By Jennifer Weeks, founder and president of InsideOut Insights, a boutique qualitative market research firm.

This new tool brings depth of findings, emotion and storytelling to quantitative research. HappyToSay allows us to bypass the standard qualitative research recruiting timelines, taking you from field to topline in five days or less. Reports come alive when you can hear respondents’ voices and see their faces as they offer their opinions.

Our market research experts at InsideOut Insights found a lack of options for quant-integrated in-depth video interviews that allow real-time probing and follow-up. To meet this need, we’ve developed a new qualitative research tool, HappyToSay, that brings depth of findings, including emotion and storytelling, to quantitative research in a fast, cost-efficient way. We launched this new software in October 2020. 

The InsideOut Insights brand is built on our strong qualitative research skills. HappyToSay is not just about offering a new technology, but about leveraging our key strength – namely, our extremely effective moderators – in a new way.

HappyToSay embeds into quantitative survey platforms and allows participants to complete moderated online video interviews that are conducted by specially trained moderators, in real time. Clients receive the video files and analysis in five days or less from question design to analysis, bypassing the standard recruiting timelines for in-person focus groups. The tool adds the storytelling behind the numbers, enhances insights through follow-up questions and provides richer deliverables with video clips.

We developed the product with Rex Direct and partnered with Harris Insights & Analytics to beta test HappyToSay, ensuring that it works seamlessly from a quantitative perspective. Karen Chiarelli, vice president of Research Services and Operations of Harris Insights & Analytics, says, “InsideOut Insights has been a qualitative partner of Harris Insights & Analytics for many years, and collectively, we are always looking for new ways to innovate and add value to our consultative research services.”

Getting the story behind the numbers

Quantitative research offers a certain amount of depth. It can tell you in scale the number of people who prefer one thing over another, but you really miss the emotion that you get from seeing people’s faces. With HappyToSay, probing by expert moderators encourages respondents to talk about how they feel, which gets you to the story – particularly in this day and age, when everything has become so much about entertainment, storytelling, drama and emotion. This tool gives you the feelings and emotions with the projectability of quant.

HappyToSay pushes respondents beyond the obvious answer, forcing clarification and elaboration as needed to go deeper than quantitative responses that are numerical or one-sentence responses. This shows a more complete, richer picture of what’s important to buyers and what makes them tick.

Some of the gaps or issues addressed by HappyToSay include: 

  • Needing more depth of information from a respondent, even though they already answered in the survey. 
  • Needing to figure out why an answer didn’t make sense.
  • Wanting to add more questions, but it would make the survey too long.
  • Capturing quotes to augment deliverables.

The interview prompt can be placed anywhere in the survey to capture real-time feedback, which means that the moderator is interviewing the respondent at precisely the point where the relevant topic fits. This allows the moderator to probe for deeper insights immediately. After the interview with the moderator, the respondent is seamlessly returned to the survey to complete the rest of the questions.  

“The biggest reason to choose HappyToSay is to deliver more value to our clients,” says Chiarelli of Harris. “You get more immediate feedback from a target respondent: ‘Why did you say that? Why do you feel that way?’ With HappyToSay, we can get those additional insights to help our clients better inform their marketing and business decisions.” She adds, “Since we can’t be in-person right now, the live video capture adds that ‘in-person’ feel to a quantitative survey. (Who now has not heard of Zoom?)”

Specially trained moderators use probing to uncover insights

A key feature of HappyToSay is the trained moderators standing by to conduct the interviews. InsideOut Insights moderators have the expertise to know just the right follow-up questions to ask to increase insights and understanding. They have also completed a training and certification module that was specifically designed for this software.

InsideOut Insights staff members have a collective 80 years of experience in the market research field, and this product shares our considerable knowledge and depth of skill. It makes a big difference to have an experienced moderator who can draw out interviewees and phrase questions in the most productive ways.

A faster, more cost-effective option

Ken Lethbridge, our vice president of operations, says speed is king, and HappyToSay’s method of conducting quantitative and qualitative research simultaneously rather than sequentially makes timelines substantially faster. The HappyToSay market research methodology provides results in five days or less from field to topline. Its average turnaround is two business days after fielding is complete. And the cost is as little as one-third the amount of a traditional in-person interview.

There are two versions of this online platform. The first option, HappyToSay Now, has certified moderators interview respondents immediately for 10-to-15 minutes each, or whatever length is needed to meet the objective. Afterward, respondents can be returned seamlessly to the quantitative survey platform to complete the survey. The second option, HappyToSay Later, schedules a time convenient for the respondent to be interviewed by a trained moderator for 20-to-30 minutes, or as long as the objective demands. The platform can also schedule online focus groups.

With both options, moderators sort through and flag the best video clips that speak directly and articulately to the objective. The end client receives video clips within five days or less as easily usable MP4 files.

Seamless integration with survey platforms

The software was programmed by marketing firm Rex Direct, benefiting from their technical expertise and deep knowledge of the market research industry. Jennine T. Rexon, CEO of Rex Direct, says that HappyToSay allows for easy transition from survey to in-depth webcam interview to survey again.

Interviewees don’t need to download any special software, since HappyToSay integrates with nearly all major survey platforms. It’s also compliant with all major web browsers, making it easy for nearly all respondents to complete the interview without technical issues.

“A collaboration made sense to bring together the best of Rex Direct and InsideOut Insights to drive innovation in the industry,” Rexon says. “HappyToSay offers clients fast and cost-effective research studies that can influence their product’s direction.”

The nuts and bolts of how it works

For the person being interviewed, the process is as straightforward as taking an online survey and following a few simple directions. The HappyToSay platform integrates with an existing quantitative survey of the client’s choice, or multiple surveys.

The participant doesn’t even have to click away from the web browser window they’re using to take the survey. Here’s how it works:

  • First, the participant begins an online quantitative survey and answers a few questions. 
  • If they meet the predetermined survey logic and qualify for an in-person interview, they see a prompt asking, “Would you like to participate in a one-on-one interview about our topic?” This prompt can be placed at any point in the survey to capture real-time feedback.
  • For HappyToSay Now: If the participant selects “Yes,” they are placed in a queue to speak immediately by live video chat with a trained moderator. A screen with brief written instructions asks them to allow access to their computer’s microphone and camera. The participant can choose to use audio-only if they prefer.
  • For HappyToSay Later: If the participant selects “Yes,” they are presented with a scheduling screen where they can select a preset time slot within the next 24 hours. The software will email a reminder and link to the participant.
  • Respondents’ quantitative answers are shared through the platform with the moderator, allowing them to probe effectively.
  • The interview begins, and when it has completed, the moderator clicks a button to end the video chat and uses a rating feature to flag how relevant the interview was to the survey objectives.
  • At this point, the participant is returned to the quantitative survey in their web browser and can easily pick up where they left off.
  • As an added motivation, the interviewee is offered an incentive for their participation.

Gap in research methods creates impetus for innovation

We had been looking for a platform that allows us to capture a respondent’s thoughts right in the moment, but the available software for quant/qual integration was lacking in functionality. For example, some products offered interviewing by text only, while others included video but no real-time probing.

The idea for HappyToSay was several years in the making. The change and uncertainty of the current global crisis have offered a silver lining for our product team, in giving us time and space to bring this new solution to market. It gave us the opportunity to expand our offerings and move forward all the ideas we had already had but didn’t have the opportunity to put into practice.

Added value with video deliverables

Video clips have come to dominate so much of how people absorb news, entertainment and cute cats on the internet. The richer insights provided by real-time probing by trained moderators, plus the added bonus of capturing responses on video, leads to more engaging ways to present research results to stakeholders. While tables and graphs to represent quantitative results continue to be useful, the ability to also embed video clips from HappyToSay helps get the message across in a lively way. 

We also offer an option to have the most relevant segments selected and compiled into a shorter, edited clip, for an additional charge.

Understanding buyers as people, not just data points

We see HappyToSay as a natural progression of how the advent of the internet allowed brands to go straight to consumers, cutting out the middleman. Brands need to understand and see into the lives of who they’re selling to, as a person and not just a data point. HappyToSay is a valuable tool that combines with the scale and projectability of quantitative research, which is needed to validate ideas before moving forward.

If you have any questions or would like a demonstration of the platform, visit our webpage or contact Ken Lethbridge at klethbridge@insideoutinsights.com or 585-746-3432.