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Saving Time with MeridianAI

By Bertie Heppel

Saving Time with MeridianAI

By Bertie Heppel
Saving Time with MeridianAI

When we think about AI coming for our jobs, the hope is that it takes the onerous and leaves the engaging. In the world of qualitative research, MeridianAI does just that.  

According to Meridian West’s Client Listening Maturity Benchmark, 46% of firms feel that the manual, time-consuming processes associated with client listening programmes are one of the top 3 biggest factors currently limiting their impact. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has conducted client listening or any other interview-intensive project: sifting through the unstructured mass of transcripts for nuggets of wisdom can be a daunting task.  

We designed MeridianAI to make this difficulty a thing of the past, transforming the landscape of qualitative research by dramatically increasing the speed and efficiency of interview analysis. 

When manual meets menial 

Interview-based research projects may be about collecting qualitative data, but there is still a numbers game to consider. Amassing a wide array of perspectives on a topic can mean conducting dozens of interviews – each one of which comes with the onerous task of transcribing, annotating, and analysing. 

Jon Mulligan, Associate Director at Meridian West, knows this all too well:
"I started in market research in 2004, conducting interviews with Dictaphones and analog tapes. For every 10 minutes of recording, we knew that we needed to allow for an hour of transcription time. And that was just to get the audio done – not counting analysis time of reading through all that, pulling the themes together." 

Automatic transcription may have come a long way since then, but a Teams transcript is still far from perfect; it takes valuable time to edit, analyse, and write up an executive summary from an interview. Whether it is senior BD staff occupied by these tasks, or junior executives hired in to fulfil the need, firms either lose out on opportunities or face additional staffing costs in dealing with the mountain of insight. Meanwhile, the space of time between the interview being conducted and actions arising from it being taken is widening. 

No more dull moments 

MeridianAI was developed with the goal of reducing these burdens in mind. The tool leverages advanced artificial intelligence to address the most pressing pain points in the journey from interview to action:  

Automatic Transcription, using state-of-the-art speech-to-text technology to transcribe audio and video recordings quickly and accurately. 

Executive Summaries, generated instantly by AI, allowing researchers to grasp the main points in an interview without sifting through the entire transcript. 

Thematic Analysis to identify and categorise themes across multiple interviews, providing a bird's-eye view of the data. 

Natural Language Querying, allowing users to speak directly to the dataset and interrogate it for any areas that the AI may have missed. 

The end result is a tool that can reduce the time from interview to action from weeks to hours. In a recent project with Mills & Reeve we were able to do just that, turning three full weeks of intensive manual analysis into just hours of work. What’s more, these efficiency gains led to more time to focus on gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the insight. As Kirsty Shenton, Head of Client Care at Mills & Reeve, puts it:  

“We designed the questionnaires and led the interviews so had a gut feel for what we were being told, but a gut feel is not good enough to determine a five-year strategy. The AI tool is great, and my team are using continually. It has moved us forward massively. It helps us to get to the nub of what we're trying to get to.” 

Saved time is a valuable commodity, not least because it is a fungible one. For Mills & Reeve, the tool’s efficiency gains provided the headspace to interrogate the data further than they had been able to do so before; for firms with capacity constraints, the saved time can be put towards casting the net of research further. 

Moreover, the tool's ability to handle large volumes of data consistently and objectively helps control for human cognitive biases, ensuring a more comprehensive and accurate analysis. 

For clients, speed equals service 

As AI technology continues to evolve, tools like Meridian AI are set to become indispensable in the field of qualitative research. By dramatically reducing the time and effort required for interview analysis, these tools free up human expertise to focus on what matters most: interpreting nuanced insights, developing strategies, and driving informed change. 

What’s more, client expectations are shifting. Lead times are becoming shorter across the whole gamut of client experience, and client feedback expectations are no exception. In a world where there is an ever-greater expectation on firms to take action on feedback as quickly as possible, the ability to quickly extract and act on valuable insights from client interviews can be a game-changer. Meridian AI empowers organizations to do just that, transforming the traditionally slow and labor-intensive process of interview analysis into a swift, efficient, and scalable operation.