Why a market research agency will use questions sparingly

A phone based, B2B market research agency like Blue Donkey is tasked to get as much information as possible, using as few questions as possible. This is because decision makers within organisations may be happy to share information in order to help improve their supply chain or their industry but they won’t usually be willing to spend more than a short time doing so.

It’s also important to remember that questions help get a conversation going, to find out more about an organisation, and to steer the call in the right direction. Most people will respond better to one or two open questions than they will to lots of closed ones. After all, nobody wants to feel they’re being fired questions machine-gun fashion. The professional B2B market research agency will be mindful of this and will be clear that the number of questions which can be asked in any one conversation is limited.

Different types of questions

Closed questions invite a single word answer, typically yes or no, but could include words such as like or dislike. They are great for creating a simple to understand numerically presented report but are best used with surveys that are not driven by human interaction like telemarketing or face to face. Probing questions are similar to open questions but they are usually drilling down on a particular detail. Where open are usually broad, probing questions are useful for clarification.

The types of questions a market research agency would use for telephone research are similar to those used in the toolbox of telemarketing. There are lots that are more suitable for written or online surveys. Experts at type talk describe the most popular methods including Funnel questions, Recall & Process questions, and Rhetorical questions, among others. They are interesting to know about when you’re planning research, and are great for helping us identify when we’re being funnelled or led by the ear!

Open question for the phone based market research agency

Open questions are those that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no response. They are an important tool in telemarketing generally but for market research they can be pivotal. Market research agency surveys that are created as part of a B2B telemarketing project are usually reliant on flowing responses that fall into the category of qualitative research. This method of research usually falls into the remit of professional telemarketers who are good at asking questions that generate multidimensional answers, much like a good telemarketing call. In qualitative surveys the data collected is not all numerically presented, it’s usually presented in words and paragraphs, but supported by data collected numerically for emphasis.

Avoid hard questionnaires

Conducting research within your own four walls can work as well as outsourcing to a market research agency, particularly if you only need a dozen or so surveys. Make the most of your precious few questions, avoid using a rigid questionnaire, and do what you’d normally do to get respondents talking naturally. When telemarketers follow a rigid formula for their calls, whether they’re scripts or surveys, they don’t have the flexibility required to be able to adjust the conversation or clarify a piece of information. The telemarketer won’t be able to discover anything interesting or build up any kind of rapport during the conversation.


An expert market research agency like Blue Donkey will be able to use the information they gather during a call to ask questions that are insightful and useful. Our telemarketers know that the more you listen to your respondent, the easier it will be to tailor around their answers to get a better picture of their world. Often the really valuable soundbites come from information that has dropped into the call by way of anecdotal comment that can be delved into deeper.

Silence is golden

The idea of silence in a telephone call can be unnerving. However, using silence in the right way can be just as powerful as asking lots of questions. For example, a market research agency will train staff to recognise when silence is or isn’t helpful. At Blue Donkey, our teams are taught to ask an open question and pause. A common human response to the awkward silence might be to jump in with a multiple choice option or to prompt or lead an answer. This serves only to relieve the person asking the questions, for the respondent, the silence is thinking time. For a market research agency, this thinking time can allow respondents to deliver the very best insight. While it takes confidence and a little courage to leave a long pause after a question, it can produce impressive results.

Learn more about our market research agency, or our intelligent telemarketing techniques take a look around our site or getting in touch with a member of our team.

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