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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.