One point of contact - a benefit that's often overlooked and not given the appreciation it deserves.
Let me say this again, it's a benefit.
Personally, I still don't understand how any company today can be providing a service and not have this model in place.
As a researcher, your life is a whirlwind with colleagues and stakeholders constantly coming up to you asking for insights. If you're deciding to outsource projects to an agency, then they should be your strategic partner, so that you can conquer the world of business questions, help your stakeholders to do better, and make you look good at your job.
Therefore, I highly recommend you make 1 simple demand that will change your research game: tell them you want to work with 1 single point of contact. SPOC.
Think of a research agency as a ship, guiding you safely, swiftly, and efficiently towards Insights Island. During your research project journey there's a lot going on - lots of risks at hand, lots of things to look out for, a lot of processes that need to happen simultaneously, etc.
Your single point of contact needs to be the ship's captain: who is fearless at orchestrating the different teams, gives clear communication, and has a severe eye for detail (the other eye is hidden under an eye patch!), and can be relied on for everything pertaining to your project.
Having a SPOC will bring you clear benefits starting with the most simple and practical: 1 name to search for in your inbox to find all communication, that 1 detail you couldn't remember, project time frames, etc.
And then there are all the rest:
In the end, don't underestimate how powerful a SPOC can be for each project you outsource. I bet you've never had time to stop and think about the impact or experience this small change can make.
Maybe you currently have this with some agencies, but you should demand this set-up with Every. Single. One of them!
Having a single point of contact within your research agency is your agile, secret sauce in delivering what's around the actual survey: translations, survey design, scripting and reporting.
Agility is much needed in our industry of market research and I believe a SPOC is the easiest way for us agencies to do our responsible part in helping to shape a better, more agile future for our clients.
There are two clear choices here:
1) either partner with agencies who've already figured this out, or
2) start demanding this set up of every agency you outsource to.
The more demands there are, the more agencies will have to supply this and stop getting away using archaic, dinosaur set-ups that don't serve a purpose anymore.