Extending Your CATI Reach

In the vast and varied world of market research data collection, one of the most time tested methods of administering surveys is with live agents over the phone, also known by the acronym CATI (Computer Aided Telephone Interviewing). Before the rise of the smart phone, targeting and interviewing random representative samples of respondents in the geography of your choice was relatively easy to do.

As we all know, the only thing that remains the same is the consistency of change.  As Americans transitioned to cell phones, and later, internet connected smart phones, the CATI playing field experienced significant changes. Things became a bit more complicated for researchers. Unscrupulous telemarketers inundated consumers and businesses alike with irritating calls day and night resulting in declining response rates. New laws were passed to regulate the use of automated dialers to contact cell phones.  With phone number portability, easy geographic targeting of phone lists via the North American Numbering Plan, was no longer dependable. The task of accurate sampling grew more complicated and costs were on the rise.

Fortunately, internet based respondent panels arrived to help fill the void, providing an inexpensive alternative to telephone survey research. Although cost effective, online panel had limitations too, particularly when targeting a tight geography, a low incidence audience, or an under-represented population. Often in such circumstances, feasibility became an issue.

New technology may provide the answer to this dilemma. New to the scene, platforms such as Logit’s Mobile360 allow SMS-to-web interviewing as an alternative, providing cost effective access to respondents via phone contact lists. Using this approach, cell phone respondents are invited to an online survey via TCPA compliant SMS invitations. This novel approach offers the comparative benefits and flexibility of sampling via random or listed contact numbers.

As an example of the powerful new options an SMS approach brings to the table, Logit’s Mobile360 platform allows for surveys to be deployed in a multimodal context with SMS-to-web fielding in conjunction with live agent CATI and/or internet panel. Quotas can be set and managed by contact method and invitations can be customized according to list information. If panel is being utilized, IP controls will screen out duplicate respondents before they enter the survey.

For B2B projects requiring a high degree of respondent verification, live dialing can be used for prescreening and validation, with a survey link then being delivered real-time. Such an approach can also be used as a method of screening for more involved respondent exercises such as MaxDiff, Conjoint, or Online Bulletin Boards.

As we see, when paired with new interviewing options available via SMS-to-web, CATI interviewing is often the most viable approach to solving your data collection challenges. If you have not yet explored hybrid contact strategies, perhaps it is time to take a deeper look.

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Chris Connolly Headshot

Chris is persistently focused on providing superior value and experience for each client relationship. With over 20 years of industry experience serving in leadership roles for both technical groups and project management teams, he has a proven track record of success.