It’s officially fall, that means it’s football season! They call it the kickoff to the season, because each football game begins with a kickoff. I played football in high school, and I was on the kickoff team. You run down field at full speed, trying to tackle the returning ball carrier. Turns out it is fairly dangerous – running full speed into someone is not the safest thing you can do. Both the pros and colleges have changed rules to reduce the number of returns. You’ll notice most kicks go into the endzone and the teams take the ball on the 25, there is no return.
Similarly, I’m noticing a decline in the number of kickoffs for research projects. But I’m here to say, whenever possible, let’s have kickoff calls! They are not dangerous -we aren’t running full speed into each other! In fact, I think it is dangerous not to have kickoff calls. Most projects that have a problem could be averted with a kickoff call. You know when the screener says terminate based on this answer – but on the kickoff call the client says, “well, actually don’t terminate, take them through the rest of the screener, we might let them in anyway.” Think of all the extra work that results from not knowing that. And when someone is terminated, you often won’t get them back when you tell them the criteria has changed.
Do you want follow-up interviews? Are there other vendors working on the recruit? Is the first day of the project particularly important – should we pay bonus honoraria for those who schedule on day 1? Do they want caregivers in addition to patients? Does a quant survey have red herring questions? Is the speed trap on for testing? Do you really want us to program the screener, or do you want a handover? Will you be using FocusVision?
All these and many other questions can be covered on a kickoff call, so we are on the same page. A few minutes at the beginning on a kickoff call invariably saves a lot of time that would be needed if we didn’t know this information.
And on top of that, the kickoff call accomplishes another important thing. It gets client and vendor talking. And when you talk, you relate to each other as living, breathing human beings. Not just a bot at the end of a string of emails. Which bodes well for both sides working well together.
So, let’s see a resurgence of the kickoff call. Just in time for football season.