We are in the business of helping scientists connect with contract research organizations (CROs) and research providers, and we see a wide spectrum of research communication styles from both parties. From our case studies, feedback from users, and general observation, we’ve compiled some best practices to promote further conversation. It isn’t enough to just reply to a scientist, but CROs need to reply with a timely and quality response. A lot of these tips may seem like common sense, but it bears repeating.
- Reply within the first 48 hours. You may not be ready to quote a service or provide detailed information, but it is highly beneficial to send an early response. It lets the scientist know you are there, allows you to start probing for more information, and shows the level of care and attention you would give a customer if you worked with them.
- Write thought out responses. One sentence replies are never effective. Saying “We can help you, please give me a call” or “Sorry, we don’t offer this service” is not impressive research communication. When declining a request, it doesn’t hurt to explain what type of services you provide in hopes that they will think of you in the future. According to our feedback, users are looking to build relations and learn more about the CRO that they are contacting. You have an opportunity to showcase the low prices, unique technology, or customer service of your CRO to new lead. If you can provide the service, you should not miss the opportunity to promptly introduce yourself, go into light detail about your expertise and how you can help.
- Respond within the system. If a scientist is sending a request through Assay Depot, email, or any other system, your first reply shouldn’t be “please contact me this [other] way.” They have made a concerted effort to communicate with you in this format and to add work for them diminishes your chances of getting a response.
- Good spelling and grammar. I can’t tell you how often we see a reply to a scientist that has obvious spelling errors, grammar problems, or even a misspelling of the scientist’s name! A lack of attention to detail in this area can reflect poorly on the CRO and imply a lack of attention to detail to scientific services or products. Getting this aspect of research communication right shows professionalism.
- Send a follow-up. If you aren’t getting a reply, send a follow-up message to remind them about what you have to offer. Receiving no reply after one follow-up is probably a cue to abandon the request until further notice.
Keeping these tips in mind will improve your chances on competitive requests. Put your best foot forward because even if a scientist isn’t replying, they are likely still reading your responses. With these tips in hand, initial research communication between CRO and scientist can easily convert into a long-lasting relationship.