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CATI (telephone interviewing) is seeing a resurgence in 2018 – and here’s why…

January 18th 2018

With so many innovative digital market research tools available, why are more companies going back to their customer research roots with CATI?    

In today’s digital age, Do-it-Yourself market research tools, such as CAWI (Computer-Assisted Web Interviewing) should be reigning supreme. These tools promise quick, accurate reporting, as well as substantial cost savings in comparison to more traditional methods favoured by some seasoned research agencies.

So why are we seeing more and more companies favouring CATI when it comes to customer research?

Knowledge is power when it comes to building a profitable business, and Market Research is an essential part of gathering and processing the vital knowledge that will enable companies to unlock what their customers and stakeholders want. It also provides vital information on where to market products or services, and what companies should be charging for them, while keeping a watchful eye on competitors.

As most business owners know, the time to start market research is right away. This enables better investments and decision-making. Less clear, however, is which route to take – DIY or agency-led research?

Pros and Cons of DIY Market Research

Market research methods, like most things, have adapted to keep pace with an ever-expanding population of mobile users. Customer satisfaction web surveys are everywhere to be seen, after every interaction, such as renewing car tax, or live online troubleshooting with a customer service advisor.

About CATI (telephone interviewing) and its benefits in Customer Research

The advantages of DIY research programmes are clear to see for start-ups and smaller companies – the most appealing being up-front cost savings. However, while on paper the benefits may seem enticing, in practice, there are also drawbacks.

Glyn Luckett, Commercial Director at TTi Global Research says:

“The number of clients coming to us after abandoning DIY research is rising all the time. As well as finding the software much harder and time consuming to roll out than they expected, factors such as inflexible design templates, lack of technical support and insufficient or unsuitable sample sources, have led to stalled projects.”

When designing an effective customer survey – whether online or by telephone – there are several fundamentals that come into play, including creating the right question structure, objective information capture, and using language your respondents understand. Once this information is collected, there then comes the question of knowing how to clean and analyse the data, in order to translate it into valuable insights and actions that will help improve customer (or stakeholder) satisfaction.

CATI Telephone Survey Research

The CATI method of collecting feedback has a significant impact on the quality of the survey results. As an accredited MRS partner, with more than 30 years’ research experience, TTi Global uses a multi-mode data collection strategy, with often includes a CATI research phase.

Why? CATI enables our interviewers to gather qualitatively insightful comments, such as why a respondent feels particularly strongly about their answers, or how an organisation can improve its services. This adds tangible value to surveys, as well as adding context to results and guiding action planning.

What is CATI?

CATI (Computer-assisted Telephone Interviewing) was established decades before web-based surveys to help simplify and streamline the phone interview process.

CATI software provides an on-screen script for telephone interviewers. Questions appear in order allowing interviewers to enter respondents’ answers online as they go through the survey.

CATI allows researchers to record results in real-time, while enabling snap reporting. Interviewers can also re-schedule calls, make appointments and see when the quota of required interviews is reached, minimising project time and spend.

Further benefits of the CATI system, include:

  • Effective, Pre-tested Questionnaires – Before the fieldwork phase starts, CATI scripts are tested on a small sample of people to ensure their efficacy. Scripts are also designed to branch intelligently, for example, skipping non-applicable questions, or prompting an interviewer to probe the reasons behind a response, providing maximum customer insight. 
  • High Quality Data – Telephone interviews are carried out in a controlled environment where questions are formatted to elicit a clear, telling response. In contrast, DIY surveys aren’t subject to pre-testing or monitoring, creating a higher risk of inaccurate results. Incentive led web surveys, giving respondents access to a website, article or competition, also encourage rapid-fire, non-accurate responses.
  • Customised Questionnaires – Professional CATI surveys can be tailored to match a company’s brand identity, assuring interviewees - most likely recent customers – of the survey’s authenticity. Survey customisation also means questions can home in on specific service or product attributes, leading to more revealing, relevant answers. 
  • Global Audience – CATI can target any audience, in any part of the world, allowing companies to research any desired customer, employee, supplier or stakeholder market.
  • Cost-effective – Telephone interviews are low-cost and highly productive. CATI’s in-built contact database and appointment setting function increases the speed and accuracy of interviews. It’s also much quicker to reach the interview quota, resulting in a lower project cost.  
  • Deep Customer Insight – Unlike online surveys, where keeping questions short is vital, telephone interviews allow for longer surveys and in-depth questioning, aiding deeper understanding of customer motives and behaviours.  

TTi Global Research – CATI Survey Specialists

If you’re seeking expert, economical telephone research, TTi Global runs one of the most highly regarded business and consumer interviewing call centres in the UK. Facilities include:

  • Cutting-edge, purpose-built 14-station CATI unit.
  • Highly trained multilingual telephone interviewers skilled in all types of phone interviews, from five-minute customer questionnaires to in-depth surveys and consultations.
  • Experienced survey designers to create potent questions for maximum customer insight.
  • Data analysis experts to present key findings and develop targeted, effective action plans.       

To find out more, or obtain a free, no obligation estimate for your business research, email us here.