5 Reasons Why Telephone Interviewing May Be Worth the Investment

January 29th, 2019

New and innovative data collection methods are always entering the market research space, but traditional techniques such as telephone surveys continue to be a key player.  Here are our five reasons why telephone interviewing may be worth the investment for your research project.

1.     Personal touch

Telephone interviews allow for data to be collected in a way through which the respondent benefits from talking to another human. People feel relaxed when there is someone on the other end of the line, rather than talking to a robot or clicking through web pages. The personal touch of telephone interviews allows for the interviewer to ask complex questions and assist the respondent with answering, particularly in cases where the respondent is unsure, or the terminology might be more technical. This can come by explaining a term or word used in the question or running the respondent through an exercise. By focusing in on key words mentioned in verbatim comments, telephone interviews allow for the interviewer to probe the respondent and keep digging to gain more detailed and sometimes niche information that wouldn’t come to light in an online survey. Sometimes the follow up questions that are related to the original question are where the most valuable data lies and it’s down to the skill of the interviewer to extract this from the respondent. It is vital that interviewers are matched to the project based on their individual skillsets and experience, as well as being trained to act as ambassadors of the brand. Having this skillset allows the interviewer to discuss the emotions behind the respondent’s answers, which when discussing customer experience can be of great value to a brand.

2.      Ease of access to the population

Telephone interviewing allows for large-scale accessibility of the population. According to Statista (2017), 94% of households have access to a mobile phone. The high use of mobile phones means that respondents, regardless of where they are, can be contacted. It’s becoming increasingly harder to access respondents as they’re subjected to more emails and text messages from various brands. With the skills of the right interviewers, Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) is the perfect tool to make contact with respondents using a tailored approach that gives respondents the feeling they are more than number and are actually a valued customer of the brand.  

3.       Respectful of respondents’ time

Within the Market Research industry there’s a real focus on turnaround times and speed of data collection. From an online perspective, clients are constantly told they can have data back to them within hours of it being launched. What’s being forgotten in all this is the respondent themselves. To gain a true view of the population or any given criteria we need to give the full spectrum of respondents sufficient time to respond to the survey. The fast nature of the online solutions being presented in the market today doesn’t allow for this. The speed at which data is collected is driven by those active respondents that are disproportionate to the true universe. CATI allows a true representation of the sample to be scheduled in at a time that’s convenient for the respondent and undertaken at a relaxed pace. This gives clients data based on a true understanding of their customers rather than data based on a first come, first served basis.

4.       Cost effectiveness on larger scale programs

Telephone interviews are comparatively cheaper than other offline methodologies, such as face-to-face, when working with larger sample sizes. Neither the interviewer or the respondent have to travel to conduct the interview. This eliminates the cost of travel and the cost of the time taken to travel – a telephone interviewer can achieve national and international coverage from their desk.

5.       Quality control

Telephone interviewing is still an attractive methodology due to the levels of quality control that take place. Telephone interviews allow for easy in-house quality control, whereby supervisors can use recordings of the interviews as training material to improve the interview process; they can also remove any interviews they aren’t happy with immediately. The level of quality data collected can be kept to a high standard due to the nature of using CATI software, as the collected data can be input in real time. The length and quality of any verbatim is also higher with CATI versus online because the interviewer has the ability to dig deeper to find out exactly what the respondent wishes to convey. For example, we’ve found that CATI surveys have generated over 10-15% more verbatim compared to the same question in an online survey.

All our CATI programs must abide by the industry standards, such as the Interviewer Quality Control Scheme (IQCS), whereby members have their fieldwork assessed annually and are accredited by IQCS independent inspectors. We pride ourselves on the quality of our interviewing and are more than happy for clients to visit the call centre.

Watermelon’s in-house CATI centre, based in Ashford Kent, has over 100 seats and has recently undergone some significant re-structuring to future proof CATI as a methodology. With our newly structured call centre, we can offer significant cost efficiencies.

So why not put us to the test, we know you won’t be disappointed.

For more information and to discuss your next project please contact Phil Corr on:

E: Pcorr@watermelonresearch.com

T: 0207 861 3080 

“Listening to customers can identify opportunities, avoid mistakes and positively impact word of mouth...”

Mark Squires, Chief Executive - Watermelon

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