proponent of checklists and documented directions for specific tasks. These documents allow new trainees to get up to speed faster, have others step into key roles and responsibilities in times of emergencies, and allow managers to review processes and identify choke points like Carpenter did at Centratel. Checklists and handbooks offer several benefits to a market research company like Drive.

 

Using Market Research Checklists

  • Drive Research creates checklists for all of our processes. We utilize checklists for market research reports, data analysis auditing, and an editing checklists for our business development proposals. For example, on our reporting checklists we have a staff member run through a number of items before sending a report to a client. These items include spell checks and grammar in top boxes, format checks in chart legends, sum checks of single response to 100%, checks to make sure all graphs are noted with sample sizes and question numbers, etc. These items all have to be checked before the PowerPoint report is sent to the client. Our data analysis checklists and proposal checklists follow a similar procedure.

Using Market Research Handbooks

  • Another tool Drive Research utilizes is handbooks. This is not in terms of the paperwork you receive when you are hired, but rather usable handbooks in terms of laying out directions for basic job duties. Drive has a research handbook documents common but also complex tasks of running advanced analysis in our statistical software, uploading and mailing out email invites for surveys, and other key tasks, often difficult to remember. These handbook items include step-by-step directions including screen shots. With these handbooks, when someone new is added to the team or duties need to switched, roles can be interchanged seamlessly. As a manager and employee, the improved efficiency allows us to focus on other important job duties to differentiate our services.

Drive Research is a market research firm located outside of Syracuse, NY. Read more information about Drive Research here, view our market research services here, and view our industries of focus here. Contact the Owner & President of Drive Research at gkuhn@driveresearch.com or call us at 315-303-2040.

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