You have a challenging recruit, but you finally found that last participant who fit the impossible guide that the client has given you. Of course, it turns out that she is available only at 6 AM your time, but you get up and get caffeinated and are ready for a great interview.
You dial. And you get it – the dreaded voicemail.
No problem. People have jobs, they run late, their last meeting hasn’t ended, there was traffic. So you wait five minutes, then try again. And again it is voicemail. You leave a message this time, and then, depending on your best practices, try again in another five minutes or send an email or all of the above.
But at some point you have to admit it – you have a no-show.
We’ve all been there. In B2B market research it’s really a fact of life. Our research participants have jobs that dictate their priorities, which means they sometimes can’t make a call. Since we work with corporate IT, we know that our participants will hang up or even walk out of a focus group if they get an alert that mission critical systems are down. After all, our participants are the heroes who keep their applications up and running so that the business can continue to operate.
So how do you manage no-shows, since the client does require you to talk to a certain number of participants in the project? There are really only two options:
- Schedule time for rebooks: Build it into the schedule. If you have ten interviews, a week is plenty of time to talk to ten people. But put two weeks in the schedule anyway so you have time to rebook.
- Over-recruit: If the schedule doesn’t allow rebooks, recruit more people than you actually need. This should cover no-shows, and hey, if you get lucky and everybody shows up, the client will be thrilled that you have delivered more input than you were contractually obliged to deliver.