2020 update on transcription services: what do market research partners value?

value transcription services

Market research requires the gathering of large volumes of qualitative and quantitative data and mining that data for high-quality actionable insights is a real challenge. Transcription services have long played a significant part in helping with this. They assist the market research industry in managing its data and getting the most value from it while also increasing operational efficiency. 

At Take Note, we work closely with market researchers and constantly strive to deliver services that match their diverse needs. In order to better understand and serve this market, we undertook some market research of our own. In this piece, we’ll share our findings with you as we examine how the market research sector uses transcription services, why they are valuable partners in ensuring operational efficiency and what they value most in a transcription service partner in 2020.

How market researchers are using transcription services

Market researchers collect huge volumes of audio and video data when getting to know the needs, perspectives and feelings of their target audiences better. 

As we can see from the graph below, a great deal of data capturing is done, either face to face, over the phone or through online video submission (either live or submitted by respondents). This audio and video data can be extremely challenging to parse and mine for actionable insights in its current form. Transcription services can be invaluable resource in reducing hours of audio and video footage into highly accurate and easily parsable documents.



Some of the most commonly transcribed research methods include online focus groups using video, in-depth online video interviews or telephone interviews carried out via mobile.  Ethnography and immersive research (watching people in their natural habitat) is a research method that’s also often transcribed (almost 80% of the time).

We have naturally seen a dip in telephone interviews carried out over landline. We can also see the rise of call and video technology dramatically reducing the need for face-to-face interviews, which are now only used just over 50% of the time. 

These can all be sources of highly qualitative data and it stands to reason that accuracy is of paramount importance. This is why transcription services are of greater value to the industry than Automated Speech Recognition services which struggle to achieve the same accuracy.


The value of transcription services for market researchers

Now that we’ve taken a close look at which research methods are most commonly transcribed, let’s take a look at why the industry sees value in transcription services. 


It’s worth noting that in some cases, researchers state that it is a client requirement that all their audio and video research be transcribed. However, those who find that the transcripts are not of value to their own work are in the minority (a little over 10%). In other cases, it is a company requirement and over 30% feel that even though it’s compulsory, having the transcript still adds value to their work. 

Just over 25% of respondents feel that transcription services save them time, while over 40% rely on transcription to provide a full and accurate record of what has been said by respondents. Almost 70% of respondents stated that transcripts are helpful when producing their research findings for analysis. 

To find out more about what keeps people coming back to a specific transcription service, we asked our respondents what they valued most about a transcription service. From this we can gain a better understanding of why they perceive value in outsourced transcription services like ours.

What do market research partners value most in a transcription service?

The better we understand the needs and priorities of the market research sector, the better able we are to provide services and outcomes that are matched to them. During our research, we gathered data on respondents’ key priorities over the past 2 years.

Looking at the graph above, we can see that pricing/cost is surprisingly far down the list of priorities, usually top of any value curve this shows how important those first few values actually are. Which brings us to the highest priority item, data security. 


Data Security

Perhaps in light of recent GDPR legislation playing a larger part in the business landscape within the EU, data security is an ever growing concern. Transcription services are under increasing pressure to upgrade or maintain their current security levels. 

You will notice that fewer transcription services are employing offshore transcribers to help protect your data, by ensuring it remains  protected by GDPR. 

One of the primary shortcomings of automated (ASR) services is that it’s virtually impossible to tell where your data goes, how many copies are made and who has access to it. This is because app developers may outsource testing and quality control to other parties overseas with less stringent data protection laws.

A transcription service should offer a 100% secure upload portal,  ISO 27001 and 9001 certificates, guarantee compliance with national data laws and be willing to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for the researcher’s peace of mind. 



As we’ve discussed previously, accuracy is of paramount importance to the market research industry. IDIs, focus groups, ethnography and video submissions are researchers’ bread and butter and inaccuracies could compromise the validity of the data. This is especially important for ethnographic research where real-time interactions are observed and audio recording conditions may be sub-optimal. A trusted transcription service can deliver 99.9% accuracy even when presented with variables which might cause problems for automated services (regional accents, background noise, cross-talk, fast speech etc.)


Reliability of turnaround

Researchers have clients to whom they are accountable and deadlines which they need to adhere to. As such, it’s no surprise that reliability of turnaround ranks highly on their list of priorities. A transcription partner should always be able to guarantee reliable turnarounds when the researcher needs them. 


Ease of upload

Last but definitely not least. Researchers are busy professionals and the less friction they face when needing to upload their video and audio to their transcription partners the better. We pride ourselves on making it easy for clients to upload their files to us quickly and securely, no matter where they are. Our mobile app allows for in-app recording and direct uploading to our secure server. We also have our 100% secure portal as well as API integration. 



Close on the heels of ease of upload was support. A transcription partner should not only have the infrastructure to make sure everything runs smoothly but also be able to provide specialist support when it doesn’t. Sometimes researchers want to be able to talk to a human being and access to fast and comprehensive support needs to be made available to them over the phone, via email or over live chat. 


In Conclusion

Like our market research partners, we understand that getting to know our clients’ needs better is the engine that drives performance and innovation. By better understanding what the industry values most, we have the opportunity to constantly evaluate our offerings in order to better serve the needs of the industry in 2020 and beyond. 

View the full report here.

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Take Note

Take Note is a UK-based transcription service with world-class customer support alongside the highest standards of security and ethics. We deliver a comprehensive range of transcription services including Audio and Video Transcription, Video Captions and On-Site Note Taking.