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Research - Accredited interviewer training scheme

By TLF Research

There are numerous quality marks circulating in different industries, but as a dedicated fieldwork agency Teamsearch knows how critical it is to provide its clients with the confidence that their data is being collected to the highest possible quality standards. For something as specialised as telephone interviewing, a specific quality standard, tailor- made for the job is needed. It was therefore the relevance of the training that motivated Teamsearch to put its staff through the paces of the Accredited Interviewer Training Scheme (AITS) rather than any other more general quality mark. The scheme offered by the MRS (Market Research Society) provides a long-term basis for supervisors to train interviewers on the knowledge, skills and attitudes for effective interviewing. According to Rob Hogan, Teamsearch MD, “AITS was something that we found to be perfectly tailored to our core business, that we had dedicated years to specialising in.”

Rob continues: “It’s a given that we were already very confident that we train our interviewers to a high standard, but it is just as important to continue to learn and develop and what better way but to do that than with the research industry’s leading association that supports best practice; plus setting and enforcing industry standards through the MRS Code of Conduct.”

There are many factors that create a good interviewer. Adhering to good practice, such as the MRS Code of Conduct, and to regulations, like the Data Protection Act, provide the essential foundations of quality interviewing and AITS reinforces these areas through the code of practice, ensuring that interviewers have the relevant knowledge and uphold all industry standards and regulations.

It doesn’t end with the theory though. AITS covers everything from recruitment and assessment procedures through to ongoing training & monitoring processes. It gives further guidance on how to secure a call, how to build a rapport with respondents, how to get past gatekeepers and how to prevent respondent fatigue - all key ingredients to ensuring the data collected is accurate and timely.

All Teamsearch supervisors underwent a rigorous 12-month assessment by the MRS, producing portfolios of evidence and enduring stringent visits from assessors. All the hard work and training paid off when Teamsearch became one of only six research organisations in the UK to become fully accredited as MRS AITS Trainers with each member of staff, in addition, achieving the MRS Certificate in Interviewing Skills for Market & Social Research.

Rob concludes: “We understand our clients may be using the data we collect to make extremely expensive decisions. They could be making strategic decisions that can affect thousands of employees, tens of thousands of customers or, in the case of some of our public sector research, millions of citizens. As such it’s only right that we make investments in our staff and procedures to ensure that our output is consistently of the highest quality.”

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