Avoiding Misunderstandings

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Avoiding misunderstandings

A useful means of reducing to a minimum the possibilities of such misunderstanding is for the agency to go on a "trip round the works", with researchers going round whatever aspect of the manufacturing process or the company's organization, is relevant to the subject of the research. Thus in a research project on an aspect of, or including, the packaging, design and presentation of the product, the researchers could with advantage spend at least a day with the design department of the client company, learning how the "language" and conceptual approach of the design department differs from that of the consumers.

Exchanges in the opposite direction are also advantageous. Surprisingly few clients ask to go out with field workers or enquire in any detail about the technical details of the research. Here again, a continuing "consultancy relationship" provides an environment in which this is more likely to be possible than in a "one-off job" approach, which Eileen Cole compares to approaching an ad agency for a single commercial.

The agency's ability to inspire trust is of course crucial in any relationship in which the client is not to keep the researchers at arm's length, a course of action which as we have seen can be costly in the long run. A. firm which feels it cannot trust its agency fully with information about the purposes of the research and the course of action open to it should get itself another agency; and an agency which was not worthy of being trusted with such information would certainly find it difficult to get another client.

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