Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Of Surveys...

Ahaa, a great post by Rashmi here. It bought the memories racing back.

Many suns ago, it so happened that one such door to door 'surveyors' had come to our house and on enquiry by mom, it turned out that he was a college student doing this in his vacation. I was promptly kicked out of an afternoon siesta to talk to him with an order to get the address and get out on the streets. It was my first 'job'. It was for one of those research agencies that operate out of a small office. We had to ask for women under the age of 35 for this survey. Imagine the dangers of a young man, knocking on doors and asking for the respondents of this category. Needless to say, there were many closed doors. At 15 rupees a form, it was quite a low paying job.

But, it did teach me a lot. Selecting the right respondents for one, was critical. Here my multiple language skills came in handy. Since I could communicate with reasonable proficiency in
Hindi, English, Marathi and Malayalam I was able to get a decent hit rate. Walking in the Mumbai sun, trying to get some survey done was really some experience. And yes, since it was a huge 7 page survey, I did fill out some information myself. At the end of it, there was a carrot. We handed out a deodarant sample which was worth it for many participants. Although we were not supposed to reveal to the respondents that we would give a sample, some of the surveyors often used it as bait to get respondents.

I remember it fondly, because it was my first 'job' in that sense. A summer well spent on learning "Emotional Intelligence", trying to talk to total strangers, putting on a smile even when one is frustrated and learning a little bit of empathy towards the door to door salesmen on whom we slam the doors ever so easily.

Those days, few apartments had security guards, so it was easy to enter into an apartment (not more than one respondent per building, they said). These days, it is a lot more difficult to get a survey done. Wonder how they do it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a marketing intern last summer, i had to survey retail stores in south delhi selling ready to eat products and wait around in the stores hoping to survey some customers of those same products. Its a lot easier than knockin on ppls' doors but conducting surveys is a job from hell especially in delhi summers and that too without any pay. But you're right it helps in learning to interact with ppl and in my case also learning that i should stick to economics and leave marketing.

Jatin (www.twentyonwards.blogs.com