Imagine it’s August, with the mercury about to bust out of the top of the thermometer, with, say, 90% humidity…and all of a sudden nothing but hot air is flowing out of the vents in your company’s offices.

Before a major mutiny, you quickly grab the phone and call the first air conditioning repair business you can find a number for. Not for a moment do you consider grabbing a toolbelt and a sweat band and heading out to the AC unit to fix it yourself…much to your employees’ relief.

The same should be said for any type of need your company has that falls outside your core business profile, like market research or employee satisfaction and engagement.

It’s important when thinking of doing in-depth research to use a professional service. Now, if you’re doing basic, “How was the service you received tonight,” or “Is there anything we could have improved upon while you were with us,” simple surveys, then by all means do that yourself. It’s a great thing to do to get a pulse on your customers.

But if you are looking at deeper questions and multi-faceted building blocks of your company’s strategies and development, then it is essential to obtain the services of a reputable, professional research services company. Effective, insightful research is a combination of science and art. You have to know the questions you want answers to. But you also have to know that the way you ask them, the order you ask them in, and even what you don’t ask can all affect or skew results in ways you can’t even track.

Research, again, is science. It’s a details business, and you have to get the details right from the outset to get the final product right. And the details touch every aspect of the questions at hand. Just on the sampling side of things…who are you going to sample; how many people; how do you select those people; and do you contact them via phone, email, in person, or through the mail?

Even the same questions posed within different vehicles can produce different answers, and you have to know how to frame and analyze those differences. How do you write your questions? Sometimes research questions are layered, and how and in what order you ask questions affects your final result. So if you don’t know what those final results need to reflect, then there’s no way you can know if what you are doing is really effective

But the professionals know.

Professional research provides key performance indicators, is scientifically balanced, can be trended over time, and you’ll be able to use the information strategically on the back end because of the way the research was structured on the front end.

So stick to what you do best as a company. Keep your tool belt at home in your garage, and put your trust in the professionals who can get the air cranking again.