6 ways technology can help you tackle sensitive survey questions

Members of the market research industry find themselves fighting tooth and nail for decent response rates and representative sample. So when your study is about drug use, sexual behaviors, political and religious beliefs, or other sensitive topics, you’ll need to ensure that you’re doing everything possible to keep response rates steady.

Asking sensitive questions via surveys or interviews can be considered intrusive or offensive, regardless of what the respondent’s answer may be. And if the respondent feels that their response could be contrary to popular societal norms, they may be more inclined to provide a dishonest answer that conforms to their perception of normal (this is called ‘social desirability bias’). Compounding the issues of question intrusiveness and social desirability bias, respondents may not trust that their responses will remain anonymous, or that the data will be kept secure.

Sensitive questions can negatively affect three important survey measurements: overall response rates, single question decline rates, and response accuracy – due to a higher percentage of respondents who answer sensitive questions dishonestly. That means that the inclusion of sensitive questions in a survey needs to be handled in an intelligent and delicate way whenever possible. Fortunately, technology can help.

The chosen survey channel can compound the issues around sensitive questions. The selected channel can exponentially increase respondents’ hesitation to answering sensitive questions:

  1. Self-completion surveys (e.g. Voxco Online): in which respondents complete surveys on their own time and in privacy;
  2. Telephone interviews (e.g. Voxco CATI): in which survey call center interviewers ask respondents questions over the phone;
  3. Personal interviews (e.g. Voxco Mobile Offline): in which interviewers use mobile devices to ask respondents questions directly in a face-to-face setting.

In general, respondents are more likely to answer sensitive questions honestly via self-completion surveys. But there’s tremendous value in choosing personal interviews over self-completion surveys, or choosing a complimentary multichannel approach, so interviews should not be ruled out immediately.

Here are six ways to use technology to boost response rates and response accuracy on sensitive questions:

1. Channel selection

As we mentioned above, self-completion surveys that can be taken by respondents in privacy offer a better atmosphere of anonymity which helps respondents feel more comfortable answering sensitive questions. The elimination of an interviewer can also reduce the social desirability bias introduced by the presence of another person.

2. Multichannel studies

Your studies don’t need to stick to only one survey method. Using an integrated survey platform, you can target a single respondent database and follow sample across multiple channels. For example, after a phone interview is completed, invite a segment of the respondents to complete an online survey. The logic of the online survey can trigger follow-up questions based on their CATI responses and probe into more sensitive topics that respondents would be less likely to confide to an interviewer.

3. Live channel switching

Consider redirecting interviewees mid-interview to a self-completion channel to ask sensitive questions. This temporarily gives respondents the anonymity and privacy needed for sensitive topics. Redirect CATI respondents to an IVR system to answer a few sensitive questions using their phone keypad, then return them to the interviewer to finish the survey. Pass the CAPI tablet to respondents directly and let them enter their answers directly into the questionnaire without having to say the words aloud to an interviewer.

4. Live question wording changes

As your survey progresses, be sure to keep an eye on real-time response analytics. If you note significant drop off rates at a specific question, or higher-than-average item nonresponse rates on specific questions, take action! Alter question wording, and instantly push the updates live. Add in some language that emphasizes survey anonymity and data security when surveys start veering into sensitive territory. That’s the benefit of live survey updating.

5. Survey logic/flow changes

If early results show that respondents are being turned off by sensitive questions, you could also adjust the logic and flow of the survey. Move sensitive questions further into the survey to build more trust and rapport with respondents before they get to them. If you have a sensitive question earlier in the survey, trigger ease-in questions and language to show only for those respondents who chose ‘refuse’ on the first sensitive question. Or go the other way: build trust with those respondents who did answer the sensitive question by hiding demographic or identifying questions at the end of the survey that could make respondents feel that their responses will be connected back to them.

6. Data hosting

Sometimes it’s enough for respondents to know that the survey is anonymous. But other respondents could want assurances that their data is being stored with the highest possible security and encryption, or on internal servers versus stored “out there” in the cloud. So give them those assurances.

Use technology to maintain response rates!

In a period of declining response rates, it is likely that respondents will be even more reluctant to take part in surveys that tackle sensitive topics. And in an age of growing concerns over data security, those who do respond to your surveys could be less inclined to reveal potentially embarrassing information about themselves.

Even in self-administered surveys, respondents may still misreport or refuse answers on sensitive questions. But there are a number of ways to use survey technology to your advantage when asking the tough questions. Get in touch with the team at Voxco if you’d like to discuss more unique ways to use a flexible survey platform to collect sensitive respondent data.

Product Planning Successes with our Client Feedback Team

Last month we drew back the curtain to look at the processes we follow to get client feedback. But we also wanted to share examples of the product features and developments that were guided thanks in part to direct feedback from our software users. So let’s do exactly that – below are some live product features that are in active development as a result of feedback from our clients.

Later this summer we’ll be launching version 6.0 of our overall Voxco Survey Platform. It will include a ton of new features for Voxco Online and an even tighter integration of our multimode survey channels. And many of those new features were initially spawned or fine-tuned via in-depth conversations with our client advisory committee. For example:

Side-by-side layout of look and feel editor

One of the anticipated new features landing in 6.0 is the addition of a side-by-side look-and-feel editor. The Theme Customization Parameters and Survey Preview panes will now be positioned next to each other, with sliding pane sizes. This improved use of screen space gives better simultaneous visibility during look & feel editing of your surveys.

Though the feature was kick-started internally by our R&D team, we used the advisory committee to validate our mock-ups and help us ensure the final product is as intuitive as possible. We’re excited to get this new layout launched and into the hands of the rest of our clients this summer. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come:

Apply display logic to a choice

Once we began speaking with our users, we started hearing many of the same pieces of feedback repeatedly. One of those frequent requests was two-fold:

  1. Provide the ability to apply show/hide logic to individual choices.
  2. Add a visual indicator of display logic on affected choices for users to see while editing questionnaires.

This simple suggestion quickly turned into one of our favorite parts of the upcoming 6.0 update. It should simultaneously make the survey experience more relevant for respondents while also improving the questionnaire-editing experience for our advanced users.

Additional feature suggestions

An advisory committee member suggested that we rework respondent case filters to make them easier to use. With that member’s input, we have added new case filter options (e.g. unsubscribe filters) via a tab navigation and ensure that all options for case filters are clearly displayed in one place.

Another advisory committee member collaborated with the Product team to help define an easier way to set up redirect URLs for third-party sample respondents, based on how they terminate the survey (completed, out-of-quota, screen-outs). In the past, this was done each time at the survey level, but they suggested adding the ability to create and customize profiles for each sample provider, and define default redirects for each. We liked the idea so much, we didn’t sit on it: it was included in an update that landed this week!

Future update: enhanced reporting features

We’re in the midst of planning a major future release for reporting enhancements. It’s an in-demand update that is high on our list of priorities, so the product team is actively working to determine which new features will be included once it lands. We sent out an all-user survey two months ago, and we have finished evaluating the results to help us prioritize the possible new features.

Storming ahead with help from you!

We’re regularly improving and evolving our survey tools. Join the conversation and help us define the future of the industry’s most flexible survey tools! We encourage all of our clients to answer the surveys when they come your way – results are read and analyzed by every key member of our product team and it’s one of the best ways to ensure that your voice is heard.

If you missed the survey, and have an awesome idea for a new feature that could benefit your survey team and other users, get in touch with our support team – we have a process in place to ensure that all feedback is taken into consideration and evaluated by the product team for potential inclusion in future releases.

Onwards and upwards! All with a little help from you, our loyal clients!

Paris : 2 jours pour célébrer 20 ans

Maintenant que le Printemps des Etudes est derrière nous, nous pouvons faire un point sur ces 2 jours d’évènement et sur les 20 ans de Voxco Paris qui ont été une bonne raison de célébrer.

Tout ce que nous avions prévu pour l’évènement s’est déroulé sans accroc. Tout au long de l’événement, de nombreux clients sont venus nous rendre visite sur notre stand dans le superbe Palais Brongniart pour échanger entre autres choses sur l’état du marché des études en Europe.

A la fin de chaque journée, nous avons accueilli nos clients pour partager champagne et mignardises et lever notre verre à ces 20 dernières années. Un grand merci à tous ceux qui sont venus trinquer avec nous !

Evidemment, la partie la plus stimulante d’un tel évènement est de rencontrer de nouvelles têtes. La localisation optimale de notre stand nous a permis de rencontrer des personnes du monde des études venues d’un peu partout en Europe – visiteurs tout comme exposants d’ailleurs!

Toutes les personnes qui se sont arrêtées nous voir, sont reparties avec de petits cadeaux. Des bonbons à la menthe et des chargeurs avaient été glissés dans la centaine de sacs distribués pour l’occasion.

Et pour célébrer nos 20 ans à Paris de la meilleure des manières, nous avions mis en place un tirage au sort pour le gain d’une bouteille d’Hermitage de 1997 ainsi que 20% de remise sur le logiciel d’enquêtes le plus flexible du marché ! Félicitations à Hervé Bonnet de The Links G&A qui en est l’heureux gagnant.

Et maintenant ? Gilles et son équipe continue et continueront à fournir les marchés Européens avec des solutions d’enquêtes flexible et des offres de service d’exception. Ce n’est pas une coïncidence que nous soyons présents depuis si longtemps… 🙂

Complementing Online Surveys with Offline Interviews

Face-to-face interviews are a very different beast from self-completion surveys. We’ve gone into detail before about the best uses for each here and here. Unsurprisingly for an industry-leading provider of multichannel survey software, we concluded each post with a solution of ‘combining both is best’. And it really is. But how?

For market research firms running major studies seeking general opinions from a larger population, it can make a lot of sense to use offline interviewing as a complimentary secondary channel to the primary online channel. What do we mean by that? Well online is often the cheaper option, and a far easier way to get a survey out to a lot of respondents quickly. But to vary your sample and expand on your insights, adding a face-to-face interviewing component can make a big difference.

Here are a few reasons to complement online survey projects with offline interviews, and the methodology required:

Sample variance

There are some people who won’t complete online surveys when they receive them in their inbox. They don’t have the interest, or the time, or their spam filter keeps them from seeing the invitations in the first place. There is also still a portion of the population who don’t have regular online access.

A portion of people who are unreachable online can be reached in the real world via face-to-face interviews. Complementing your online surveys with face-to-face interviews expands your sample size, and can improve sample representativeness.

Quantitative data depth

You’ve gotten responses from your online survey, and the results indicate that shoppers most often buy a specific product on weekends at the mall. Your results have now given you a timeframe and location to conduct face-to-face interviews, aiming to better understand an average shopper’s mindset at a key purchase time.

Asking further questions in a face-to-face, interviewer-led setting adds a whole new dimension of data which complements the existing online survey results.

On-site, in-the-moment feedback

Take a look at our case study for C2 business events. Online surveys formed the core of the feedback collection process. But on-location mobile interviews helped gather a more raw and in-the-moment emotional response, when hindsight and fading memory have little to no effect on their responses.

Get more well-rounded insights by balancing the standard post-event feedback with some in-the-moment emotional feedback.

Sample follow-ups

Depending on the study, and the rights that your sample/panel has offered, it’s possible to follow up with specific sample segments via face-to-face interviews after the online study is completed. The online survey can ask questions that help segment the respondents into relevant sub-groups based on demographics or behaviors. Following up with a specific sub-group based on their online responses helps complement the overall study results.

If you have a solid panel of respondents who have granted permission to follow up in-person, interviewing the same respondents who have completed the online survey can give you a richer set of insights from individual sample.

Offline Face-to-Face Interviewing

In much of North America, market researchers aren’t using face-to-face interviewing enough. Could this be because they’re seeing it as an either/or when comparing it to online surveys? Because it’s so much more when used as an ‘and’.

For the short-term, it seems clear that market researchers will continue focusing most of their studies on online surveys. But those who can find a way to complement those results with face-to-face interviews will greatly enhance the insights. Embrace the enormous potential of a truly multimode study.

Celebrating 20 years in Paris: Voxco at Printemps des Etudes 2017

This year, we celebrate our 20th year in Paris. Our Paris office is a central hub for all of our European operations, supporting hundreds and hundreds of clients across the continent and into the Middle East and Africa. Team France is an essential part of our great success in the region.

So how do we celebrate 20 years? In style, of course; by giving back to the clients and friends who have made it all possible. And to make it as Parisien as possible, we’ve synchronized our celebrations with the Printemps des Etudes – the country’s premiere gathering for research and marketing professionals.

On April 20-21, 2017, we’ll meet over 2,500 event attendees in the beautiful Palais Brongniart. We’ll be there to celebrate, and hope you can join us! We’ve got a little something for everyone:

Treats for clients

At 5pm on Thursday 21st and 4pm on Friday 22nd , we’re inviting all of our clients to Booth 15 for a special thank you for helping us get to 20 years. Champagne and treats for all who come by to help us celebrate!

Sweets for new friends

If we’ve never met before, we want to change that! Stop by Booth 15 any time during the event and meet our team for the first time, and take home a small tin of sweets to share with friends.

Energy for old friends

We’ll be keeping up with the online conversation throughout the event, and know that you will be too. So you’ll need extra power for your mobile device! We’ve got you covered.

If you already know Gilles and his team, visit us at Booth 15 and we’ll give you a portable device charger to keep the conversation flowing long after the event is over.

Something extra for everyone

Anybody who wants to keep in touch with Voxco after the event is over can drop their business card in a fishbowl at any time during the event. At the end of the last day, we’ll draw one name and give them a 1997 bottle of Grand Cru, and a 20% discount on their first purchase of Voxco survey software.

We’re excited to be turning 20 in Paris! Clients, friends and everyone in between are welcome to stop by our booth to help us celebrate. And if you can’t make it, follow the action on Twitter, or get in touch with the team that’s making it all happen.

En route pour le Printemps des Etudes 2017, Voxco fête ses 20 ans à Paris

Cette année, nous célébrons nos 20 ans à Paris. Notre bureau parisien est le centre névralgique de notre activité en Europe, avec une équipe de support travaillant pour des centaines de clients à travers le continent ainsi qu’en Afrique et au Moyen-Orient. L’équipe française est essentielle à notre succès dans la région.

Alors comment célébrer ce cap des 20 ans ? Avec style, bien sûr : en redonnant à nos clients et amis qui ont rendu tout cela possible. Et pour que ce soit aussi français que possible, nous avons décidé de faire coïncider cette célébration avec Le Printemps des Etudes – le rendez-vous annuel pour les professionnels des enquêtes et du marketing.

Les 20 et 21 avril 2017, nous rencontrerons plus de 2500 visiteurs dans l’enceinte du magnifique Palais Brongniart. Nous serons là pour célébrer et nous espérons que vous vous joindrez à nous ! Nous avons prévu des petits quelques choses pour tout le monde :

Goûter amélioré pour nos clients

A 17h le jeudi 21 et 16h le vendredi 22, nous invitons tous nos clients sur le stand n°15 pour les remercier de nous avoir porté jusqu’à nos 20 ans. Champagne et mignardises pour tous ceux qui viendront nous aider à célébrer !

Des bonbons pour les nouvelles connaissances

Si nous ne nous sommes pas encore rencontrés, changeons cela ! Arrêtez-vous au stand n°15 à tout moment pendant le salon, rencontrez notre équipe et repartez avec une petite boîte de bonbons à partager.

De l’énergie pour nos vieux amis

Nous serons actifs en ligne pendant l’événement et nous savons que vous aussi. Vous aurez donc bien besoin d’un peu d’énergie pour votre appareil mobile… On s’en occupe !

Si vous connaissez déjà Gilles et son équipe, rendez-leur visite sur le stand n°15 et ils se feront un plaisir de vous offrir un chargeur portable pour que la conversation continue bien après l’événement.

Un petit plus pour tout le monde

Pour tous ceux qui souhaitent rester en contact avec Voxco après l’événement, venez déposer votre carte de visite dans notre urne. A la fin de la dernière journée, nous tirerons au sort l’un d’entre vous qui repartira avec une bouteille de Grand Cru de 1997 et 20% de remise sur le premier achat d’un logiciel d’enquête Voxco.

Nous sommes ravis de passer le cap des 20 ans à Paris ! Clients, amis et tous ceux au milieu : vous êtes les bienvenus sur notre stand pour venir célébrer avec nous. Et si vous ne pouvez pas être au Printemps des Etudes, suivez l’action sur Twitter ou prenez contact avec l’équipe qui rend tout cela réalité !

Behind-the-Scenes with our Client Feedback Team

We have been making some of the industry’s most flexible survey tools for over 25 years. We’re always evolving our powerful multichannel platform, which includes launching new products, major releases, and regular maintenance and feature updates. Through it all, we’ve definitely become experts in the craft of survey software.

But savvy product managers know that there’s a gap between the knowledge that comes from creating and refining a product as a developer, and as an end user who is actively using it daily. To close that gap, our Voxco Online product team has long been tapping into the user perspective – what features do they need the most, how do they spend their time on the platform, what would they do differently?

Informally reaching out to users for feedback had always been happening, but just last year, our product team formalized a client outreach program that maximizes the impact of the feedback on the final product. The outreach has been invaluable; not just for our team, but for clients who could help shape the product’s development.

Now that it’s a formal part of our process, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at our client outreach programs – how they work, and how much of an impact they have had on the online survey tools. Let’s take a peek under the hood:

User Surveys

We make survey software, so it was a natural jump to use the platform to ask our own clients for feedback. To gain quantitative data about in-demand features, the surveys asked multiple choice and ranking questions that aimed to prioritize the relative importance of new features. At the end of each survey, qualitative data was collected via a series of open-ended questions that asked users to precisely describe what key features would maximize their organization’s use of the tool, and how existing functionalities could be further enhanced.

Advisory Committee

Post-survey, we wanted to continue the qualitative conversations, and dig deeper with active users on how they could maximize their productivity on the platform. So we assembled a team of 15 of our most active clients, representing varying industries, organization sizes and survey types. In the pursuit of more qualitative insights about specific upcoming features, we formalized this group into a client advisory committee.

When we are in the early planning stages of a major new release, we can now approach a team of active users as a sounding board. The conversation starts as an overview call to get their input on how they use a specific feature set. We then use this rich feedback to further define product requirements and create interactive mock-ups of the new feature set. We hop on a second call to present the mock-ups to their teams, and fine-tune the details over time.

Data galore!

It was nice to see complimentary patterns from our varied client types that helped validate our internal team’s existing direction. The client survey offered instant clarity on which new features were must-haves, which helped the product team to immediately start prioritizing the next few releases.

We were amazed by the long, detailed answers given to the open-ended questions. It was clear that clients were very open to the communication channel and were excited to have their voice heard. The responses helped stimulate new ideas for future features and started many active discussions among the development team.

We have witnessed very high involvement levels from all members of the advisory committee, and the resulting conversations feel very collaborative. The members often choose to gather project-specific suggestions from their larger team, and even share the feature mock-ups with them for more robust user feedback. It’s quite clear that the advisory committee enjoys being consulted and collaborating on feature development.

Overall, the entire process has helped us define a very solid road map for the next year worth of updates, and with the help of many of our users, we have populated our first 2 major releases with many of their most commonly requested features.

Coming soon: results

The earliest major release that was directly impacted by the new client feedback is coming out in just a couple of months! And the client feedback team has already moved on to collecting data on a future release that will enhance our reporting tool. Next month, we’ll share with you some of the results of the first few client outreach initiatives right here on the blog.

If you’re a user of the industry’s most flexible survey platform, keep an eye out for our surveys to join in the conversation – you could help us define the future of Voxco Online. Stay tuned!

5 perceived pains of switching phone survey software

There are thousands of companies stuck using antiquated, non-intuitive phone survey software. That leads to frustration among survey creators and interviewers, which hurts the organization in a figurative way. The lost productivity from below-average hourly talk times caused by inefficient CATI and dialer systems is a far more real pain: it hurts the bottom line. Those two distinct pains usually serve as the catalyst to switch phone survey systems and start solving the problem.

Ironically, pain is also the #1 worry that organizations have that prevents them from taking the leap to a better phone system as well. Switching is expected to be a huge commitment, and a tremendous drag on time and resources to make it happen correctly. It’s that fear of pain that keeps them using the original CATI software and dialer, as much as it might hurt. For some, it’s an endless cycle.

So what are the perceived pains involved in switching telephone survey software, and how can you minimize the hurt, or avoid it altogether? We talked with the Voxco transition services team to find out why companies are so afraid of switching, and how the team minimizes the pain and maximizes the benefits.

Downtime

Switching means downtime, right? No phone survey organization wants to commit to long periods of inactivity while software and hardware get installed, databases are transferred, and users get trained. The undefined length of time that the organization could be nonoperational is a big worry, mostly because it’s an unknown.

The Voxco transition services team works during off hours and in batches to install Voxco CATI and Voxco Dialer. This ensures that as many interviewers as possible remain active at all times. And the gains in productivity from using a better survey platform can quickly outweigh short bursts of downtime.

Data integrity

Keeping stored data secure throughout the switching process is essential. The assumption is that the act of transferring data is time-consuming, and risky. There’s a very real worry that respondent and response data will be lost in the process.

Our transition team are data integrity experts. We maintain high security levels through the entire data transfer process and work with your organization to ensure data stays safe.

Survey replication

It’s not just data that needs to be transferred, but the phone surveys need to replicated on the new CATI platform. Active surveys, surveys in development, and past surveys. Project managers have valid worries about how much effort is required to accurately copy relevant projects from one CATI platform to another.

Our Pro Services team spends their days creating, replicating, and editing surveys on Voxco CATI. We even include a free block of their time in our transition process to ensure that your most important surveys are up and running ASAP. For those surveys you choose to replicate yourself, rest assured: our training team and intuitive platform will have your team up and running in no time.

Training

Even if the physical software switch and hardware installation are handled by experts, what about the day-to-day users – the interviewers? They don’t know how the new CATI platform works, and managers worry that it could take a long time to get them comfortable enough to be productive.

The Voxco transition team includes trainers who are familiar with our leading competitors’ phone survey systems. Our training caters to your existing knowledge and expertise: it’s customized to the CATI system you used in the past, and your overall comfort level with phone survey project management.

Service & Support

There are a ton of CATI software platforms in the industry where the support team is impossible to reach. So new clients want to know: how reachable is your support team?

We serve a specialized client list at a very personal level. Our follow-the-sun support team is reachable almost any time, and prioritize newer phone system clients who are transitioning to Voxco for the first time.

Remove the pain

We know how worried survey organizations are about switching telephony systems. The worries are usually quite valid, and the effort needed could be significant.

The Voxco transition services team has one goal in mind: to be the antidote to your pain. Everything we do is designed to reduce pain: reducing the pain of using outdated platforms, and reducing the pain of switching. They do this by customizing the transition process to each organization’s specific needs. Learn more about how painless switching telephony systems can be for you.

5 Unique Uses for CAPI Personal Interviewing Survey Software

Adding an interviewer to the mix for survey research is tremendously useful. We’ve discussed that before.

But thinking outside the box, what can personal interviewing tools help you achieve? The benefits of a flexible CAPI tool go far beyond just conducting face-to-face surveys. The power of an advanced mobile data collection software opens doors to dozens of potential uses for researchers. For example:

1. A gateway to richer insights

Excuse me sir, would you like to try our new granola bar? That’s a question that stops a lot more people in the street than asking somebody to complete a survey. Begin with a taste, and work your way up to more. CAPI can act as a gateway survey that leads to more data down the line. A taste of a new product leads to a quick on-the-street survey. Those responses lead to an invitation to self-complete a longer online survey, or even to join a panel of loyal users. When it’s part of a richer multichannel survey system, personal interviewing software can be used as a first step on a longer path to getting more insights from more people.

2. Secret shopping

Your ‘respondents’ could actually be inanimate objects. And your ‘interviewer’ could be more of an observer. CAPI tools offer the perfect solution for managing a team of loosely trained secret shoppers. Assign the ‘interviewers’ specific stores and they can use a mobile device to answer questions about their observations (e.g. quantity of products displayed, shelf placement, service ratings, etc.). They can upload photos, videos and audio files to accompany their findings. Managers can deploy shoppers, update survey questions, monitor metadata, and view live results from a central location.

3. Self-completion offline surveys

It’s common to think of CAPI tools as purely interviewer-based. But collecting data via mobile devices in offline mode can also be used for self-completion surveys. At events or in stores, tablets can be affixed in high-traffic areas to encourage patrons to leave feedback. Tablets can be handed off to shoppers or passersby to answer a quick survey with no need for a WiFi connection. If your tool offers offline data collection and intuitive survey design, let respondents use it themselves and synchronize at the end of the day to analyze the insights.

4. Event dashboards

At events, CAPI tools can be used as an attention-grabbing results dashboard. Some of our clients have incorporated one or two fun questions into a longer face-to-face interview (e.g. ‘Who will win the Superbowl this year?’). As interviewers stop attendees to answer surveys on tablets, responses to those fun questions are regularly synchronized via WiFi with a results dashboard on an in-booth display. The results draw attention, start conversations between interviewers and attendees, and encourage participation in the larger survey.

5. Guided multilingual self-completion surveys

Collecting feedback at tourist hotspots can be difficult. There is a natural barrier between multilingual tourists and monolingual interviewers. But a good CAPI tool allows interviewers to seamlessly change the language of the survey, and turn the tablet around for respondents to answer questions directly. Just ask Cimigo Hong Kong, who have been doing it for years!

Who do you need to interview?

Think of the personal interviewing software as a set of outreach tools that help you meet more potential respondents, and get more varied data in the field. The best researchers don’t restrict themselves to standard methodologies. Voxco Mobile Offline offers engaging survey design, powerful interviewer management, and offline data collection. That’s huge potential for researchers who want to get unique results.

Are personal interviews better than self-completion surveys?

We recently outlined the benefits of letting respondents complete surveys with no guidance from interviewers. Self-completion surveys are the most common method for quantitative surveys in the market research industry, primarily due to the cost and ease of deployment.

But what about interviewer-led quantitative surveys? What are the benefits to having a professional guiding respondents through a survey (face-to-face or via telephone) and recording their answers?

Here are a few reasons to choose interviewer-based surveys versus self-completion:

Location-specific, moment-specific insights

In-person surveys are brought directly to the respondent, wherever they are. This is a huge advantage for interviewing consumers when they are still present in the specific place your survey references (e.g. mall, in home, tourist destination). Interviewers can even incorporate a full product experience, including touching, tasting, or viewing products in their natural setting.

Asking for feedback while respondents are still experiencing something will generally lead to richer responses than relying on their memories.

Interviewer guidance

In-person or telephone interviewers can provide assistance and clarity on question meaning. They can ensure the question was answered adequately. They can aid recall by prompting. And they can keep respondents motivated to remain focused on the survey.

Well-trained interviewers (and well-structured/well-written surveys) can accomplish all of this without biasing the survey results themselves.

Reach new respondents

In-person and telephone surveys allow you to reach groups with lower internet penetration. And friendly interviewers can motivate participation from some types of people who could be less likely to respond to online surveys/join online panels.

When beginning a project, survey project managers are faced with the task of reach. If their existing online survey panel/database isn’t specific enough to the required demographic, intercept interviews or regional dialing can reach a whole new world of respondents with no prior need for their contact information.

Lower respondent initiative needed

Once a respondent is reached in-person or on the phone, all they need to do is verbally answer questions as they’re posed by the interviewer. There’s no need for them to read the questions, or to manually manipulate the survey itself to provide responses.

Why not both?

The market research world is not black-or-white, and researchers fortunately don’t need to choose between exclusively online or exclusively in-person surveys.

Some studies need the speed and freedom provided by online self-completion surveys. Some need the richer level of respondent data that generally comes from interviews. Most researchers see the value of both; these methodologies can be packaged to offer the flexibility of channel choice on individual studies, and the power of a centralized multichannel survey database.

What’s right for you? Let us know and we’ll show you how the world’s most flexible survey software can fit into your methodology, and fits comfortably into your budget.

Let us help you.

Discover how we can help YOUR organization solve its current survey needs.