NEWS7 July 2009

Fieldwork boss warns against compromising on quality

UK

UK— Fieldwork agency boss Tony Bird is urging buyers of interviewing services not to sacrifice quality in favour of cost amid severe price competition in the marketplace.

Bird, a director of Barnet-based FieldVision, says his firm is being undercut by rivals who are not accredited by the Interviewer Quality Control Scheme (IQCS), which sets minimum standards for the recruitment, training and appraisal of fieldwork staff and the implementation of various administrative and data validation procedures.

“Some clients have clearly not heard of the IQCS and know nothing of the quality issues. Others simply don’t care about it,” said Bird. “In other words, they want the cheapest price possible and are not necessarily concerned that the data may be questionable. In these cases I feel sorry for the end clients, who possibly have no inkling of this at all.”

IQCS chairman Penny Steele acknowledged that undercutting was rife in the market at the present time, having witnessed it first-hand as managing director of data collection firm FML, which is part of the Cello research and marketing group.

However, she said, price competition was coming from IQCS members and non-members alike. “There are IQCS companies that are undercutting, but that is a management decision,” she said.

“It is a hard economic climate out there,” said Steele, “but members I have spoken to would never for one second consider diluting their standards.”

IQCS is in the middle of renewals and Steele said indications are good that membership will hold up, if not grow, as four new companies have applied to join. She said interest in the scheme had been higher in the past six months than it was last year.

@RESEARCH LIVE

1 Comment

11 years ago

It goes without saying that the economy is in a mess. No one is immune. And while banks and governments are getting most of the press, the rest of us are feeling immense pain. But you already know this - you read the headlines. It's sobering. In the current economic climate it’s understandable that Clients want to save money and the cost of all projects will be scrutinised carefully. Frankly, I can’t remember a time when project costs weren’t carefully scrutinised it’s just the recession now means we can openly talk about it. In my view most Clients want what they have always wanted: cost effective high quality fieldwork. During volatile times risk aversion increases and there is a flight to quality. The fact that IQCS membership looks likely to grow confirms a flight to quality event is already happening. If anything I would expect the IQCS to benefit right now because when things are unstable Clients become more risk averse and want to move away from potentially risky fieldwork suppliers and place their projects with the firms they know will deliver for them.

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