Telephone surveys are structured interviews conducted by qualified interviewers using a telephone script and are typically the best method when researchers need to interact with respondents and projectable findings are desired.
Telephone surveys are more precise and beneficial method through which the researchers can garner a high volume of information from a preset sample size of respondents within a specific. With some types of audiences, the personal contact aspect of telephone surveys encourages higher rates of response than do other methods. Telephone surveys provide opportunities to engage respondents and probe for complete responses explain questions or clarify respondents’ answers. Similarly, information can be retrieved from respondents when researchers do not know likely response options, such as questions designed to explore the potential for new product or service offerings or formats.
Pre-testing telephone survey instruments can occur quickly, making it easy to identify and resolve problem areas in survey scripts and specific questions and/or response options that must be adjusted to capture the information needed.
Respondents are also more likely to offer frank opinions and possibly embarrassing pieces of information to a faceless interviewer. Appointments and multiple callbacks enable interviewers to reach the individuals in target audiences, and telephone surveys conducted by field service callers can be monitored to ensure uniformity of technique and increase levels of control. Telephone surveys also provide opportunities to collect updated phone numbers, street and e-mail addresses and to note changes in employment.
Advance notice announcements educating potential respondents about upcoming surveys are needed to raise awareness and break through gatekeepers. Researchers must understand their target audiences’ communication preferences, as telephone surveys may be perceived as intrusive telemarketing. Telephone surveys lack opportunities to use visual props, such as product packaging or marketing communications collateral and it can be difficult to establish a rapport with the respondents who are free to simply hang up.