It seems that every week another blog or article comes out about programmatic sampling and sampling automation, and how it is the future of the industry. While I don’t disagree that these are key future steps for our industry, we shouldn’t forget that service still has a pivotal role to play.
Automation and programmatic sampling are great tools when everything is working correctly, and particularly when the user knows what they’re doing. But what happens when you have problems or a tough target audience? What happens when you are stuck on how to accomplish more challenging tasks, like nested quotas or complex survey logic? What happens when you aren’t certain how to ask a certain survey question or create hard quota stops? That is where great service comes in.
Let’s look at the first problem. Programmatic sampling can be great. It is the natural progression with the rise and popularity of DIY survey tools and innovation. Users can now program and launch a survey themselves. However, they aren’t experts in this piece of the business – so who steps in when something goes wrong, like incorrect targeting, quota issues or any myriad of potential things that can go awry? Yes, there are customer service teams you can email or call, but you are just another phone call to them, and there may be a delay. Having a single point of contact on your projects that you can reach out to when something goes wrong, especially with your sample, can be a lifesaver. Plus, that person is responsive and will help you resolve your issue whether it is Wednesday at 2 in the afternoon or Saturday morning.
Now, let’s talk about hard target audiences. Programmatic sampling tools have filters built in, but there are a lot of gaps. They may not have the exact filter you need to reach the right audience or have the expertise to know when the best time to launch may be, or even when to bring on another sample partner because there aren’t enough respondents in the current pool. Having a partner that can provide great service, as well as offer industry expertise, can be invaluable. They can help to ensure you get the best results possible, whether it is better targeting suggestions, or recommending new partners, or even suggestions on how to improve your survey overall.
Automation and programmatic sampling are the future of sampling, and EMI is proficient at many, many of these tools, but not to the point that they eliminate the service component. Everyone remembers a great service experience; no one remembers a great programming experience.
Just some food for thought.