Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: 20 lbs. of Potatoes in a 10 lb. bag; Managing Client Expectations
Kate Wagenlander Watson of KCW Global Research, LLC gave a super practical presentation at the 2019 QRCA Annual Conference that provided strategies and hacks to manage overly-ambitious client demands. Throughout her presentation, she covered tactics and tips to help all QRC’s become savvy consultants at all points in the process from the first client call to the creation of the moderator guide and finally the actual execution of the groups for application across a wide variety of research objectives.
Kate takes a realistic, but lighthearted approach to scenarios we can all relate to when clients continually over-stuff the study sack with more content than it can logically hold. With years of experience and an indefatigable spirit, Kate advises us to:
- Set the Foundation so clients' expectations are aligned with reality. Do this starting with the proposal. Protect both parties' interests by clearly stating how much of the client's goals/objectives can be accomplished within the methodology, time frame, and budget they're offering. Offer alternatives, set boundaries and enforce them contractually (in writing). And don't be afraid to say no and save yourself if it becomes obvious that no reasonable detente can be achieved.
- Manage the Stimuli and Guide Early and Often – continuously reinforce what is realistic within the amount of time available. Kate provided strategies for shrinking/refining concepts, both in size and number. She also demonstrated how to illustrate the time crunch in quantitative terms clients can understand, along with many other clever and insightful methods to manage scope-creep and over-stuffed guides.
- Controlling Potential Fieldwork Issues – before, during, and as groups are ending.
Offering the "nuclear option" – Kate demonstrates how just "giving clients what they ask for" can be the magic bullet to making them truly understand what they're demanding is unreasonable and unrealistic.
Putting it into practice:
I want to tattoo this presentation on the inside of our eyelids and implement it EVERY time we bid, field, and report a project!
Make your clients participate in a mock-session BEFORE fielding so they will see for themselves exactly how much content fits in a given time period. This way they really comprehend the limitations of the "time-space continuum"!
This presentation should be required-reading and standard practice for all QRC's, as well as clients. A first-timer from the client-side told this reporter that Kate's presentation was the most eye-opening of the entire conference!
QRCA Reporter on the Scene: