A telephone survey is one of the survey methods used in collecting data either from the general population or from a specific target population. Telephone numbers are utilized by trained interviewers to contact and gather information from possible respondents.
The telephone survey approach is usually utilized when there is a need to collection information via public opinion polling. In other words, phone surveys are ideal for data gathering which takes anyone from the general population as potential respondents. This means that the contacted people will become included in the sample once they agree to participate in the phone survey.
Let us see the different advantages and disadvantages of the telephone survey method.
Market researchers can benefit from conducting a telephone survey because of the large scale accessibility associated with it. Over 95% of the American population has a phone at their respective homes. People who do not have access to the Internet such as those who live in remote areas can still become respondents through their telephones.
Trained interviewers can ask the questions to the respondents in a uniform manner, promoting accuracy and precision in eliciting responses. The phone interviews are also recorded, which means that the analyst has an opportunity to observe and analyze the behavior or attitude of the respondents toward controversial issues (e.g. state disputes, preferred presidential candidates, etc.) or new concepts (new products, laws to be passed, etc.).
The telephone survey approach provides perhaps the highest level of anonymity for respondents who wish to hold their opinions in confidentiality. This facilitates accuracy in responses, especially in controversial topics.
The emergence of the computer-assisted telephone interviewing or CATI has led to a faster manner of processing, handling and storing the data gathered from phone interviews. Both real-time data and past data can be rapidly analyzed using CATI.
Since telephone surveys may interrupt the personal time of the respondents, interviews via phone are to be conducted no longer than 15 minutes. This calls for a single open-ended question needing a lengthy answer to be changed into a few close-ended questions.
Many people use call screening to accept only calls that they are expecting. These people include credit-challenged ones who screen not only the calls from their creditors, but also those calls from unknown numbers. Also, extremely busy people often screen calls to accept only those from their business partners or family members and significant others.
In market research, it is more ideal to conduct a face-to-face interview survey rather than a telephone survey because better responses can be elicited when the participants could see, feel or taste the product.