The Power of Speech (and the Trouble with Typing).

The Power of Speech (and the Trouble with Typing).

In the ever-evolving landscape of data collection, speech remains an indispensable tool for truly understanding your audience.

In the ever-evolving landscape of data collection, speech remains an indispensable tool for truly understanding your audience.

Woman parcipitating a Tellet inteview using voice-records
Woman parcipitating a Tellet inteview using voice-records
Woman parcipitating a Tellet inteview using voice-records
Photo of Greg Burke

Greg Burke

Published on:

May 6, 2024

Have you ever felt the need to include a laughing-face emoji in a text message, just to make sure the recipient knows you’re joking? Or looked back over an email you’ve written to find half of your sentences end with disarming exclamation marks?

We all have our imperfect strategies for quickly conveying tone in writing. But the existence of these tricks highlights a big problem with text-based responses in market research – the significant risk of misinterpretation. Researchers are constantly searching for ways to gain a deeper understanding of customers, and in this search, the choice between speech and written entries as qualitative data collection methods has emerged as a critical consideration.

While typing has its merits, there’s a richness to speech that text boxes can’t compete with. This richness is closely linked to the concept of ‘freedom of speech’.

The Freedom of Speech

The phrase more often conjures images of constitutional rights and political discourse, but it’s equally relevant in the context of market research and is evident when we communicate in a way that is both natural and expressive, conveying our thoughts and feelings with nuance and complexity, using not only words but also tone of voice, inflection, and body language.

This freedom of expression is crucial for capturing the true essence of customer feedback. When respondents can speak freely, they are more likely to share their honest and unfiltered opinions. They are also more likely to express their emotions and motivations in ways that are challenging to convey through text alone.

The Limitations of Typing

Typing is a valuable tool for data collection in various settings, but it has inherent limitations. When respondents are asked to type their responses, they often engage in self-censorship. This self-imposed restraint can occur for several reasons:

  • Perceived permanence: Typing creates a digital record that individuals may feel uncomfortable with. They may hesitate to express sensitive or controversial opinions or emotions due to potential consequences or judgement.

  • Editing and revision: Typed responses can be edited, revised and polished, leading to less spontaneity and a more sanitised version of the respondent’s true thoughts.

  • Loss of non-verbal cues: In typing, non-verbal cues such as tone of voice, hesitations, and emotional nuances are lost. These cues often contain valuable information about the respondent’s true feelings and sentiments.

The Richness of Speech

On the other hand, speech in market research offers a richness that typing cannot easily replicate:

  • Emotional depth: Verbal communication allows respondents to convey their emotions more authentically. The tone of their voice, pitch, and rhythm provide valuable insights into their emotional state and level of enthusiasm.

  • Unfiltered insights: Spoken responses are typically less filtered and more spontaneous, making it easier to capture genuine opinions and reactions. Respondents are more likely to share their true thoughts, even if they are not fully formed.

Utilising Speech in Market Research

In the world of market research, the richness of speech compared to typing is undeniable. While traditional qualitative research methods (focus groups, individual interviews) allow for speech, they are often too expensive, time-consuming and a headache to coordinate. The more accessible alternatives rely heavily on typing (communities, open-ended survey questions) and lack follow-up questions.

This is where Tellet comes in. Its conversational AI captures respondents’ verbal responses and follows up with questions designed to elicit the most enlightening answers; its AI-powered analytical tools then save you hours of work by pulling out insights at the click of a button. 

By embracing spoken communication in interviews, researchers can tap into the authentic emotions, opinions and insights of respondents – bringing market research findings that are more accurate, and more valuable.

I’m Greg and I’m the co-founder of a new kind of research platform called Tellet. We use AI to conduct and analyse consumer research interviews for faster, deeper and more affordable insights.

Want a free trial? Book a demo with us, or drop me an email – greg@tellet.ai.

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