Going Retro with Confirmation Calls

By Sharon Little, Project Manager

If you’ve ever texted from one side of the house to your family member on the other side of the house, you know just how appealing electronic communication is. And in qualitative recruiting, electronic communication is essential – study invites, pre-work and patient charts all rely on our e-comms.

But, phone calls – you know that jingle (or fav song) you hear when someone wants to actually speak with you 😉 – they are critical too, and our phone room uses them to “confirm” your interview times.

Beyond keeping your no-show rates down, here are four more benefits of an “old-school” confirmation call:

1 Sets a positive mindset.  A confirmation call is much more personal than an email or text reminder.  It communicates to panelists just how important they are to the study and thereby sets the stage for enthusiastic engagement.   

2 Enhances the discussion.  Calling panelists establishes a connection between the panelists and the research project.  Panelists feel invested in the study, often thinking about the topic beforehand and preparing ahead of time.

3 Helps with future recruiting.  Confirmation calls sometimes end up as discussions and if other panelists are having a difficult time qualifying, a confirmed panelist can shed some light on why that may be happening. This helps inform the study designer in the event that criteria needs to be adjusted.

4 Addresses long project times. If you’re scheduling calls well in advance then confirmation calls are critical for reminding panelists of their meeting with you.  The calls also enable us to proactively reschedule if needed, rather than discovering at the last minute that a panelist cannot attend.

Of course, the efficient and easy electronic communication continues to have its esteemed place in qualitative recruiting.  And yet, we’re keeping that old friend, the phone call, because there’s nothing like a “Hello?” for building a connection across the physical and virtual divide.