Nuisance calls harm the research sector too

The practice of ‘sugging’ (selling under the guise of research) means that the on-going problem with nuisance calls is also affecting the reputation of market research, but will any action to solve the issue come too late?

Mindi Chahal

Building up a good reputation takes hard work and time, but destroying it takes no time at all. 

The Government is taking action on nuisance calls in the New Year but the damage may have already been done for those that are caught up in the drama, the research industry in particular.  

The Market Research Society (MRS) is getting an increasing number of calls complaining about ‘sugging’ and report that in many cases the complainant says that he or she will not participate in genuine research as a result of such practices. 

Jane Frost, chief executive officer of the MRS, believes the Government’s consultation into nuisance call regulations will be an important step forward for the market research sector.

Frost says: “Sugging is an unethical business practice which undermines consumers trust in organisations and customers will hold companies to account if their information and data is not used in the way in which it was given.”

Openness and transparency are vital when it comes to data, Frost adds, and rightly so. “Businesses need to provide clear explanations of why they want personal details and what they are being used for.”

Whether people choose to answer market research questions, from or about a brand they actually use, over the phone is their prerogative. When it’s a call from a company that you have had no dealings with, using it as a selling tool, I can see how that would damage the reputation of research and put people off taking part in future research. 

Time and time again brands talk about communicating with customers in a way that is relevant, using a channel that suits the customer. 

This is why nuisance calls, even if it’s under the guise of research, will not work and the concerns from customers need to be taken seriously, before reputations are entirely lost. 

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