If you provide data collection services for market research purposes through outbound calling, you know not all customer surveys are created equal. Some are more effective and more cost-efficient than others. Those who specialize in the execution and management of customer surveys in contact centers must use their experience to help clients make each survey as effective and productive as possible.
Here are five basic, yet important lessons I’ve learned during my 20-plus years of contact center operations.
1. Understand the survey length
Getting a grasp on the survey length is instrumental in determining the number of surveys you are likely to complete relative to the sample size your client suggests and the time frame given. This is something that might not have been checked closely, so your team will have to fully vet the project to ensure expectations are realistic. Time the survey yourself for all possible outcomes, especially if there are significant skip
patterns, or branching of questions. Then determine how many surveys can realistically be completed in the time allotted or how much additional time and expense will be required to reach the desired number.
2. Know how terminating questions affect incidence rate
Terminating questions within a survey screen out unqualified respondents and, as a result, affect the incidencerate, or the percentage of potential respondents that qualify for a study. If, in addition to data collection, you’re responsible for purchasing the list to be called, be sure to share the terminating questions with your list providers so they can help buy a more targeted sample. That will help increase the number of qualified respondents while keeping the cost in line.
3. Ensure adequate sample size
Ensure the ratio of the sample size to the number of interviews needed is ample. As consumers become less and less likely to answer calls from unrecognizable phone numbers, the number of prospects needed to generate one interview has gradually climbed. In the good old days, a ratio of 15:1 worked for many consumer surveys, then it crept up to 20:1. Now, many studies require 30 prospective respondents for each one actually interviewed to meet the number of requested surveys, depending on the region.
4. Be aware of scope creep
If you work with ongoing studies—conducted monthly or annually—be aware of scope creep. Did the survey instrument change significantly over the past two years of the study? Have there been dramatic changes in the quality or quantity of the sample received? Over time, clients often add a question here and there. Before you know it, the average length of a survey has crept up 25%. Or a sharp increase in bad phone numbers (disconnects, wrong numbers, etc.) will also affect timeframes for completion and expense of the overall project. Constant evaluation of the data and benchmarking against historical data are crucial to achieving overall goals.
5. Identify the best times to call
It’s also very important to constantly analyze your best performance hours and maximize those as much as possible. Depending on the type of survey, area you are contacting, etc., there will be certain hours to call that will yield the highest results.
Following these five basic guidelines will ensure your next data collection project stays on track and builds confidence in your ability to execute.
Want to incorporate these five tips into your contact centers? Start here.