Wednesday, June 29, 2011

GO wants to know but you need to go out of your way to tell them

from Cxxxx Bxxxxxx
Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Go focus group
11:18 AM (22 hours ago)

Hi CJ,

I recently agreed to participate in a focus group for Go Transit. I got a call last night to verify that I was an acceptable candidate. After asking several questions for about 10 minutes, the caller asked if I could be there 10 min before the start of the session. "Possibly, but you haven't told me where it is being held." She responds "It is at Yonge and Davisville". "Sorry, I had expected it to be closer to Union Station, given that's where we all need to be to get home eventually."

Unbelievable! They couldn't find any space at: Union Station, a downtown hotel, an office tower or one of the many convention centres? And why couldn't the location have been given at the beginning of the interview? How about with the online invitation from "let Go know"? What a waste on time doing the online survey and the telephone interview.

They offered $75 compensation which was acceptable for 2 hours in the focus group but then it began to morph into..... + arrive 10 min early, + $6 TTC fare + all the extra time commuting to and from Davisville and possibly waiting around at union for the next train or bus. No thanks. I value my time even if Go doesn't.

Thanks for letting me vent
What I don't understand is why they would even expect people to attend a Toronto location. Why not set up these meetings at stations near Whitby, Clarkson, Ajax, Mimico, etc? There are schools that rent out gyms and community centres that rent out meeting rooms. It's not hard to figure it out.


Anonymous said...

The reason is that the focus groups take place in specialty designed meeting rooms that include; two way mirrors, hidden cameras, mics, etc. Research houses have special rooms with furniture and settings designed specifically to make people feel comfortable and open up to the moderator.

C.J. Smith said...

Thank you very much, anonymous, for that valuable information.

Here's my 2 cents: why not put this in the literature when promoting the focus group? Is there a belief that people will be scared away if they were told in advance their input would be recorded? At some point, it has to come out to the participants that they are being filmed/recorded.

I know the goal is to get as much of a natural response as possible to make the feedback valid but people do need to know what's expected of them should they meet the criteria to be part of the group.

Angela said...

Pretty sure Davisville is where TTC HQ is, so they're probably just using those facilities.

Anonymous said...

Angela...I don't believe they are. I got a call as well. They're using a thrid party research company on Yonge between Davisville and Eglington stations.

Anonymous said...

Should have asked "Which GO bus do I take to get there? What, it's not accessible by GO Transit?"

Kelly said...

If they want a natural response, have the thing on the GO train. ;p

Anonymous said...

Go always has a 3rd party researcher do the focus groups...don't blame them

TomW said...

@Anon: so? They should select a resracher that can cater to their cutsomer's needs.

Holding in Toronto near Union makes sense... a lot of GO's customers work in Toronto.

For the record, GO's headquarters is at Bay and Lakeshore, first stop on the streetcar south of Union. (Or you coudl walk it in about five minutes). That would have been a good location.

Anonymous said...

I have done focus groups for gum and interact cards at that location. It is the company's office that is doing the work not GO

Anonymous said...

It's a company called Research House at Yonge and Davisville. It's not any better or worse to do it in a location without the 2 way mirrors and etc, but it's an added expense to already expensive market research.

GOTransitBitch said...

I, too, have done several focus groups with Research House. I participated in one just two weeks ago. It's fascinating, really. The bottom line is, if it's too inconvenient, don't do it. These groups must be conducted by a non-objective third-party. No organization can conduct their own focus group and expect to get fair results. Can you imagine the backlash if GO Transit did their own? Everyone would complain that they'd skewed the results. It's a no-win situation.

And jeebuz, that sounded like I was defending GO. I need a drink.