Planning on How Best to Interview the Next Generation of Survey Participants

With response rate challenges continuing to haunt the industry, we collectively need to start thinking about how to survey the next generation of survey participants. Youth today are very much driven by technology. They are also very used to being entertained and stimulated. Unfortunately, taking a survey isn’t always the most exciting activity one could do with one’s time.

Educating the next generation to the importance of market research is the first step in getting participation. This is a very large initiative and may need the full support of the industry as a whole in terms of marketing and advertising. Schools and universities are probably the best places to start. Something to think about!

There is debate in the industry today

As far as making research fun and exciting, there is debate in the industry today as to the bias “gamifying” surveys creates. I myself have posted before on being aware of the potential traps utilizing technology just because it exists. The participant needs to be thoughtfully providing honest and open responses to questions and not simply enjoy the experience of taking the survey. For this reason, more research needs to be put into investing rather than simply into making surveys games.

New landscapes

There have been a number of new elements added to the survey mix; web/mobile surveying, crowdsourcing, research panels, and market research online communities all provide new sources of data collection participants. Panels lend themselves particularly well to younger respondents due to the fact they are being paid and typically can complete a number of studies quickly and easily using mobile devices (the young person’s trusty side arm!).

Would you like an incentive with that?

Credit: Within Advertising

Credit: Within Advertising

From my experience, the youth today tend to be less motivated and making the surveys easy to get in front of the respondents is going to be key for getting participation. Incentives are also going to play a bigger and bigger role in getting completes.

Last but not least, another consideration is having research topics that are very specifically relevant to the target audience. Having a survey pop up on a teenager’s smart phone as they walk out of McDonald’s on their experience of the meal they just took along with an incentive for a free meal just might do the trick. This employs smart interviewing technologies and expensive incentives but will give the edge on getting the completes needed!

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Do not hesitate to post your thoughts below and I will respond. You can also contact me at

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Mobile surveys: advantages, tools and perspectives

Mobile surveys are developing very rapidly; they challenge every data collection and follow-up practices we know. The daily integration of tablet devices, for professional uses as much as personal ones, brings research specialists to question their own approach.

The mobile survey: beyond the trends lie the advantages

“Vue” Magazine, March 2013

Mobility is definitely the rising star in the world of technology and communications. ABI Research, the international research company, declared that 2013 was the “year of the tablet”. More than 145 million units should be sold across the world, 20% of which will be used professionally.

Research companies are thus adapting and integrating mobile surveys in their strategies.

The mobile survey: beyond the trends lie the advantages

In the field of market studies and opinion surveys, specialists are continually looking for new ways to increase the response rates of participants. Since the use of mobile devices is more and more popular, polling firms are increasingly resorting to mobile surveys. And with good reason; the benefits abound:

  • A significant drop in production costs
  • Data that is collected and treated in real time
  • A special link is created between interviewer and interviewee during face-to-face surveys
  • A higher response rate due to the flexibility offered to the respondents
  • Mobile devices’ capacity to collect information (geolocation, camera, audio/video recording, etc.).

Data thus collected can be used immediately, without having to go through data transfers and entries. In short, mobile surveys bring the respondents closer to the polling firms (and their clients).

Which is the best mobile survey solution?

There are many mobile survey solutions: the survey software or the mobile survey application, to name but two. Actually, one has to know how to choose the solution that best matches the pollster’s needs.

Here are 3 mobile survey tools that are often used:

  • Software that is connected to Internet
  • Customized software
  • Dedicated applications (app)

In some cases, firms even choose to develop their own pilot projects. Here are 5 points to validate the solution:

  • Has it existed for a while? Is it a beta version?
  • Can it operate on the main tablets and smartphones?
  • Is it specifically conceived for mobile devices?
  • Does it allow for simple and easy updates?
  • Does it offer a demo version that can be tested?

It is important to keep in mind that the best tool will give the best results if it is selected judiciously and according to one’s specific needs.

What is the future of mobile surveys?

The trends prove it: the advent of mobility is revolutionizing the way face-to-face surveys are approached. Research firms are adjusting their strategic position by diversifying their services and integrating new technologies. In a nutshell, they’re all trying to answer one question: “Which communication tools will better hit a precise target in a given place?”

What can we expect for the coming years? How will the manners in which we approach surveys change?

“In the near future, tablets will become the main device in our profession. They will completely replace laptops for face to face surveys and establish itself for all types of panel”, said David Lacan, Director of mobile solutions at Voxco.

However, to take advantage of this effervescence, we will have to monitor certain critical points closely. One of them being platform compatibility; we are speaking here of an attention to the compatibility of mobile survey tools rather than the processes.

“To meet that challenge, compatible solutions will have to be proposed on as many terminals as possible. The mobile Web is thus very relevant in some cases”, adds Mr. Lacan.

Another significant challenge will be to effectively analyze data stemming from such a variety of sources.

The true challenge of the years to come is not to be found in the means of implementation to obtain information, but rather in learning to analyze data that stems from multiple channels“, explains Michel Saulnier, outgoing president of MRIA’s Quebec Chapter and Voxco consultant.

The future of mobile surveys is flourishing. Still embryonic, it is a solution that will prove beneficial to groups of individuals and professionals, whether interviewers or interviewees.

To learn more about mobility in 2013:

Welcome to the “Vue Magazine” LinkedIn Group of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA).

“PS: If you think this is information other research specialists might find useful, tweet about it!’”

Posted by Eric Perreault

Virtual Call Centers: Bringing Remote Interviewers Closer Through Helpful Technology

For this post, we wanted to start by taking a moment and saying thank you for your readership and your comments! Often we get caught up in the intricacies of our field, focusing our articles on the technical aspects as a result, but we’d like to assure you that we read every comment, and take the time to answer all the questions you might have!

One of the hot topics you wanted us to address is the phenomenon of virtual call centers with work-at-home interviewers. You wanted to know if it’s worth it, if it generates cost savings, if the technology is mature, and how it affects human resources and quality assurance.

There’s no denying it, virtual call centers are not only a growing trend, they’re a reality that’s here to stay! It makes perfect sense when you think about it, both from the employee and the managerial point of view.

Why Use a Virtual Call Center?

There are many reasons why a company would create and take advantage of a virtual call center, but first and foremost on every manager’s mind is the potential reduction in overhead costs offered by this approach because it requires no physical space since the interviewers are working from home.

Virtual Call Center

Let’s also keep in mind that with a virtual call center, you can hire employees as needed from ANY geographical region! With a virtual call center you can easily optimize your staff by language, accents, proximity to project, proximity to end clients, etc., as well as having extra manpower always ready on staff to manage work overflow. This type of hiring flexibility allows you to expand when needed without incurring the costs of a brick and mortar expansion.  It can also help your recruiting efforts and reduce turnover if seen as a real advantage by your employee.

Perceived Challenges Managing Remote Interviewers

There are five major concerns that all call center managers share and address: productivity, quality, motivation, technology, and deployment. These five remain constant whether we’re speaking of a virtual call center or a traditional call center.

That being said, let us explain how the Voxco Command Center, with its integrated proprietary telephony system, Pronto, helps address these issues in a virtual call center context.

Productivity is assured through automated dialing with a combination of user defined dialing parameters.  Dialing can be fully automated in all modes (Preview, Power, and Predictive), allowing for unparalleled control over interviewer work pace.

Quality assurance is done using intuitive real-time visual and audio monitoring and recording functions. What this means, is that managers, supervisors, and QA staff, are aware of everything that is going on at all times, in real-time, and can intervene and act upon this data in any way they see fit, at any point in the project.

Additionally, the solution is easy to deploy and maintain from an IT perspective. In fact, all it takes is Internet access. There’s no software for the remote interviewer to download, there are no files for the interviewer to send or receive, everything in one place, secure, and always up to date.

The last challenge, but not the least, is employee motivation: the gremlin of the virtual call center idea. Truth is, in the call center world, this human aspect is the most important, difficult to control, and hard to implement.

Properly training and keeping employees aligned with the company vision and project requirements forces managers to implement various processes and communication protocols.

Technology can do very little when it comes to managing this human aspect. It can offer an intuitive and friendly graphic user interface, it can provide us with helpful and flexible short messaging capabilities to deploy during work shifts; however, the type of communication needed to motivate employees goes beyond instant messaging, and has more to do with HR than IT. A failure to achieve on the above issue will inevitably result in high employee turnover, lack of productivity, and poor work quality, no matter the software being employed.

Command Center is currently being used to manage hundreds of call centers worldwide, combining over 20,000 workstations, 7,500 of which use our Pronto Telephony System.

Voxco Command Center: a call center management solution focused on productivity, quality monitoring, and technological flexibility.

  • Web based CATI data collection interface (no installation/easy to deploy and maintain)
  • User definable access rights and security
  • Audio and visual monitoring and recording for quality control purposes
  • Built-in messaging to interviewers
  • Integrated automated-dialing telephony layer (all interviewers connected to central CATI system)
  • VoIP telephony connectivity efficiency (standard telephony connectivity using regular phone lines also available when bandwidth may not be sufficient for VoIP)
  • All data collected is stored on a central database. Nothing resides on the workstations of the home interviewers

Again, thank you all for your readership and comments, you always manage to surprise and impress us! We hope that this article answered some of the questions you had about virtual call centers. For more information on Command Center or Pronto solutions, visit our website or contact us.

Posted by Eric Perreault

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