In-depth one-on-one online interview techniques

When it comes to capturing detailed insights about how particular consumer, employee or individual makes decisions, nothing beats qualitative marketing research. One useful technique for collecting qualitative insights is the online in-depth one-on-one interview.

Whether you choose to run a structured online chat based one-on-one interview or a live web cam interview, using Group Quality you will uncover new insights and deliver immediate results. Online interviews are a great way to capture the opinions of hard to reach and time poor professionals. They also enable you to instantly capture and review top-line insights, which can be used to guide decisions early on in the product development life cycle.

Online one-on-one interviews are unlike online surveys, in that the questions asked in a interview seeks to find out more detailed information about the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the participant. For this reason, most interviews have a very loose structure, unlike the relatively rigid structure of an online opinion poll. Interviewers should generally expect to spend between a half hour to an hour or more interviewing the participant. This will give the interviewer time to ask all of the questions they need to, and for the participant in the interview time to expand on each of their answers.

Online one-on-one interviews have a key advantage when compared to an online focus group, or other form of qualitative study. In an online one-on-one interview, the only people involved are the interviewer and the interviewee. In this environment the interviewee is less likely to feel any pressure to conform to group opinion. And the answers they give are not influenced by the opinions expressed by others in a group. In some instances you want to take advantage of the conversations generated by a group dynamic, but in other instances its important to understand the views and opinions expressed by the individual.

Online one-on-one interview techniques

GroupQuality online interview software

One effective way that interviewers uncover information during a one-on-one interview is with a technique called “ladder questioning.” Laddering is the process by which an interviewer will ask a question, then continue their line of questioning based on the participants response. For example, if an interviewer asks a participant why they do or do not purchase a specific product, their next question could simply be “Why?” or “Would you purchase this product if it had different packaging?” This is an example of a very loosely structured interview- since the interviewer has no way of knowing how the participant is going to respond to their initial question beforehand, they have to come up with questions to ask as the interview progresses. Eventually, the interviewer hopes to establish the participants core values. For example, finding out that a participant values appearing stylish or fashionable can help a company determine how they should design their packaging. In this example, the participant is likely to prefer a product in sleek, modern packaging to brightly colored, childish packaging.

Another interviewing technique is “hidden issue questioning.” In this form of qualitative analysis, the interviewer attempts to find out what pet peeves or sore spots the participant has. This isn’t the same as focusing on socially shared values like human rights or breaking the law, instead the focus is more on deeply held personal concerns. Often times, these concerns aren’t easily revealed by a direct line of questioning, so an interviewer must exercise tact in getting this kind of information out of the participant.

For example, the interviewer could ask the participant about their ideal life, or vision of a perfect world. Based on their answer, the interviewer can continue their line of questioning to determine what traits would be excluded from their perfect life. For example, determining that the participant would not like to feel awkward in a social setting, a manufacturer of aftershave might emphasise the product’s attractiveness to the opposite sex, and is likely to get the participants attention more than emphasising packaging or style.

A third important interviewing technique is “symbolic analysis.” Here, the interviewer attempts to find out what something symbolizes to the participant, by asking about the object’s opposite. This is a technique for finding out what things really mean to the participant.

For example, an interviewer might ask the participant if they regularly use e-mail. If so, what would the participant do if e-mail didn’t exist? he participant might respond that they would have to write letters to keep in touch with their family, or take more long trips to visit them. From this, the interviewer can infer that, to the participant, e-mail represents a way to keep in touch with family. This kind of information can help a company determine how to advertise.

For example, advertising that emphasizes how easy it is to exchange photos and home videos with family members online, is likely to get this participants attention more than advertising that emphasises the convenience of online sharing.

In depth interviews are an excellent way to probe people’s deepest thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and provide marketers with a way to create targeted advertising messages, come up with new product or service extensions, and even determine which questions should be asked in an online survey.

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