What is a focus group?
For companies with growth ambitions, customer feedback is practically indispensable. This applies equally to almost all industries. Yet market research teams must always ask themselves the question: Which method is best for us to obtain meaningful customer feedback?
Gathering customer feedback via a focus group is a method of market research that is used less frequently than surveys with individuals. This is mainly because it requires more effort. In return, it offers important results about products and services from a different perspective. For example, social relationships within the group can be observed in group interviews.
For a focus group, a small group of people is assembled in an interactive setting (a room or an online video conference). Specific topics are then discussed under the guidance of a trained moderator. How effective such a group interview is depends on the quality of the discussion guide on the one hand, and on the skills of the moderator on the other. Her task is therefore to stimulate discussion and the exchange of ideas.
From the analysis of the focus group questionnaires, companies receive meaningful and qualitative data from actual users and potential customers. With the knowledge gained from the focus group, processes can be designed flexibly, changes can be implemented immediately, and certain topics can be intensified further.
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Advantages and disadvantages of a focus group
To make an informed decision for or against a focus group, you need to know the advantages and disadvantages compared to a survey.
- It discusses ideas and issues that have not been considered before but are important to the clientele
- Facilitators can be flexible to address issues that arise only during the course of the discussion.
- Customers can give feedback in their own words. This gives companies the most personal type of customer feedback.
- There are higher costs compared to surveys (participant search, compensation, room rental, moderator, etc.).
- Due to the dominance of individual participants*, the results can be distorted.
- There may be difficulties in finding the appropriate participants and thus an increased expenditure of time.
- Organizing a focus group and having it take place involves a lot of time and effort.
Possibilities for using focus groups
To find out if organizing a focus group is the right decision for the customer feedback you are looking for, it is a good idea to answer the following questions:
- Are the answers from a questionnaire sufficient or is an in-depth conversation with follow-up questions and detailed explanations necessary?
- Is a trend specification (e.g. What is the product still missing?) or statistical evidence (e.g. Which group of people has already bought the product?) needed?
- Are a few expressions of opinion enough or is a larger sample necessary for decisions?
Generally, a focus group is more suitable for an intensive conversation about the product and the intended course. For specific questions and a large customer base, surveys are often the better decision. A compromise on the company side is the combination of both methods, as together they provide important insights, for example, for product development.
4 tips for getting relevant data from a questionnaire for a focus group
To get usable data from a focus group depends on a variety of factors. One of the most important is proper questionnaire design and focus group handling. The following tips will help you get the most out of such a group interview:
- Right use
It is important to use focus groups in a targeted manner, e.g. during a launch, relaunch or similar. Here, above all, the customer experience is a central guideline, which must be investigated by customer journey mapping.
The analysis of the data, should focus on the following questions:
- What is the previous Customer experience?
- What are weak points?
- What changes need to be made?
- How can these be implemented step by step and effectively?
- Good climate
It is essential to set up a harmonious team. People who understand each other, support each other and are not too different (for example, in terms of age). In this way, the team meets each other at eye level and conflicts, as well as hierarchy thoughts, are avoided.
A good focus group always remains in mutual dialogue. Intra-group meetings as well as with the team leads help to keep the overview. In the process, progress and obstacles can be communicated.
Get better data with a digital tool
Lumiform’s intuitive and mobile tool makes it easier for companies to collect data during group interviews. Focus group discussions can be easily documented via a tablet or smartphone and securely stored in the cloud.
Digital questionnaires and checklists securely capture demographic data, insights, opinions and preferences. The good thing for focus groups: The digital templates can be adapted and expanded at any time and supplemented with notes and visuals.
Lumiform offers corporate market research teams the following benefits:
- Every individual paper list becomes a digital checklist or questionnairewithin minutes thanks to the flexible form builder.
- Get started immediately and save time with a pre-made template from the Lumiform library
- Document intense focus group conversations on the spot with ease via the super intuitive mobile app.
- Bundle all results automatically in one report – saving all the post-processing and send immediately to stakeholders.
- Comprehensive analytics help evaluate the data obtained and use it for product development and improvement, as well as compare group interviews with each other.