In times of crisis, CATI surveys are turning out to be lifelines

April 22, 2020

In times of crisis, CATI surveys are turning out to be lifelines

April 22, 2020


COVID-19 has forced governments across the world to enact a lockdown. Economic activity aside, the lockdown has affected everyone’s daily routine, their social life and the way they work (A massive chunk of the global workforce has had to transition to a work from home scenario in a very short time frame).

These factors have made people far more willing to respond to CATI surveys as they seek more human contact. Phone surveys can not only reassure respondents but also help researchers get more accurate data & insights if they stay mindful of this behavioural shift.

Expect better productivity, and more value for money

Siena College recently conducted a poll of New Yorkers about the Coronavirus, and found that on an average, respondents were spending more time on their surveys. This, along with the improvement in response rates makes it an extremely productive period for conducting CATI surveys. There’s going to be a lot less time wasted on calls that lead nowhere and you can expect a larger pool of respondents.
More respondents = more accurate data, as you won’t have to extrapolate your data to account for diverse or otherwise unreachable demographics.

Even though people are more willing to participate in your surveys, there’s a few things you can keep in mind to really make the most of this period:

Empathize with respondents as best you can – especially CATI

Humans are social creatures but we’ve been forced indoors during these uncertain times. It’s natural for us to feel worried or anxious about the coming months. While people are more than willing to pick up the phone, interviewers conducting CATI Surveys should understand that listening deeply and offering a few reassuring words about the future would go a long way in establishing authentic communication.

Pick the right tools

Researchers have reported an improvement in drop off rates as well as response rates for both CATI surveys and online surveys. You can choose one or both depending on your objectives and field of interest. With that being said, Phone surveys have the advantage of a human touch.

With the US General election on the horizon, there’s a lot on people’s minds, making them far more likely to pick up the phone and stay on till the end of the poll. That’s rich data right there so phone surveys would be better suited. As for online surveys, there can be no better proof of their effectiveness than the US govt making their CENSUS 2020 available as an online questionnaire.

Expect better participation, and tailor your questions accordingly

With a huge chunk of the global workforce staying at home, you can expect better availability i.e higher response rates. However, this may require you to tweak your phone and online surveys a little as people might end up spending more time or offering more info than you had anticipated. Remember there are going to be respondents who are new to the process and are potentially an excellent source for insights in the future as well so it’s worth the effort.

Spread a little cheer – Incentivize!

In uncertain times such as these, it will be to your brand’s benefit to incentivize your surveys. While it may not be feasible for every scenario – adding incentives (even small ones count!) to your surveys will not only get you better response rates, but also generate goodwill and loyalty for your brand.
It’s also extremely likely that people will be more receptive to future surveys, even when things are back to normal.

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