Shifting to Virtual Qualitative Research With Digital Rewards

  • author

    Maanya Kalra

  • posted

    Feb 09, 2021

  • topic

    Case Studies

Shifting to Virtual Qualitative Research With Digital Rewards

The beauty of qualitative research is its ‘human angle,’ one that has traditionally been captured in an in-person format. The shift to digital research has been accelerated due to the coronavirus pandemic and its related cutbacks on physical interaction. Capturing the essence of the ‘people side of research,’ or qualitative insights, can seem daunting over a screen. Having clients with digital research needs, New Orleans’ top focus group facility, New Orleans Perspectives, was already on the path of employing digital incentives before the pandemic. However, the last few months have helped the facility realize the benefits of this service in more ways than one.

Taking Market Research Digital amid a Pandemic

Effective research solutions are a valued service, especially in today’s times. They provide insight into the changes in consumer preferences and sentiment rendered by the ongoing market turmoil. To continue doing research safely, facilities like New Orleans Perspectives made the wise decision of going digital early. Shifting all of your processes with focus group participants to a digital format can be a challenging task. From recruiting participants, moderating the group, and finally, paying out incentives – a remote way of execution was required each step of the way for all clients.

Having conducted digital focus groups for a few clients in the past, New Orleans Perspectives was not new to the concept of virtual qualitative research. “We had experimented with non-in person incentives for certain clients,” said Chris Cantrall, the Vice President of New Orleans Perspectives. But switching all their clients to the digital format meant managing each step of the process with efficiency. While recruitment, preparation and moderation of a session could be conducted over phone calls (panels) as well as Zoom, the incentives process demanded a creative solution.

75% Decrease in Time Spent on Incentives

New Orleans Perspectives is a major focus group facility and their payment procedures could entail significant manpower and hours. So, the facility’s reasons for choosing a digital incentives system were two-fold: first, meeting the demands of the pandemic-hit market and second, resolving issues with their physical payment processes.

The facility used checks for the majority of their clientele before the pandemic. This system of physical payment did not only require a good amount of time and effort, but also failed to complete the process as desired. The facility found that many people simply did not cash their checks. The issue of incomplete physical payments gave them the drive to shift to a digital incentives system. “We always knew we needed a change when we worked with checks and mail,” said Chris.

Their first experience was with another rewarding platform that offered free services initially – only to provide unsatisfactory redemption rates upon usage. “When a platform undercuts you, it’s the worst.” Chris said, explaining how their previous platform was clunky with a challenging user interface that failed to send out rewards in a timely manner. “People called in all the time wondering where their rewards were.” Then there was also the problem of double sent rewards to single recipients. “This could happen easily if we did not double check,” he said, lamenting that his team would have to spend over 10 hours a month dealing with discrepancies caused by the platform. The facility switched over to Rybbon after the double rewards incident and finally found themselves working with a seamless digital rewarding system. “With Rybbon, everything has worked out smoothly to a point where we’re considering moving completely to digital, even when we go back in-person.” The facility has seen a 75% decrease in the amount of time spent on managing the payments system and can now re-send a reward in a few clicks should an incomplete payment pop up.

Researchers and their Clients Prefer Digital Incentives

It was in November 2019 that New Orleans Perspectives committed to making a change. “We saw emails from Rybbon and signed up to do a webinar.” shared Chris. A couple of months later, in a pandemic-hit world, going digital was no more a choice and online incentives became even more important. Before Rybbon, only 10% of New Orleans Perspectives’ incentives were online – and now, none are sent out physically. The facility assists their clients by managing their digital incentives, which fits in well as an addition to their existing offerings.

New Orleans Perspectives enjoys a seamless process with the help of Rybbon’s customer-oriented team. “Mike is great,” shares Chris about Michael Sheehan, Rybbon’s dedicated Account Executive for the facility. The dramatic reduction in the number of payment issues, and subsequently, the time spent on resolving these issues makes the process much easier. The facility now gets to focus on what they do best – deriving qualitative insights for their clients – rather than worry about rewards. “People now go to Rybbon’s customer service if they have questions about their reward,” Chris said. “That saves us a lot of time.” The redemption rates have also increased significantly. “Previously if we sent out 40 incentives we might still have 10 that go unclaimed, now we’re hardly left with even 2.”

According to an article on, having a differentiating factor from the crowd is among the top 5 challenges for market researchers today. Therefore, staying relevant with changing technology is a prime concern. New Orleans Perspectives found that their ability to manage digital incentives is valued by their clients. Using Rybbon and Airtable in unison, the focus group facility is implementing 360 degree digitalization: “At the end of the call, we do the math with clients and they almost always think it’s a good idea to go the digital incentives route!”

Offer Reward Options for Participants in Sensitive Industries or Government

The richness of qualitative research lies in the variety of participants. Participants can come from different backgrounds and it is significant to understand their needs in order to conduct effective research. “Sometimes we target participants who are in sensitive industries or the government, who don’t want to take money,” explains Chris as he highlights Rybbon’s e-donation options. The facility also uses the approval process offered by Rybbon, which they can simply delegate to a manager for a smooth hand-off. The facility also loves Rybbon’s other features, including the campaign builder, user permissions for accessing different reward campaigns, and the overall ease of set-up and use.

As facilities like New Orleans Perspectives work to ensure qualitative research is as efficient and useful as pre-pandemic times, services like Rybbon support their transition into the digital world and help them stay focused. It’s with synergies such as these that market researchers can get the insights they need, even with the ongoing disruptions.

Would You Like to Join Our Long List of Happy Customers?

In times of shifting entire operations to digital, transitioning to digital incentives should not be an added headache. Rybbon’s user-friendly, seamless digital rewards platform is trusted by more than a thousand brands. Want to learn more about how Rybbon can help you thrive in these changing times and be future-ready? Request a free demo now!

about the author
Maanya Kalra

Maanya Kalra is a research professional with experience in qualitative and people-oriented research across industries.

Maanya Kalra is a research professional with experience in qualitative and people-oriented research across industries.