Interviewing for market research #2: the 5 steps of writing a good script
Congratulations, you got in! You will get the time and the attention of the person you want to interview. Now you need to write the right script that will keep your interviewee on board, while getting your research questions answered. We take you through 5 essential steps on how to write a good script for your market research telephone interview.
1. Make your introduction; deliver the pitch
In order to get an appointment for the interview, you most likely already shared this information with the company or the person which you are going to interview. However, that probably took place a few days or even weeks ago. So, it’s good to start with a short (!) summary of the research you are working on and the purpose of the interview. This is your pitch. Make sure it’s good – it makes the person on the other line understand the importance of the conversation that is about to take place and keeps both you and your interviewee focused.
2. Address the terms of confidentiality and the format of the interview
Write down the terms of confidentiality you can and want to offer. Next, formulate the format of the interview. Do you want your interviewee to ask questions when they have them during the interview, or do you want them to wait until the end of the interview? Also, set a timeline for the interview – how long do you estimate it taking? Ask for permission to record the interview, and conclude by asking if they have any questions before you start.
3. Formulate your questions
The key to a successful interview lies with a good structure. Group your questions in themes that follow a logical sequence. Highlight the questions which you really need to get answers to, and write down a few questions that border daring. If you don’t ask, they won’t tell. You can put them on a designated section of your script, and ask them when you think the timing is right.
Extra tips for formulating questions:
- Group questions in themes you have come up with
- Start with the easier questions, the ones that can be answered quickly. Then move on to the more controversial or daring ones
- Avoid long lists of fact-based questions, because they tend to leave interviewees disengaged.
- Make sure your questions are clear and easy to understand
- Formulate open questions, to avoid yes or no answers
- Be careful not to ask two questions in one sentence
- It is your job to do the analyzing. This means you should not ask questions that require your interviewee to do the analysis for you
- Prepare follow-up questions. The purpose of a follow-up question is to get the interviewee to elaborate on his/her answer. Examples are: could you say more about that? Or: what do you mean by that?
With the structure standing, be aware that it’s your job to be flexible, and tailor the interview to the respondent as the conversation progresses.
4. Prepare the ending
At the end of the interview, it’s time to go back to your script. Make sure you ask if he or she has any further questions. Ask if you can contact them for subsequent questions, and provide your contact details in case the interviewee wishes to contact you. Also, remember to conclude by thanking the person on the other line for their time.
5. Keep room for improvement
Good market research requires more than one interview per study. So, it’s important to learn from each interview. Once you have completed the interview, reflect on how it went. Was there anything you could have done better? Do you need to add any questions or topic areas? Is there anything extra you should have explained to the interviewee?
Now you have everything you need on paper. The next step to success is: how to deliver with the right tone of voice. Read more about this in part 3 of this series on how to interview for market research by phone. You are in the phase of reaching out to prospected interviewees? Have a look at our ultimate guide on how to get in.
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