Relief from the Reporting Silly Season
With the end of the year rapidly approaching, the rush to get projects completed and sent to clients by year-end is here.
The extra pressure in this period does bring with it resourcing challenges and can lead companies to consider outsourcing certain aspects of the market research process – with reporting being one of those aspects which are regularly outsourced. Outsourcing is the right approach for many companies when it is well planned and executed with the ‘right’ outsourcers for the job – however, too often than not, clients have encountered many problems with outsourcing and it has, in fact, taken longer than if the process was completed in-house. Through conversations I’ve had with clients over many years, there are a couple of key frustrations which they’ve encountered which I thought would be useful to pass on.
Firstly, the issue of COMMUNICATION. Often projects are outsourced to different continents and that creates a challenge in terms of communication efficiency and time delay. Particularly in response to questions and issues encountered during the process. Despite living in an ever-increasingly connected world, geographic time zones can still cause an issue in communication. Rather than having someone on the end of the phone that the client (or outsourcer) can quickly call to clarify something, an email is sent. With the time difference, the response is often a day later, further delaying the report delivery.
At E-Tabs we have reporting teams based in the UK, US and the Asia Pacific and therefore are always available to answer questions and ensure communication and delivery are prompt. Our service bureaus operate as an extension of your own team, ensuring you hit your report delivery target. Communication is key to an effective outsource service and we have the teams in the right place, at the right time and speaking your language to ensure there are no breakdowns or delays due to communication issues.
Another issue regularly faced is QUALITY, both in terms of the final deliverable and also the outsourcing workforce. A report’s accuracy is paramount in any market research process; a mistake in the report could jeopardize the integrity of the entire project and significantly reduce the potential of repeat business for that particular agency. In terms of outsourcing, quality can be a frustration encountered by the client, particularly with regards to mistakes in the delivered reports. Often, outsourcing companies employ many entry-level employees who are doing a manual job, and on a huge scale. The repetitive nature of the work is the perfect breeding ground for manual errors, which in turn add to your workload and decrease confidence in the final numbers being delivered. It is imperative to ensure all the hard work undertaken throughout a project is not undone by simple copy & paste type errors at the final hurdle.
Our Bureau Reporting Service utilises our industry-leading report automation software E-Tabs Enterprise, which cuts out any risk of human error through manual work and copy & paste. This not only results in speedy production and delivery of reports but also ensures the accuracy of the numbers as it cuts out the error-prone manual process.
Not only is it a case of accuracy potentially being compromised by the fact that most outsource suppliers are taking on the work manually (and any manual process can potentially provide human error), but also the lack of research knowledge and a lack of understanding the specific project in detail.
I remember one client mentioning outsourcing a dashboard project to a web design company where they had to literally label where every single point of the visualization was coming from, and what that specific data point meant. The amount of time involved in this process would outweigh the amount of time it actually saved the client by outsourcing.
Also, fluctuations in the outsourcing company’s workforce can lead to a destabilization of the overall quality of the report delivery – someone working on the project last month may have left and been replaced by a junior position.
Whether utilizing our Bureau Reporting Service to automate your PowerPoint reports or our Dashboards Design Service for interactive reporting, we work with you on a project-by-project basis. The two teams are always busy as more as more companies decide to utilise our services in favour of resourcing parts of their reporting and visualisation in-house. When working with E-Tabs you are working with a dedicated project manager and an experienced research reporting team. We pride ourselves on being an extension to your own team, often advising and providing added value to projects. Our team ensure you get great understanding and assistance and our methods ensure top quality in the final presentations. We understand market research and also are at the end of the phone to pick up on client issues or for further project clarification.
Our dedication to quality, to our clients and to the levels of service we provide were recently recognized in the MRS Operations Awards for ‘Best Support Service’, with our Bureau Reporting Service finalists in 2016 and our Dashboard Design Service winners in 2017.
So, if you are feeling the pressure of the research report silly season then get in touch with us to help ease the burden and the workload. We will ensure you hit that project deadline, with clear and timely communication throughout the process, and a quality of service and report that cannot be beaten.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Russ has two pet hates – manually creating research reports … and his football team losing. He advises insight teams and agencies around the world on improving their reporting efficiency – but sadly can’t do much about his team losing!
If you would like to talk with Russ about any charting, reporting or data visualization project you have, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.