Telephone survey: Pros and Cons Telephone survey

Discover the Dynamics of Telephone Surveys: Pros, Cons, & Best Practices


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Telephone surveys have been central to market research for decades as they offer a personal way to approach respondents and gather their insights. With technological innovation and the rise of digital data collection methods, telephone surveys have also evolved into CATI and IVR surveys. The innovation has made reaching diverse demographics and ensuring high response rates easier and more efficient. 

In this blog, we’ll dive into exploring the advantages and disadvantages of phone surveys and best practices for optimal results.

What is a telephone survey?

Companies conduct telephone surveys or interviews to keep track of customer satisfaction/feedback, new product ideas, and valuable insights into the market. Interviewers make use of the questionnaire and gather required data in a methodical approach. 

Telephone surveys help the brands to know where they stand in the market and against their competitors as well. The employees from customer care call centres make use of the customer phone numbers of a sample population and call them to conduct a short interview. This methodical approach includes determining research goals and objectives, making use of questionnaires, having the right sampling strategy and data gathering through interviews and later interpreting and analysing them.

Telephone survey: Pros and Cons Telephone survey

That being said, the coin of telephone interviews also has two sides – its pros and cons. After taking a look at them, you can decide if using telephone surveys as your mode of data collection will be efficient for your business or not.

Also read: CATI in market research: Why it’s time to use Phone Surveys

Read how Voxco helped ReconMR raise productivity by 40 % & scaled to 5 call centers.

Pros of telephone surveys

Telephone surveys have been preferred largely by many brands as their source of data. 

Here are the reasons why:

1. Telephone surveys are much more accessible than any other online survey. 

The reason is that there are still many people who don’t have access to the internet. Even if they have it, most don’t know how to use the research panels. In that case, almost everyone widely owns a telephone, be it a mobile phone or landline. Hence, telephone surveys will always be one step ahead. 

2. Telephone surveys hold control over the quality of the responses. 

The interviewer will know what the responder wants to say and how he or she wants to say it by examining his/her voice patterns. They can determine if the responders understand the questions if they are taking too long to answer, if the interview is boring them, and all the inconveniences at the customer end and solve them on the spot. 

3. Telephone surveys also cover a wide geographic area. 

Small business owners can connect to their customers in all of the areas through phones. This is also possible due to the power of accessibility that telephone surveys have over other surveys.

4. It is also cost- and time-effective. 

For any small business owner, covering 300 surveys through telephone surveys and any other form of survey is going to be different. Telephone surveys cost comparatively less than any other survey method. In mail surveys, participants are not even guaranteed to respond to the survey, hence increasing the time and cost budget.  

Also read: 3 Types of Total Survey Error in Telephone Surveys

Cons of telephone surveys

Given the pros, telephone surveys also have the other side of the coin. Here are some disadvantages of telephone surveys to help you get a holistic idea of this research approach. 

1. Telephone surveys are disruptive. 

Unlike online surveys, where customers can choose the right time to attend the survey, telephone surveys kind of make them sit through the entire process. And this can be pretty irritating from the customer’s point of view. 

2. Call screening affects telephone surveys the most. 

A busy person might have a habit of receiving calls from known numbers. Rest all others go to direct voicemails. In such cases, the interviewer may never reach the person. Instead, it has a chance of backfiring by irritating the customers even more.

3. An agent may find it hard to connect and build a rapport with customers through telephone surveys. 

This is due to its disadvantage when the interviewer cannot actually see the customer’s facial expressions and gestures. This doesn’t allow them to study whether they are saying what they really mean or not. 

4. Telephone surveys give you a less on-call window. 

This imposes limitations on complex questions. You cannot get the customer to stay on the phone very long – at most for 5-10 minutes. After that, they either hang up the call or start to give irrelevant answers. 

5. Telephone surveys can cost a lot more than online surveys.

This is because this method requires a whole set-up of operations, including computers, employees, and other things.

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Points to Remember When Administering a Telephone Survey

Here we will explore six best practices of telephone survey. 

  1. Break down long surveys. Long interviews, that too on a call, can be boring and tiresome. People might want to hang up, or it will make them uninterested. Rather, break down the topic into sub-topics and make them interesting. 
  2. Teach the interviewers how to conduct an interview creatively, which can get the most responses from the sample population. 
  3. Patience is the key. Understand that not every customer is straightforward and knows all about the brand. Give them time to answer the questions.
  4. Be prepared to interview a different set of samples other than the one you already selected. If some of them don’t pick up the call, you should have a list of other customers to call. It is said that if your daily target is interviewing 30 people, you should have a list of people at least seven times your target respondents. 
  5. Survey questions should be limited and specific. Long and confusing surveys will drive the customers away from responding. 
  6. Treat the respondents with respect. Give them the benefit of inconvenience for attending the survey according to your time. Have patience and let them take their time.

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Telephone surveys remain a powerful and reliable tool for conducting market research and gathering valuable insights from respondents. The ability to maintain a personal touch and build relationships helps in achieving high response rates and relevant insights. 

By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of telephone surveys, you can leverage the method effectively to gather actional data for informed and strategic decision-making.

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