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Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing Software (CATI)

The Voxco Guide to CATI Surveys

Dive into our guide to know more and conduct seamless CATI surveys


Table of Contents

Research is the most important aspect through which a company can gather the relevant data required to make informed decisions. Many research models present in the market have made this data collection process easier and more efficient. 

These research models focus  on deciding the correct topic, picking the right audience with the relevant knowledge base that qualifies them as an appropriate respondent and asking them the right questions to analyse and predict accurately.

With the development of computerized learning and AI, the data collection process has become easier and simplified over the years. 

Brands spend their own sweet time and resources going through multiple research methodologies and conducting feasibility studies to see if the method they choose is viable enough to be implemented.

One such method is CATI or computer assisted telephone interviewing software.

 Let’s deep dive into what is CATI and its importance in this blog. 

What is CATI?

In layman terms, CATI is a research method which conducts survey research in a telephonic manner guided by a computer. The interviewer makes a call to the respondent and conducts the whole research over the telephone by using a script that is displayed on a computer instead of using the traditional paper printed survey. 

CATI simplifies the data collection by allowing agents to make notes about the respondent’s answers in the computer. Logic functions used by the computer helps make the interviewing process dynamic using question randomization and repetition based on the type of answers provided by a particular respondent and so is customized in that sense.

In addition, piping and branching techniques helps to route to and skip questions based on what is relevant for a participant.

CATI survey software offers a better alternative to traditional data collection. It mixes the interpersonal touch generated by an interaction between company personnel and a respondent. Thus offering an easier way of collecting and sorting data that assist the interviewer in gathering relevant information without compromising quality. 

Moreover, it allows the interviewer to focus on the interaction while leaving the complex work of managing data to the computer. This way, the interviewer gets to build a good conversation with the respondent and the efficiency in data collection improves. Win-win!!

Addressing the big question:

Why leverage CATI for data collection?

Using cutting-edge phone survey software ensures faster data collection and a wider reach. All the while boosting engagement, increasing agents’ efficiency, & increasing response rates. 

Here are six reasons why you should leverage computer-assisted telephone interview software for data collection. 

01. Scalable:

CATI is a useful tool when it comes to collecting responses from respondents who are not easily accessible. It breaks down geographical barriers to make it easy for interviewers to collect data from a respondent anywhere simply by making a phone call. 

This particular advantage of CATI makes it a better choice than personal interviewing, where a face-to-face interaction takes place between the respondent and the interviewer. This makes it easier to conduct large-scale studies in a short time period without any significant investment.

Using cloud-based CATI software enables you to scale the tool based on your organizational needs. 

02. Customizable:

Respondents have a plethora of points of view, and these become more varied as the number of respondents goes on increasing. 

Create tailor-made surveys using skip-logic, piping, or branching to ensure you ask respondents questions relevant to their experience. This provides the benefit of collecting precise data and eliminating any question or aspect that does not apply to the respondent.

03. Real-time monitoring:

When utilizing computer-assisted telephone interviewing, you can monitor the call’s progress. You can supervise an ongoing call, and monitor the live dashboard for completed cases, talk & idle time, etc. 

Additionally, CATI software allows real-time synchronization and monitoring of data as and when interviews are complete. This benefit makes it easier to highlight and correct mistakes and track real-time progress to see if the study is progressing in the right direction. 

Certain omnichannel survey software such as Voxco offers real-time data on the survey progress. It also integrates data from multiple types of research to provide a more holistic picture.

04. Good customer service:

For any respondent or customer, the interviewer represents the company for the period of the interview. The way an interviewer converses, his manner of speaking, and his tone can have a big impact on how the customer perceives the company image. 

By allowing the interviewer to focus only on their interaction with the customer, it provides freedom to the interviewer to build a good conversation with customers. This ensures the agent is not diverted by data collection and management. The computer does all the work while the interviewer can concentrate on rapport-building activities.

05. Quicker process:

Given that half of the work is automated by computer software, the process of collecting data through CATI is quicker than other manual methods. Sticking to the script and being concise offers the benefit of touching all the pain points in a timely and structured manner. This way you can ensure collection of the required responses and also meet the deadlines.

06. Elaboration:

Respondents might not understand certain questions or may feel that the choices offered are ambiguous. Such doubts about the clarity of the survey can easily be resolved through elaboration offered by the interviewer on call. 

You cannot offer such clarification through online surveys, which puts CATI as a better choice. The better the respondents understand the questions and the intention of the survey, the higher the quality of the feedback you gather. 

What are the cons of using CATI survey software?

There are some cons to using CATI as a mode of data collection. Here are two such disadvantages: 

Designing takes time:

The process of collecting and navigating through the research may be efficient, but designing a questionnaire and entering it into the software can be time-consuming. Added to this is the typing speed and correctness of the interviewer. 

The interviewer needs to be fast in entering the customer’s responses while making sure they do not miss out on any keywords that are essential for achieving the research purpose.

Modifications are difficult to incorporate:

Using logic functions in surveys makes it difficult to incorporate changes and update answers if respondents remember a part of the answer later on.

Research challenges that CATI counters

CATI software helps you interview your audience and gather accurate data faster than face-to-face surveys. Here are some of the challenges that CATI surveys help you resolve. 

01. Lack of correlation:

The issue of not being to establish a correlation between two different research topics hampers the quality of decision-making that takes place using the data collected. By allowing real-time monitoring and dashboard inclusions, the researchers can combine two or more research results. This enables you to look at the bigger picture and establish a relationship between multiple research studies.

02. Dissatisfied respondents:

Respondents may not complete online surveys due to a lack of human touch or the survey length being too long, leading to non-response bias. By allowing the interviewer to concentrate on interacting with the respondent, the respondent gets to feel valued and respected. The interviewer can make sure that questions are answered to the fullest.

03. Geographical barriers:

Finding the right respondent may be easy, but getting in touch with them is difficult. That is the reason why most researchers go for convenience sampling. It is the process where respondents are selected on the basis of how easily they are available. With CATI, researchers need not rely on such a method and can carry out nuanced research without worrying about accessibility.

04. The number of respondents:

Researchers try to scale down the number of respondents they interview due to time constraints, lack of resources, and accessibility issues. With CATI in the picture, accurate data gets collected, and respondent accessibility is not an issue sample respondents can be maximized. Smaller samples can lead to inaccurate results due to sampling bias. This possibility is eliminated due to CATI.

05. Building long-term relationships:

Your customers walk out of a research process satisfied and content with the interaction they had, all because their opinions are valued. CATI brings good customer experience to the table so that long-term relationships are established and satisfaction is kept top-notch.

Use cases of CATI survey software

Computer-assisted telephone interview survey software helps you reach your audience by phone and gather data without the need for face-to-face conversation. Market or social researchers, government agencies, and other organizations use telephone surveys to engage audiences who they cannot reach with personal or online surveys. 

1. Market research: 

Brands can use phone surveys as a data collection method to gather insights into customers’ preferences, purchase behavior, and attitudes. 

You can conduct phone surveys to

  • Guage brand awareness,
  • Gather feedback on new products or services, 
  • Understand customer experience and their satisfaction with the company’s products/services,
  • Segment market based on demographic, geographic, behavioral, and other characteristics, and
  • Gather competitive intelligence. 

2. Political polling:

You can use CATI surveys in political campaigns to gather insights from voters about their opinions and preferences. Here are some ways you can use phone surveys in political polling: 

  • Track changes in voters’ preferences and gather their opinion on campaign messages. 
  • Conduct exit polls to understand how people vote and predict the result. 
  • Conduct focus groups to understand the voter’s concerns. 

3. Social research:

Social scientists can use phone surveys to understand the beliefs, attitudes, practices, and behaviors of various groups in relation to societal issues. 

Social scientists can use it for the following purposes:

  • Gather data using social welfare surveys on social assistance, access to social services, housing, food, etc. 
  • Gather public opinions on social values, policies, and programs. 

4. Health research:

Healthcare organizations can use phone surveys to track patients’ aftercare or explore individuals’ access to healthcare services. The insights can help organizations develop public health interventions and policies. 

Here are some ways healthcare organizations can use phone surveys: 

  • Track patient satisfaction with the quality of care and access to healthcare services. 
  • Collect public information on healthcare utilization, types of services used, cost of healthcare services, frequency of visits, etc. 

Overall, the CATI survey is a valuable tool for gathering insights from a wider population in a short amount of time. Using the data, organizations can make informed decisions and further follow up to gather in-depth insights. 


CATI surveys are a valuable research tool, offering advantages such as faster data collection, control over the research process, high response rates, etc. It helps you reach an audience who may not be proficient in using mobile to take online surveys. Or those who you cannot reach even with field surveys. 

Phone surveys allow you to avoid misinterpretation of questions, thus providing you with higher-quality data. It is quick and efficient, as agents can enter the data as they go through the interview. This means the software can automatically analyze the data right after the last interview ends. 

This data collection method is a great example of technological advancement in this interconnected world. 

Why Voxco is the right choice for you?

CATI is an important research tool that can help desired end results but the very act of selecting the right software that meets your needs can be little difficult to find. Here’s how Voxco makes a good case for the scale and nature of study that you are looking to conduct:

  • An omni channel platform: Find everything you need at one place by combining our powerful Voxco CATI mode with Voxco’s Cloud Dialer and Voxco IVR, create an integrated phone survey system of unparalleled efficiency.
  • Dynamic survey design tools: The cumbersome part of CATI made easier to create highly complex surveys with advanced question types and multiple conditions.
  • The freedom for interviewers to switch between languages gives a personal touch to the interviewing process.
  • Sophisticated fieldwork management tools: Maximize response rates with fieldwork tools like time zone management, interviewer roles, and smoothing functions.
  • Voxco CATI can be seamlessly integrated with an entire telephony system of your choice:
      • Voxco Dialer offers automated, manual, or hybrid dialling modes to maximize dialling productivity.
      • Optimize interviewing resources by blending inbound and outbound calls, and improve response rates by using Voxco IVR to handle returned calls.


1. What is a CATI survey?

When you use a computer for interviewing and gathering feedback from a human, it is known as a CATI survey. 

You can create a survey with an extensive logic function to ensure that you ask only relevant questions. Once the software connects a call to the respondent, the interviewer can read from the interviewer monitor the script with an introduction, instructions, and questions in it. The interviewer can select the code based on the respondent’s answer and log in the data. 

2. How are CATI different from traditional phone surveys?

In a CATI interview, the agent gets assistance from a computer program to conduct a survey efficiently. The agent reads the survey questions from the screen and logs in the response, the software uses logic to show the next question based on the previous answer. 

Whereas, on traditional phone surveys, the interviewer had to manually look for survey questions which meant longer research time and irrelevant questions. 

3. What is the advantage of using CATI surveys?

It is more time and cost effective than face-to-face surveys. You can reach a wider audience where they are, thus helping you utilize your research time efficiently. The software also enables you to take time-zone into consideration. 

Agents can focus on gathering data and so complete the survey project faster. 

4. How long does it take to conduct phone interviews?

The length of phone surveys depends on factors such as the number of questions, the complexity of the question, and the number of respondents. Even with automated calls and sophisticated logic, a phone interview can last up to 10 to 20 minutes. 

It’s important to keep the number of questions to a minimum. Too many questions can lead to survey fatigue and lower your response rate. 

5. What are the limitations of phone surveys?

These surveys may have limitations such as respondent fatigue and potential biases in the sample selection. Additionally, it may be difficult to reach some individuals by phone, or they may be unwilling to participate in a phone survey. 

6. Who can use CATI software?

This time of data collection method is commonly used by market researchers, social researchers, government agencies, and other organizations. However, it may not be the appropriate method for all types of research. 

7. What are the key features of computer-assisted telephone interview survey software?

Here are some key features of phone survey software: 

  • Questionnaire design: It allows you to create a questionnaire with a wide range of question types, extensive logic functions, and more. 
  • Sample management: You can import samples in multiple formats, distribute samples by interviewer roles, change quotas, and define sample subsets. 
  • Quality control: It offers quality control capabilities like monitoring interviews in real time, tracking performance, and remote supervision for multiple sites. 
  • Integration: It allows you to integrate with other research tools like Dialers, IVR,s or even Online surveys. 

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