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The Research Process at Barbour ABI

August 2020

An Interview with Neil Edwards, Research Manager at Barbour ABI

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      We want to give you a deeper understanding of what goes on behind the scenes at Barbour ABI to result in you receiving the best construction intelligence in the business.

      First up is Research Manager Neil Edwards, who breaks down exactly what the research team does, and how we keep improving our processes every day to ensure that our data remains unparalleled in construction.

      Hi Neil, could you give us an overview of the team?

      We have specialist teams who individually focus on everything from making calls and building relationships with everybody throughout the industry; inputting core data that our customers need every day; right down to teams who work solely in specific sectors.

      We team managers still have phone-based research days. This means we stay close to the industry as well as the key people who are involved. I also train new staff to become industry experts and ensure our output matches the expectations of our loyal customers.

      With that in mind, how do you train the research team to become industry experts?

      We spend six months training new starters on understanding the industry, the roles within construction, what to spot in a planning application, tender processes, procurement, even down to gaining an understanding of materials, in order to make them an expert in construction by the time that they are collecting information for our customers.

      The more interest that we all take in people and in construction, the more a connection grows, and the better it all works. If we know who you are and what you need from us, the more tailored we can make our questions and extract the data that really matters to you.

      The learning never stops. We take professional development very seriously at Barbour ABI, and we are constantly reviewing what we do and how we do it to ensure that our customers benefit from every interaction and relationship we have.

      “We don’t stop training. The industry changes every day, and we make sure that we do too”

      In what ways do you ensure that the customer process continually improves?

      We have a Project Enquiries Manager who responds to customer feedback, which has been a game changer for us. Customers love knowing that they can connect directly with a real person who will implement their suggestions.

      It’s impossible to get the level of information that we provide through internet research or other providers. Our ‘ear to the ground’ approach of phone-based research and building relationships with the industry can’t be beaten for thoroughness or work ethic.

      How was the team able to cope with the shock of COVID-19 and lockdown?

      We had foreseen some of what was to come in the weeks leading up to lockdown and were able to put plans in place for the technical set up of remote working before being forced into implementing it. It’s been a real credit to the business that we were able to keep everybody productive and have output remain strong whilst people were at home.

      “Customers need our output more than ever to ensure their business can survive. We take that responsibility very seriously”

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