Around Panoptika’s Table, we’re always looking at new additions for our toolkit. Recently we participated in a project where qualitative types like us had the chance to be on the receiving end of a mobile qualitative study. For two days, questions arrived via our smartphones, and at the end of it all we had a conference call to de-brief and discuss. As a result, we’re more committed than ever to add mobile qualitative to our toolkit. Here’s why…
1. Customers are mobile
In North America it goes without saying that customers are mobile. Losing land-lines is an increasing trend, and cellphones have become ubiquitous. You might ask us, “but what about the customers who don’t have cellphones?” Data shows that those folks are few and far between. Over 90% of the US population has a mobile phone, nearly 80% in Mexico, and in Canada, over 70%, with all of these numbers continuing to increase. In Europe the numbers are even more impressive; there the number of mobile units surpasses the number of people!
2. Mobile creates a sense of urgency
Participants in the study reported that they felt a need to respond as soon as possible to questions received on their mobile. Unlike some methodologies such as email, paper, or even other online qualitative methods, seasoned researchers were surprised at how keenly they felt a need to respond to text messages quickly, giving rise to much more instinctive responses.
3. Mobile enables truth-telling
In a separate study, moms were asked to keep a mobile snack diary of what they were feeding their kids. One respondent summed it up by saying that with the mobile diary, she just sent the answers off without self-censoring. On the third day of the study she realized she had given her kids nachos three days in a row. Her reaction was “if I was doing that with a paper diary, I would have noticed the pattern – and seeing how unhealthy it was, I probably would have changed my answer. I would have lied so it didn’t look so bad.”
4. Mobile is an easier way to observe behaviour than other methods
Many qualitative research methods we use to observe and record consumer behaviour can be cumbersome…it’s hard to imagine bringing a paper diary with you for your study on restaurant meals, and there can be a certain intrusiveness to studies where the researcher has to shadow the user. But with mobile we can go on a ride-along with the consumer, while still leaving them to “behave normally”.
5. Mobile is mobile
Most cellphone or smartphone users carry their devices everywhere. Meaning they are nearly always accessible. If there’s an app for it, then your customer’s mobile is there as it’s happening.
Going along for the ride with your customers,
Megann and Steve