Our MD started his market research career in an NOP (now GfK) CATI centre as an interviewer, supervisor and centre manager before moving to the company’s head office to manage a 50-country brand tracker. That project included telephone interviewing in over 20 European countries managed through NOP’s international CATI centre. There’s nothing we don’t know about the potential pitfalls of telephone research, from questionnaire wording, to scripting, briefing, quality control and data production.
While many things have changed since the early 90s (such as no longer needing to read out lengthy definitions of “the worldwide web”, “electronic mail” or “mobile telephone” to B2B respondents), most of the same considerations apply now as did in the recession-hit early nineties. How do we book enough interviewers to cover next week’s projects? How do we avoid interviewers dropping off our books and seeking more regular jobs with guaranteed hours when we’ve got no work for them the week after? What happens if we win both of those large projects we’ve pitched for, meaning we need twice as many desks? How do we explain to a client that, much as we’d love to honour our original quote for a 5-minute, 100% incidence survey, one-armed window cleaners in Barnsley may be a little problematic to find and keep on the phone for half an hour, all the more so since you’re insisting that they need to be up a ladder at the time of interview?
All of these issues are part and parcel of life in CATI, and will be familiar to anyone who operates in this area, and the shrinking of the CATI market due to the rise of online panels has only served to complicate the issue. On the other hand, when CATI first became commonplace, doomsayers were signalling the end of face to face interviewing – yet we are still working with hundreds of interviewers carrying out thousands of face to face interviews each year (albeit often armed with iPads rather than clipboards). In the same way as there are still many projects which are best served by face to face contact, there are always likely to be surveys which require the personal interaction of CATI rather than online.
As well as a wide range of C-sat and public sector surveys, we have extensive experience of running private political polls by telephone – typically in situations where online panels are not able to achieve the numbers required in a niche audience such as an individual parliamentary constituency.
Whatever your CATI requirements, get in touch and we can have a chat about how we might help you.