Phone surveying is a method of data collection where respondent feedback is gathered through phone calls. Nowadays, phone surveys usually involve the use of a CATI system that makes the phone interviewing process more seamless. Similar to face-to-face surveys, phone surveys allow the interview to take the form of a conversation, connecting with respondents in a more personal way. This survey method also allows the interviewer to gauge the respondent’s tone, among other verbal queues, while remaining a more affordable survey method than face-to-face surveys.
Let’s look at some of the advantages of using phone surveys as a means to collect respondent feedback:
Like face-to-face surveys, phone surveys allow for the identification of verbal queues, and moderators can ask respondents to clarify or expand on certain responses if they notice a change in these queues.
Phone surveys, like face-to-face surveys, take a conversation form and make the survey feel more intimate. This form of surveying has some of the same benefits as face-to-face surveying while being cheaper to conduct.
Survey data can be gathered quickly through phone interviews as responses are immediate and a large number of interviews can be completed in a small period of time.
As phone surveys involve trained interviewers personally reaching out to respondents, it is easier to secure respondent participation. Therefore, phone surveys tend to have higher respondent participation when compared to digital or online surveys that are easier to dismiss.
As phone surveys are usually conducted with the use of CATI systems where data is entered into the computer in real-time, researchers can analyse this data more quickly.
The sample group can be chosen from a very large audience as most people have phones and/or telephones. This makes it easier to obtain a sample that is representative of the target population.
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Phone surveys are a great option for when researchers want to conduct face-to-face surveys but don’t necessarily have the funds to do so. This is because phone surveys, too, take the form of personal conversations, creating a more intimate and comfortable environment while survey responses are collected.
Additionally, phone surveys also allow moderators to distinguish between different verbal queues so that they can ask the respondent to expand or clarify on answers when they deem appropriate. The main limitation of phone surveys, however, is that non-verbal queues cannot be recognized.
The agent will require an internet connection and a phone. They may then place the call by selecting the number displayed on their screen. If this connection is unsuccessful, they can call the next number displayed on their screen. This is known as manual dialling and it can lead to an increase in survey costs due to the time spent on unsuccessful connections.
Instead, a solution called “predictive dialling” should be incorporated into every CATI system. This dialer automatically manages calls and only routes successful connections to the agent. This saves time and reduces the operational costs associated with the survey. Calls will be routed to interviewers and all they need to do is follow the instructions displayed on the computer screen to interview respondents. The survey responses are saved into the CATI software in real-time, eliminating the risk of data loss.