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Perspectives from Joey Harmon of Harmon Research

What advice would you give to a client looking for a sampling company?

Almost all sampling companies preach quality. Find someone who takes ownership in their respondents and is transparent with you about their data-quality practices. Ask what the sampling company does for quality control. Are they looking at your actual data or simply sending you respondents – thus making data quality your issue not theirs? Our firm takes it a step further with our proprietary program DataDefense, a multi-step process where quality-control personnel review the data, line by line, to ensure high-quality insights. We are responsible for respondents and don’t just send out samples to a survey platform. We differentiate ourselves by being researchers more than a sampling firm. 

How can sampling companies stand out in a competitive industry?

Our customer relationships and service standards make us stand out. We currently work with over 30 clients and 30,000 completed respondents in any given month. Ninety-five percent of our clients are repeat customers. Rarely are two clients the same and it takes time to learn all the intricacies of each client’s needs but doing so is the basis of a mutually beneficial long-term relationship. Turnover is a good indication of how a company is run and its staff is treated and – by extension – how it cares for its customers. We have an outstanding management team who makes it all happen and are proud of our low turnover rate. 

How has Harmon Research evolved in recent years?

We started as a phone center 12 years ago, establishing a niche for hard-to-find targets. However, as we moved away from phone calling to online for our data collection, we remained the go-to company for hard-to-find respondents. Our biggest goal for 2022 is to increase our panel supply of African American and Hispanic respondents. Client demand is heavy here yet we see a large gap in the industry for these folks. Recently, we completed 400 surveys in a small DMA with 100% African Americans. It has taken a lot of work but we have learned several do’s and don’ts that will guide future efforts. Two years ago, we would have turned away this work, claiming it couldn’t be done. Four years ago, we would have done it via telephone. But today we expect our supply to double in the next few months and will continue to focus on quality respondents.

Joey Harmon, President and Founder