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

Demystifying the Governance of Survey Results

Information behaves just like water. It can be captured, stocked and, if left unused, it can evaporate without anyone really noticing…

Information that is collected through research studies on customer behaviour follows the same logic. Once a program measuring client satisfaction and loyalty is implemented, the results are observed but rarely analyzed and even less transformed into concrete action plans (less than 10% of companies conduct sophisticated analyzes based on the results of their surveys – source Marketing Science Institute). As a consequence, the results evaporate instead of circulating effectively throughout the company.

Since 2010, the biggest research suppliers are aware of this situation. “Marketing research firms had practically all reached the same level in their service offers and their clients started to doubt the utility of these studies…” explains Michel Saulnier, researcher and president of the MRIA. As a reaction, integrated information management models have started to emerge. The principle is quite simple. It consists of transforming the satisfaction or loyalty results into action plans. “These action plans, supported by the implementation of rigorous governance, will allow companies to significantly improve the experience and loyalty of their clients”, Saulnier believes.

As we have seen in a previous article (How to Make Survey Results Come Alive in the Company?), it is important to deploy a governance model. This deployment rests on a few essential steps:

  • First, the involvement and support of a senior-level manager in charge of customer loyalty. That strategic involvement from a company’s upper management is critical to allow the establishment of the steps that will lead to effective governance.
  • Second, client-oriented action committees made up of employees are integrated throughout every segment of the company. These committees act as relays, disseminating information, and as sensors focused on clients’ reactions.
  • Once this structure is established, research studies results are disseminated quickly and regularly (monthly is ideal), throughout the company via the above-mentioned structure.

Demystifying the Governance of Survey Results The client-oriented action committees can thus interact immediately based on the received information and rapidly set up action plans to improve client loyalty. “Of course, a rigorous follow-up and updates of the action plans are critical in obtaining results. There is no one right answer.” Michel Saulnier continues, “only rigorous data analysis, and its transformation into action plans, allows us to measure the results obtained after surveying the clients”. This permanent attention, along with the adjustments implemented by the action committees, allows the identification of “winning solutions”. Once an action is deemed effective in reinforcing clients’ satisfaction and loyalty, it is communicated to the entire personnel of the company and implemented. “For a governance structure to really be operational, it is important to involve the company’s front-line employees, through the recognition of their work as well as a financial bonus in exchange for their involvement in the process.”

This new concept of governance of satisfaction or loyalty survey results is a fundamental step in the strategic management of companies. Once it is set up, not only does it allow you to involve all the personnel with the improvement of the company’s quality, it also allows you to be in sync with clients’ demands.

A permanent guarantee of your ability to compete!

Let us help you.

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