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Revealing what people really think

  • What do people think about your products or your sector as a whole?
  • What do customers think about the service from your branches or call centre?
  • What makes them choose one financial services provider and not another?
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Imagine you need to show convincingly in a sales training video DVD or multimedia what customers or the general public really think; how do you do this?

Focus groups are a very effective way of generating a large amount of authentic and revealing video footage. To prevent the result being just a series of talking heads, we would add a variety of scenes showing what the focus group members are talking about – customers in a branch, people walking in a street, a busy call centre or whatever is appropriate. These scenes and partial reconstructions would be made anonymous to avoid any problems of privacy or confidentiality.

We developed just such a concept for a financial services company with call centres in India. The problem was that the Indians saw the British as they might have done in films from the 1950s with John Gregson, John Mills and Sylvia Sims – decent, reserved and cultured, speaking RP English. They did not expect people to be rude, to speak in incomprehensible accents or to have a careless attitude to money. 

Focus Group Video Solution

Our solution was a matrix of focus groups, two in each of three locations, London, Manchester and Glasgow. This allowed for a variety of accents, ages and socio-economic groups. To get people to speak frankly, each focus group should be made up of people of a similar profile, so no-one feels out of place. The group should be conducted by a professional moderator, who will be experienced in keeping the discussion on track so all the topics are covered, and who will make sure that everyone gets involved. Six focus groups, shot over three days, would produce up to 10 hours of video footage – more than enough to create four or five revealing videos on topics important to your business.

Shooting Video on Sensitive Topics

Employees’ opinions can be more of a problem. They will be conscious that their input will be seen by colleagues and by their boss. If the issues they discuss are not sensitive, they may be happy to appear on video. Even so, we would avoid shooting them in groups. We would exclude other members of staff while they are in front of camera and then only show the company edited clips, leaving out anything that might be embarrassing or compromising.

If the issues discussed are sensitive, whether involving employees or real-life customers (as opposed to a focus group drawn from the general public), another technique we use is to interview people one-to-one, either face-to-face or on the phone. We make an audio record of the interviews. These interviews are transcribed and edited to remove any identifiers, before we turn the best bits into a video script for the client to approve. This script is then delivered on video by professional actors speaking to camera as if they were being interviewed. We explain at the start of the video that these are the views of real customers or employees, performed by actors.

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