When conducting phone surveys, it is important to look at the survey from the research participant’s perspective. Imagine you've just sat down for dinner and your phone rings. You answer and it's an interviewer on behalf of a phone survey company. Your initial response is to probably hang up or give a polite "No thank you, I'm not interested in taking the survey."
Even if you do decide to participate in the survey by phone, you may find yourself getting asked questions that pry just a bit too deep into your personal life. You're left wondering "Why in the world did they just ask me those questions, and why did I answer?"
When you look at the participant’s viewpoint, researchers are able to gain a better idea of how to position the entire phone conversation to get higher response rates. Here at Drive Research, we understand the complexities of phone surveys. We've put together a helpful guide outlining how to boost the number of people signing up to take a phone survey.
Looking to improve your phone survey response rates? Try these 5 proven methods to boost participation from our phone survey company.
Calling at the Right Time of Day
No one wants a phone interviewer calling them right before they are leaving for work or getting ready to put their child to sleep. It’s important to determine what is the best time of day to cause the least disruption. We’ll be frank - this isn’t easy. The truth is, the “perfect” time of day to call will always depend on who you are calling.
First, regardless of when you make your calls -- during the day or evening time -- you must take into account local time factors. Just because it's 7 p.m. your time doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same time for your participant.
Many surveyors work a regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift. Although making calls during these hours is especially appealing to seniors and stay-at-home parents, these hours don’t work well if your target audience is at work during these traditional business hours.
This means the majority of your data collection may take place in the evening hours, preferably between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. A market research firm specializing in phone surveys will prescreen potential phone survey participants. This allows participants to provide the best time of day or even schedule a time to speak. A phone survey company should also have qualified survey interviewers who work “after hours” if needed, in order to increase response rates.
Give a Thorough Introduction
Once you get participants to pick up the phone by calling them at the right time, you then face another major barrier to achieving high response rates - the introduction. Phone survey interviewers must introduce themselves quickly yet thoroughly.
An interviewer’s introduction should immediately start with providing their name and the organization they are calling on behalf of. It is also helpful to mention how the information being collected will be used. From there, a phone survey interviewer should ask a couple of questions outlining the type of person they’re looking to take the survey. This helps assures the person you are calling meets the screening criteria.
One of the top tricks you can use to get a better quality of responses is to have a very bubbly personality. Think of it this way. Most people prefer to surround themselves with friendly and kind human beings. If you sound happy and energetic, this is going to work more in your favor than if you have a dry and boring tone.
If you can establish a friendly conversation (even though you are realistically a stranger), this will help increase the quality of feedback because participants feel more comfortable speaking with you.
Offer a Realistic Incentive
To encourage participation in market research, our phone survey firm often recommends offering some type of incentive to gain interest. This may be raffling off a $100 Visa gift card or a percentage off their next purchase from your organization.
There is no exact measurement for what type of incentive is best, but the task should match the reward. In other words, the incentive for a 5-minute survey will most likely be of less value than that of a 1-hour phone interview.
The incentive you are offering should also be realistic so as not to come off as spammy or illegitimate. For example, a social media advertisement saying, “Sign up for a 5-minute phone survey and we’ll give you a brand new car” will seem too good to be true.
Especially if your target audience consists of the general public, non-customers, or people who have never heard of your business, the incentive must be valuable yet realistic.
Shortening the Survey
The shorter the survey, the better. Instead of asking 20 questions, try to find ways to combine some of the questions. Phone surveys including 10 questions or less normally get higher response rates. If you can keep the entire conversation under five minutes, that's great. Once you hit the 10-minute mark, you start to lose the interest of the participant and their feedback is less informative.
This is yet another reason why offering a legitimate incentive is of such importance. You can encourage more interest for longer surveys by offering a higher incentive. You can even give respondents the option to take two surveys, such as a 5-minute survey for an incentive of $10 or a 15-minute survey for an incentive of $20.
Hiring a phone survey company
One sure-fire way to increase phone survey responses is to partner with a third-party market research company. A phone survey firm has the bandwidth and experience to tackle all of your project needs.
Drive Research, a national phone survey company, has qualified survey interviewers who are able to actively listen to participants while typing responses and moving the conversation along from beginning to end.
While we pride ourselves on our professionalism when speaking with our phone survey participants, we also remain as down to earth as possible to make the participant feel as though they are having a casual conversation with a friend. This type of behavior and attitude is key in obtaining higher phone survey response rates.
Contact Our Phone Survey Company
Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. We offer a team of qualified and experienced interviewers with a variety of project and industry experience.
Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.