The U.N. recently shared a sobering statistic: according to its recent study, more people on earth have access to mobile phones than toilets. Out of the world’s estimated population of 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to mobile phones.
This is obviously good news for market researchers and for telephone interviewing. In fact, being able to reach 85% of the world’s population via mobile phones also means techniques such as mobile surveys and mobile ethnography will continue to grow in popularity.
So, apart from the potential audience size, what are the key benefits of conducting telephone interviews?
Keeping costs down
Naturally, a phone call is much less costly in comparison to a face-to-face interview, particularly if the respondent is not in close proximity. Telephone interviewing not only saves money from postal costs and any transport costs involved, it also saves the time taken to travel which can be better spent, more productively, elsewhere. A reduction in cost can enable a higher number of interviews to be carried out, improving the reliability and validity of the results obtained, allowing for the elimination of any anomalous results creating richer and high quality data.
Flexibility of questioning
Speaking to an interviewer over the telephone allows for a great deal of flexibility in the questioning and is beneficial for both the interviewer and the respondent. For the interviewer, it is a much better way to screen candidates and ensure you are speaking to the most appropriate individual before beginning the interview and it allows them to spend more time on any specific areas of interest mentioned by the respondent. It gives the respondent the chance to query anything they may be unsure of, whilst giving more detailed answers than you would probably receive from an online survey, not to mention a higher response rate.
Wide geographical access
Those working in B2B markets are notoriously hard to locate and even harder to have a conversation with – this can be due to individuals travelling, working away from mobile devices/computers or if they work out in the field e.g. engineers or farmers. This means they are less likely to fill in an online survey, but with telephone interviewing, several people can be reached in a short period of time, with little effort for both the interviewer and the respondent. Telephone interviewing is beneficial when targeting those ‘hard-to-reach’ respondents who may not have a lot of time on their hands. Last year, B2B International was able to conduct research in 144 countries.
Interviewers are all trained to a high standard and interviews conducted at B2B International are monitored by a quality control team, where the behaviour and attitude of the interviewer is analysed and given constructive feedback. The quality of the information gathered over the telephone is consistently of a high degree since the interviewer is able to guide the respondent through the questionnaire in a way that they see fit, probing where more detail may be necessary and promptly addressing any queries or improvements regarding the wording of questions to the relevant research team.
Efficient data processing
B2B International was one of the first market research agencies to make use of CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing). It allows for the interviewer to focus on solely their interview and interacting with the respondent, as the programme re-routes questions according to the answers given. The entire process is extremely efficient as the data can be directly inputted by the interviewer as the question is being answered; meaning the analysis of results can be obtained just seconds after the final interview has been completed. The programme reduces the need for manual data processing as well as reducing input errors since most responses are pre-coded into the system, improving accuracies when the research team are analysing results.