Participate in a research study about the role of ASMR in the service industry

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian ResponseVladimir Fedoseev is a graduate student pursuing his MBA at the Varna University of Management in Varna, Bulgaria (a partner university of Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales).

His dissertation is investigating the involvement of ASMR in the service industry and is titled, “Effect of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) on Service User Experience”

This is an interesting topic.  How do the caring dispositions, light touches, hand movements, and personal attention from  hairdressers, servers, and hotel staff affect our experience (and perhaps the tips)?  Does being able to experience ASMR influence these interactions?

You can take his survey (link below) to share your experiences and perspectives.

In my interview with Vladimir he shares his inspiration for this study, his research objectives and methods, challenges encountered, and the deadline for responses.

Below are my questions in bold, his responses in italics, a link to his survey, and the Facebook page for the survey.

What inspired you to do this project on ASMR?

With my course project in Operations Management on automatisation of a service, I found that there are 2 often opposite ways of enhancing a service: adding “high-tech” (automatization) and “high-touch” (more human and personal) features.  Some of the services benefit more from the latter because of their nature, some don’t; different people prefer different fashion for each type of a service.

Then I realised that I keep coming to the coffee shop where I often get ASMR and that this is quite a significant part of the process for me. So I thought that it would be great to research how it works. Also I was inspired by the facts that so many people report experiencing real-life ASMR primarily because of services and that service roleplay ASMR videos are very popular.

Then I found out about ASMR University and read some great articles and findings about ASMR. The fact that real-life ASMR is researched even less made me sure that the data will be very interesting. The kindness of ASMR community made collecting many responses sound feasible.

What is your main aim for this study and how did you develop it?

The aim of the research is to find how different features of a service that are likely to induce ASMR affect service experience of both individuals who do and don’t experience ASMR. Since it is uncertain how ASMR works in services, the research has also exploratory purpose to it and these draft research questions are used instead of hypotheses:

  • Does experiencing ASMR positively affect service user experience?
  • How often real-life ASMR occurs in services?
  • How often can real-life ASMR experience be unpleasant in services and anywhere but services?
  • Which factors may worsen a real-life ASMR experience?
  • Can distinct features of a service cause ASMR?
  • How these features affect service experience of both individuals who do and don’t experience ASMR?
  • Does the effect of ASMR on service experience differs for various types of services and how?
  • What is the probability of different services to cause ASMR?
  • What is the probability of different features to cause ASMR during a service?

What methods are you using to gather data?

For in-depth examination of ASMR in services interviews would be great. However, we decided that first a broad and general quantitative survey might be helpful for future research, back it up with data and state the abundance of real-life ASMR once again.

This is why we are excited to hopefully get many responses with massive distribution. The survey is both for people that do (Group 1) and don’t have ASMR (Group 2 or “controls”).

Convenience and snowball sampling is used for both groups and we ask members of both groups to share the survey with everyone.

Here are the main distribution methods:

  • Asking ASMRtists to invite their viewers to complete and share the survey in a video or in an Instagram or Youtube post in exchange for a report and mentioning in acknowledgements;
  • Posting the survey in Facebook and Reddit ASMR communities;
  • Posting the survey in other communities that are not ASMR specific nor dedicated to any very specific themes, as well as communities on vk.com, facebook and reddit that are dedicated to surveys.

What should participants expect in the survey?

The first part of the questionnaire is for everyone and it consists of demographic questions, a filter question “Do you experience ASMR?” that opens the second part of the questionnaire for Group 1, and 6 blocks of questions for 6 different types of services each: hairdresser, coffee shop, doctor, hotel check-in, supermarket cashier service and customer service phone call.

These services can be relatively ranked by different factors, such as average usage frequency, duration, degree of personalisation, amount of physical contact an so on, so this is also a fascinating source of data. Customer service phone call does not include meeting an employee or going anywhere, but is still reported to induce ASMR, so that is an interesting case. Supermarket is a control service that is expected to score less on inducing ASMR, being experienced better if ASMR occurs and being experienced better with ASMR features.

Each service block consists of questions on how service experience is affected by one of the triggers summarised from articles, own small convenience interviews and reports from this website: personal attention, soft and kind speech, careful hand movements, gentle sounds, light touches and the general kindness of a person’s attitude and personality.

The second part is made to show:

  • How often ASMR is experienced in real life in general and in services;
  • If and how often real-life ASMR is unpleasant in services and not in services;
  • If ASMR experience enhances service experience in these 6 services;
  • If it is important for people to experience ASMR in real-life in general and in services;
  • If experiencing ASMR affects the attitude to a service positively;
  • How likely different services and different triggers are to induce ASMR

At this point the participants can finish the survey, but they are asked to kindly consider completing a small appendix that takes 1-2 minutes to complete and investigates the effect of ASMR on intention of repeat purchase of services in general and the same 6 services.

I personally like this survey. Such “matrix” of services and triggers, plus many interesting interconnected questions and plus different countries will yield quite a lot of data on both real-life ASMR and the effect of ASMR on services. This is why the scope of the dissertation is more general, but we plan to continue collecting the data for more reliability and research further.

What challenges have you had so far with this project?

It is a pleasure to distribute the survey, because the ASMR community is great. Only twice we received confusing feedback: that this survey might “make corporations capitalize on ASMR” and that we might want some services to be very ASMRish or dedicated to ASMR.

So I would like to include this disclaimer: I do not want services to be very ASMRish or make corporations exploit ASMR. This research is not sponsored or done due to any external request. The research is to investigate if and how subtle ASMR things can be implemented by different services for people that do and do not experience ASMR to enjoy.

The other challenge is distribution, which is going quite well (around 500 responses already), but I wish more ASMRtists and other distribution channles joined the project, as well as just more people shared the survey on their social media. Currently, ASMR Darya, Bluewhisper, Seb ASMR and Skela la ASMR contributed or agreed to do so.

When will the survey be closed to new participants?

Only responses recorded before 6 of July will be used for dissertation, however, data collection for further research will last until mid-September.

When will you have the final results of this project?

Final results of the dissertation will be by the end of July. Results of further research will appear no sooner than September.

Will you be sharing the results publicly?

Definitely yes, both for dissertation and for future findings. I will share it on the facebook page (probably linking to more entertaining ways of presenting the data) and hopefully on this website.  Also, I will try my best to publish the results.

What tips do you have for other researchers creating ASMR surveys?

If relevant, try to handle the following observations the best possible way:

  • Different people experience ASMR differently;
  • Some people occasionally find ASMR unpleasant or confusing;
  • Many people experience ASMR but have never heard that term or watched an ASMR video. All these ASMR-capable individuals may probably experience ASMR differently;
  • Some people have preferences towards the gender of a person that causes their ASMR.

Links for this study:

Click the links below to learn more about ASMR research:

  • Tips: How to be an ASMR researcher.
  • Insight: Interviews with ASMR researchers.
  • Browse: ASMR research and publications.

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This post brought to you by ASMR University.  A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

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