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Leveraging Virtual Voice-Response Interviews for Diabetes Panel Concept Testing

One of our longtime clients recently engaged with us to collect physician feedback on two diabetes-related diagnostic testing panels. Their research objectives were to elicit PCP and Endocrinologist perceptions of the two panels, understand how and where each would be used, and ultimately determine the value of offering both. Because rollout was impending, rapid insights were needed to inform their decision.


To obtain nuanced information quickly, our solution was a two-phase research plan: Phase 1 included a handful of web-assisted telephone in-depth interviews to qualitatively explore the objectives, and Phase 2 included Virtual Voice-response Interviews (VVIs) to capture feedback from a broader set of customers on select questions, identified during Phase 1.


So, what are VVIs?

Imagine a potential customer leaving you a thoughtful 10-minute voicemail that addresses your 8-10 most pressing questions. Now imagine getting close to 30 of those voicemails. Pretty cool, right? With this method, pre-qualified respondents dial in to a phone line that has been programmed with a short list of interview questions. Respondents listen to the automated questions then provide a verbal response to each. Depending on the study, respondents can also review brief stimuli prior to beginning the interview and answer questions about it.


Why did they work so well?

For this study, VVIs were particularly advantageous for several key reasons:

  • The asynchronous nature of this format makes them respondent-friendly for especially busy physicians – the VVIs allowed us to steal just a few minutes of time to collect detailed feedback from PCPs and endocrinologists, both of whom have notoriously packed schedules.
  • They bring the voice-of-the-customer to life through various voice-analysis techniques. We were able to dive deeply into a physician’s reactions to these panels, by analyzing not only the content of her responses, but also her sentiment, mood, and arousal via natural language and voice signal processing – for example, was she confused about the panels? Optimistic about how they could help her practice?
  • Importantly, VVIs also offer the benefits of decreased timelinesdecreased cost, and increased sample size versus traditional qual techniques like in-person or phone in-depth interviews. These benefits were integral to the success of our study, as our client had both timeline and budget constraints.


When should they not be used?

Although VVIs were an ideal second phase for this research, they are not right for every study. Some situations in which VVIs would not be appropriate include:

  • Research with complex stimuli that requires a guided and lengthy description
  • Studies where it is important for respondents to build off each other’s answers
  • Studies with more than 8-10 key questions or a significant amount of probing
  • Research that is highly exploratory in nature and may require fine tuning after the initial interviews

VVIs are a fresh, innovative, and convenient way to glean the voice of your customer. While they can be appropriate on their own, we have had good success using them to follow an exploratory phase which tightens up the key research questions. Add VVIs to your research toolkit and consider them next time you need rapid answers to a few hot topics.