NICHOLS RESEARCH’S IN-PERSON RESEARCH CORONAVIRUS PLAN OF ACTION
As you are aware, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently responding to an outbreak of coronavirus 2019. Outbreaks of viral infections are always of public health concern, and we want you to know that we take this seriously. While there is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing, Nichols Research is proactively implementing all recommended strategies for companies. We will also update according to new guidance from the CDC as it becomes available.
The health and safety of our clients, respondents, and personnel is our number one concern.
You can still conduct in-person research in the current environment (with peace of mind) as Nichols Research is enacting proactive steps that can provide both access to much-needed research, and comfort that as a responsible company we are reducing the health risk of access to COVID-19.
SPECIFIC TO RESPONDENT SHOW RATE AND COOPERATION
Please be assured that as of now, we have not experienced an adverse effect (decline in show-rates) for the in-person research we’re still conducting. However, we’ve still taken the steps outlined below.
Nichols Research is also committed to accommodating our clients as much as possible while still following our Cancellation Policy when appropriate and will review each cancellation/postponement on a case-by-case basis. However, for the months of March and April, we will generally handle travel ban/issues, postponements, and cancellation requests due to COVID-19 as follows:
- If a moderator is unable to attend the research, we will offer deeply discounted rates on the following services: moderating (in-house or local moderator; 50 percent discount/amount dependent on scope of research), NR video streaming ($1,000.00 per day), and facility (25 percent discount/amount dependent on scope of research);
- We will waive the cancellation fee indicated under Terms and Conditions for all in-person studies where a client is coming from an area under any level of international travel ban (currently, there is no ban on domestic travel); and
- If a study must temporarily be postponed due to travel restrictions, no facility cancellation charge will be incurred as long as a new date is booked within three months of the original date. Charges will be incurred for all recruiting completed at the time of postponement as well as the research study management fee. For B2B/medical or other studies requiring research time for recruitment, an hourly rate of $50.00 per recruiter hour will be incurred regardless of the number of recruited respondents.
- For full cancellation of confirmed projects due to travel restrictions, the cost for all recruiting and project management time will be charged, as well as an additional study cancellation administration fee of $250.00. Facility cancellations are dependent on circumstances and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
- For studies cancelled in the facility and converted to online using NR to secure the online platform an adjustment in pricing for the switch to online will be made but no facility cancellation fee will be incurred.
- For studies cancelled in the facility and converted to an online platform by the client individual circumstances will be considered and handled on a case-by-case basis. However, this scenario will likely involve full or partial facility cancellation fees, as well as additional study management fees.
- In general, cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19 travel or in-person research restrictions are subject to review and NR will do our best to be fair to our clients, respondents, and organization.
We encourage clients who receive updates about their travel or in-person research bans (or those of their clients) to communicate with Nichols Research as quickly as feasible so that in turn we can be as accommodating as possible.
PLAN OF ACTION
All in-person research screeners will have the following questions added up-front, after the standard introduction. Additionally, we will ask the same questions of any/all currently recruited respondents:
- “Are you experiencing any cold/flu-like symptoms?”
- “Have you traveled internationally in the past three weeks, or do you plan on doing so between now and [DATE OF RESEARCH]?”
- “Have you been tested for Covid-19?”
- [IF YES TO ANY, THE FOLLOWING WILL BE COMMUNICATED] “We’d like you to put your health and that of others first, therefore, we will not be able to have you take part in this particular research. Thank you for your willingness to speak with me [TODAY/THIS EVENING]. We’ll hopefully connect with you again on a future study that you might qualify for when you are feeling better.”
Also, Nichols Research:
- Recommends that all clients add “early bird drawing” funds—for those who arrive 10+-minutes early—to their budget as follows: $50.00 for every three respondents (i.e., if your study includes a focus group of 8-10, add $150.00 for honorarium). For in-depth interviews, we suggest adding $25.00 per respondent.
- Has educated and implemented mandatory policies for all staff in accordance with the CDC’s suggested best practices for prevention and treatment of the virus. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html)
- Has, for all offices, purchased and is in the process of distributing: disposable surgical face masks with ear-loops (for clients and or respondents if approved by client), boxed tissues and hand sanitizer for all viewing/client and respondent rooms, and communal areas such as reception, staff offices, etc.
- Has, for all offices, purchased extra disinfectant wipes and spray to comply with the policy of sterilizing all surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, thermostats, light switches, tables, desks, chairs, telephones, work stations, etc.) as follows: prior to all in-person research, between all research sessions, and at the end of all shifts.
- Has, for all offices, purchased extra disposable gloves for 100 percent use when handling food and for general cleaning.
- Will refrain from ordering “shared” foods such as pizza for participants or clients. Specific to respondents, we will only serve deli sandwiches that are individually wrapped in either plastic or paper. For clients, foods that can be served communally in dishware that allows serving utensils to be used will be permitted. Please note, however, that during this time, upon client request, we will serve individual meals in the containers they are delivered.
- Will only be serving packaged or wrapped snacks (nothing communal, such as bowls of M&M’s, etc.).
We appreciate your understanding and hope that these preventative measures bring you a sense of comfort. Please contact us if you have any questions whatsoever.
Dear Clients, Partners, Providers, and Respondents,
It is with gratitude and a great sense of responsibility that Nichols Research’s owners and personnel engage in practices that anticipate the needs of our stakeholders by supplying marketing research that inspires and delivers solutions.
With the infusion of a fun new culture and a revitalized strategic plan, Nichols Research provides the premium service the brand name has demanded for almost four decades, while also expanding our services, investing in technology and looking to the future to ensure more valuable answers than ever for decision-making.
These are a few of our favorite words which are pinned in many of our internal creative spaces serving, in part, as a foundation for our company’s culture: Ethical. Curious. Insatiable. Edgy. Creative. Strategic. Destructive. Ambassadors. Inspiring. Masterminds. Fun. Positive. Solution-oriented. Storytellers. Non-complacent. Sexy. Collaborative. Diverse. Fair. Vigilant. Transparent.
To the benefit of all of our stakeholders, we promise to:
- Be a pathway to decisions.
- Be mindful, transparent and humane in our business — with clients, personnel, partners and each other.
- Be a company who encourages, supports and participates in philanthropic community activities.
- Care about the satisfaction and growth — personally, professionally and financially — of our team.
- Maintain an infrastructure that supports people being excited to come to work every day and making a difference.
- Start with yes and talk each other out of it.
- Believe the problem is never the problem — state the problem but focus on the solution.
- Have fun even on hard days — some ridiculousness and laughter are mandatory!
- Be insatiable and crush everything we do. Take risks, some of which are more successful than others, but failure is not in our DNA. There’s always a lesson.
- Look to the future for short- and long-term growth and not be complacent through yesterday’s success.
- Feel like a family but be managed as an innovative business, with operating and marketing plans, budgets, growth strategies, etc.
- Never forget who we are or what our vision is; stay true to our integrity and mission.
- Be equal opportunity collaborators, not too good or afraid to get our hands dirty.
Thank you for entrusting us with helping you on your path to gaining or sharing insights and strategies.
Amy Shields, PRC