Why Mystery Shopping or fieldwork agencies should consider CATI during and post COVID-19

Why CATI ?

Although lockdowns are ending or partially still on-going in some countries, and businesses are starting to re-open;

Face-to-face surveys like CAPI or field audits like Mystery Shopping may likely to return as the pandemic has subsided, however precisely when, we can expect these activities to return to normal or in full-force, is still unclear. 

Instead of waiting for things to turn around, it is critical to adapt to the new normal as a practical strategy for business continuity while this situation lasts…  or perhaps it might stay on for longer period of time. 

Advantages for moving from CAPI and MS Visits to CATI 

  • Dramatically reduce data collection expenses No travelling time and effort, no need for transportation fees. Data collection can still be carried out from anywhere online. 
  • Better response rate control – Rescheduling an interview is much easier, by agreeing to calling hour that fits the respondents. This helps increase response rates, and reduce wastage of samples.  
  • Higher research capacity – Phone surveys are not limited by geographical aspects, enabling a wider coverage of locations, and higher number of sample sizes. 
  • Improved quality of data collection with automated recordings – Phone survey / CATI software is equipped with automated recording, so interviewers can fully focus on the conversation, and listen to the respondents better, especially for questions that needs further probing for more in-depth answers. 
  • Quicker turnovers for reporting – Audio recording speeds up results processing since data input happens as when it is obtained. Instant reports can also be generated as soon as the reviews are completed, attached with audio files for quality control.
  • Mystery Calls can be done anytime – Besides visiting the premise, mystery audits can also be carried out without disruptions through phone audits. It’s one way to save the cost of travelling reimbursements, while shoppers can access their own online portals to make the calls.

Take note of these possible challenges, and be sure to handle them with care: 

Survey design – Phone surveys can be very useful for open-ended questions, or responses that needs in-depth explanations. However, it can be challenging when it comes to designing the questionnaire – where questions need to be short but covers the points that need to be addressed, while keeping it easy to understand by just listening through the call. 

Survey response – As sales or promotional activities are moved to online and phone-based, sometimes getting phone calls are perceived by customers to be disturbing, especially when calls are also used for telemarketing. This will give a negative impact on your response rates even if the objective is actually for survey collection, so be sure to use chilling periods and professional tone of voice, to handle such situation. 

Survey timing – Careful with the time choice for interviews. While following the preferred hour of call by the respondent is crucial, but as it usually may be during the time respondents are not busy – chances are after work, in between breaks, or late hours – making it a challenge to balance both the duration of ideal survey length and the quality of responses. 

Final Thoughts

Phone survey is a practical and cost-effective solution for effective human-touch factor especially during COVID-19 crisis. 

Phone conversations allow a brand to give a more humanized service, a personal touch, despite the social distancing situation. It is valuable for brand-trust building and beneficial for relationship maintenance if a survey is conducted in a professional manner.  

A study by Greenbook also revealed how researchers are moving back towards a more human-touch approach despite all the advancement of online platforms in data collection.

Start optimizing the benefits of personalized human-touch and capturing the real voice of customers with Phone Surveys / CATI. 

Join Our Upcoming Webinar

23 June 2020, 16:00 CET  |  Be agile. Transform your CAPI / CATI operation to be post-Covid ready, and beyond. 

Join us LIVE as we discuss on the implications of most current trends, how to embrace the new normal and transition yourself to be more agile for business continuity – beyond Covid-19 crisis. See webinar details here. 


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