The global crisis we’ve lived in over recent months has changed the world for us all. And whilst many research professionals are discovering the virtues of online research, particularly for qualitative work, we’d thought we’d share some of our experience from the last 10 years of using digital technology to help understand consumer behaviour and create better products, service and experiences.

Gathering Better Insight…by building relationships online rather than trying to cover everything in a single in-person conversation

The quality of data captured via online qual, and the use cases for it, has often been underestimated or misunderstood. At Verve we’ve seen time and time again that we don’t need to share the same physical time and space with someone to establish strong, meaningful and honest interactions with them.

We’d argue there are many situations where we are able to gather better insight online. For example, rather than diving straight into a 60 or 90 minute in-person interview, pop-up communities allow us to build rapport with someone over several days or weeks.

In this way, far from being an approach that’s too impersonal or too cold for trust and mutual understanding, it’s actually a ‘safe space’ where respondents are comfortable to answer freely and with integrity.

And where you’re discussing difficulties or challenges in life, an online space can prove even more beneficial.

We’ve worked with a healthcare provider to understand people’s concerns with their physical health (weight issues, illnesses) and with financial service providers to better understand those struggling with their mental health (depression, anxiety). In these cases, the remote nature of the interaction really helped; discussing difficult or sensitive topics in a virtual medium is far easier than opening up to a ‘real person’, especially one you’ve only just met.

The same is true when we reflect on individual’s personal circumstances. Pop-up communities provide people with the time and space to breathe, collect their thoughts and share their experiences candidly, allowing us to gather detailed insight into things such as financial difficulties, debt, gambling and bereavement. It leads us to an understanding of people’s fears and failures in a way that wouldn’t have been possible in a traditional depth interview.

In today’s world, online qual is more important than ever. For us, it’s proven itself as capable of delivering insight to a standard that’s not only equal to, but sometimes superior to, that of face-to-face research.

Get in touch to find out more