Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Waiting by the phone

I actually had a couple of musings that I have been wanting to work on and post, but for once real life - or at least work - has gotten in the way. After the success of my last project which involved flying around to speak with electrophysiologists in different cities, I was assigned another similar market researchy type job. This subjects of this one however are the company's regional managers and sales reps and instead of in person interviews, I'm trying to cram 30+ phone interviews into a week.

This in itself would be no big deal, but a) the field force is by the nature of its job very busy and not necessarily able to keep appointments, and b) there have been some some technological challenges. Just like with the physicians, I am taping these interviews so that a transcriber can write up the interview for me resulting in a) better notes, b) more chance for me to focus on the discussion and c) the ability to pull out verbatim quotes. This was easy in person, I just put the digital recorder on the table between us. And theoretically it's easy with a phone too. Radio Shack sells a cheap splitter that allows the feed to go directly to the recorder as well as your hand set.

Unfortunately, here at Davis central we only have cell phones. It made more sense last year when we didn't have a 'for real' home and even now that we're a little more settled we don't see any reason to add a landline. (The few faxes I have to send I can do at the corner UPS shop.) I'm sure once there are children and babysitters etc. involved we'll get one, but for now it's solely cells.

This has led to a rather ridiculous looking technology solution. I have the dig recorder on the desk or up on a stack of books on the desk. Next to it is my cell phone, perched on its side so that the speaker on the back is going straight into the recorder's microphone. Then, because I've found they can't hear me clearly if I don't, I kind of lean/hunch over so that my mouth is down by the cell phone's microphone. I'm sure I look like some sort of demented Igor while doing these interviews, but it gets the result I'm looking for.

Ah....the glamorous life of a consultant.....