An experienced moderator using a well-prepared guide knows how to garner the views of discussion participants. Group discussion also has the advantage of providing an environment in which participants can confront their opinions, explore them and then expand their views. A diverse range of techniques can be used in these discussions, including collage, sentence completion tests, personification and many others. Such techniques are typically used to obtain more in-depth knowledge of the subject area and enrich it with less-obvious opinions.
Group discussions feature around eight participants. The discussions typically take place in focus studios equipped with devices enabling audio and/or video recording, a live view of the study through a two-way mirror and online transmission using web-streaming technology (e.g. focus vision in those instances where a client needs to watch the discussion from a remote site). Mystery Shopping
The mystery shopper or caller research technique is most commonly used when assessing staff behavior toward customers, examining consumer behavior in real-life conditions and evaluating the environment in which specific products are sold.
Mystery shopping is used to assess the quality of service provided by stores and customer service points. The person playing the part of the mystery shopper performs pre-determined tasks, such as enquiring about a particular service or offering, buying a product or filing a complaint. Throughout the process, the mystery shopper observes the behavior of the attending employee and, upon leaving the sales environment, records his or her observations on a specially prepared form.
This technique can also be used to review the quality of customer service provided over the telephone.
The basis for assessing the quality of service should be a defined benchmark of behavior that has previously been demonstrated or taught to those people involved in providing customer service (i.e. in the form of internal customer service quality standards or training).