Customer Research Best practices

3 tips to speed the research recruitment process

August 12, 2022
2 min
3 tips to speed the research recruitment process

Recruitment can be the longest part of the research process. Where do you find your constituents? How do you connect with them, how can you get a survey completed or interview scheduled, and incentive sent? You have to use many tools/systems to execute those steps, which adds to the frustration. 

If you are anything like me, you’ve thrown up your hands more than once and painfully procrastinated invites, incentives, and everything in between. Before I joined Great Question, it took me weeks (nearly 7, as you'll see below) to find the correct list of customers to interview and even longer to get everyone’s calendars coordinated. I’ve already admitted to how long it took to send out incentives… all the shame! 

Customer research recruitment process BEFORE Great Question

My customer research process before Great Question was always manual, always took way too long, and always required access to no less than seven systems just to get an interview scheduled. Here’s a breakdown of the process BEFORE Great Question. 

Building research recruitment assets

As a product marketer, I had the marketing team’s support to send emails and approve my survey pages, but I had to get in their queue, which was often backlogged. I would start my process by writing up a brief with all the content I would need in the research process, including emails, the Typeform survey (which marketing had to approve), and any blurbs I wanted to be put into the customer newsletters. All in this took about a week. (+1 week)

Then, I built a list of customers that the CSMs said were “okay to contact” from there, I asked folks to complete a survey. Based on those results, we would invite them to an interview. Getting lists from CSMs constantly inundated with customer support/requirements took forever (+2 weeks). 

Building the list of customers

So, my secret power is that I’ve been a Salesforce admin in a previous life. Yes, it was 2010, and yes, it was before Lightening, but I can still run a heck of a contact report. So… given my secret powers and the fact I was friends with the data team, I could quickly query my lists and could find the correct list of customers I wanted to ask to join my studies. But including the back and forth with the data team about specific field definitions took at least a couple of hours. (¼ day). 

Then I would share the lists with product managers and CSMs to get their approval to connect with the list of folks. I would send each of them a google sheet, and they would put their X’s in the rows they agreed with. I would finally have a list of customers I could email (2-day turnaround).

Sending invites & scheduling interviews

I would send the google spreadsheet to marketing, along with the approvals/feedback on the emails. They would send out the blast (as long as the customers hadn’t been contacted in the previous ten days), and I could share the Typeform links with my CSMs and Product Managers. Then, we wait. 

Over time I realized the best response rates came from 1:1 emails right from CSMs and product managers, so I’d send them the Typeform link, and they could share that in their signatures, but I always worried those were pretty biased responses (the happiest and the loudest and the heaviest users). But I needed customers to talk to! (+2 weeks)

As survey results would come in, we’d have to filter through and send Calendly links to schedule interviews (+2 weeks). We’re already seven weeks in, and I hadn’t even had an interview yet. 

Customer research recruitment process with Great Question

Since joining Great Question, these three tips have helped me drastically speed up the research recruitment process. It also helps that these three things are part of the platform, keeping me in ONE tool versus the five others I used to use. 

  1. Owning and branding recruitment assets: emails, reg pages, etc.
  2. Filtering & shortlisting to find the correct list of customers
  3. Flexible inviting & scheduling 

Owning and branding recruitment assets

With Great Question, as a researcher or person who does research, I create HTML emails and landing pages on the platform with no extra work. There are templates for the emails and landing pages that I can edit but often work right out of the box. All the assets have our logo and even my picture, so they have a high response/open rate. 

Filtering & shortlisting to find the correct list of customers

We don’t use Salesforce at Great Question, and I don’t need to. Our database of customers is already included in the platform. I can filter based on someone’s product usage, location, company size, anything really. If it’s an attribute in our candidate list, I can filter by it. And, I can add attributes whenever I want! 

Once I have a list of candidates, I can shortlist them and share them with our support team or design teams to see if they have any feedback before sending off the emails. It’s interesting, though; they’ve never had feedback. I can filter based on customer happiness, and even “last participated,” so I never have to worry about over contacting. We even have a filter for eligibility, where people are excluded if they haven’t responded to the past few requests, they didn’t show for more than two interviews, or they have recently (in the last two weeks) completed a study. 

Flexible inviting & scheduling

I have a list of candidates, and right in that table, I can select a random subset or the whole list and send the screeners or invite folks directly. The screener capability is nice because if someone DOES fit my criteria, they are automatically approved and sent to my booking calendar. I don’t have to go back into Typeform, see their responses and then send a Calendly link, it just happens automatically. Before I know it, I am seeing interviews being populated on my calendar. There’s no shuffling and rescheduling due to double booking because my Google calendar is integrated with Great Question. 

I used to struggle to talk to customers. The number of systems and people I used to have to wait on, just to connect with a customer was frustrating. If you are like me and you’re struggling with the pain of research recruitment, check out Great Question. 

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