Online Surveys vs. Phone Surveys: Which is Better for Your Business?

business man shoes standing with arrows

In today's fast-paced world, gathering feedback, whether it be from customers or general consumers, is more important than ever.

Surveys are a great way to collect this data, but with so many types of market research available, it can be challenging to determine which method is the most effective.

Two popular survey methods are phone surveys and online surveys, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, our market research company will compare these two methodologies, and help you determine which one is the best fit for your business.

Explaining Online Surveys

Online surveys are conducted via the internet and can take many forms, such as email surveys, website surveys, or social media surveys.

Online surveys are typically self-administered, meaning that respondents complete the survey on their own.

When working with an online survey agency, they can help to design, program, and field the questionnaire. They find survey respondents through market research panels and social media.

Pros and Cons of Online Surveys

Online surveys are perhaps the most popular market research tool.

That's because they are accessible to many types of respondents and are the most cost-effective market research methodology of them all.

Though they focus on collecting measurable data, therefore they are not a great fit for organizations looking for in-depth feedback.

More on the pros and cons of online surveys are below!

Online Survey Advantages:

  • Cost-effective: Online surveys are generally less expensive than phone surveys, as there are no live interviewers or phone expenses.

  • Wide reach: Online surveys can reach a larger audience, as they can be distributed to anyone with an internet connection or mobile device. For context, studies show smartphones are present in 84% of households, while 78% of households own a desktop or laptop.

  • Quick results: Online surveys can be completed quickly, and the results can be analyzed in real-time.

  • Covers several objectives: Whether you're looking to conduct an ad concept testing survey or measure the appeal of a new product, an online survey can provide insights into just about any business objective.

Online Survey Disadvantages

  • Less personalization: Online surveys offer less personalization, which can lead to less detailed and less accurate responses from the respondent.

  • Technical issues: Online surveys may be affected by technical issues, such as slow internet connection or software compatibility issues, which can lead to incomplete surveys or data errors.

  • Higher chance of spam: Professional survey takers and online survey bots are real. They speed through a survey, without offering legitimate feedback, just to earn a reward at the end. Though, working with an online survey company can help with implementing online survey testing and quality checks to prevent these bad respondents from getting through.

When to Use Online Surveys

Online surveys can be a good option for businesses that want to gather feedback from a larger sample size and a more diverse audience.

With online questionnaires, businesses can target a wider demographic range and reach respondents who may not have been reachable with phone surveys.

Online surveys can also be more cost-effective than phone surveys, as businesses can save money on hiring surveyors and conducting phone interviews.

Additionally, quantitative surveys can be completed at the respondent's convenience, which can lead to higher response rates and more accurate data

Explaining Phone Surveys

Phone surveys are conducted by phone and typically involve a live interviewer asking a set of questions to the respondent.

A telephone survey can be conducted using either landlines or mobile phones and can be either outbound or inbound.

Outbound phone surveys are when the survey is initiated by the interviewer, while inbound phone surveys are when the respondent contacts the interviewer to complete the survey.  

In order to get better answer rates on outbound surveys, companies should consider vanity and toll-free numbers, which can help identify the caller.' 

Though, in most cases, a phone survey company will source and recruit participants to join the study.

This involves screening people to assure they match your target audience and scheduling a time for a trained interviewer to call and conduct the research.

Pros and Cons of Phone Surveys

As with most forms of market research, there are benefits and drawbacks associated with conducting phone surveys.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is earning in-depth, quality feedback from participants. Though, phone surveys are often more expensive to complete compared to other methodologies. 

Let's dive into the pros and cons of phone surveys a bit more.

Phone Survey Advantages:

  • Gather in-depth feedback: Phone surveys allow for personalized communication, which can lead to more detailed and accurate responses from the respondent.

  • Achieve high response rates: Phone surveys typically have a higher response rate than online surveys, as they offer a more personal touch and can capture the attention of the respondent.

  • Two-way communication: Live interviewers can provide additional clarification or explanation for questions that may be confusing to the respondent. The interviewer can also ask the participant to provide more context to their answers. This is not a luxury available with online surveys.

Phone Survey Disadvantages

  • Higher costs: Phone surveys are generally more expensive than online surveys due to the cost of hiring live interviewers and phone expenses.

  • Limited reach: Phone surveys are limited by phone availability and can be restricted to specific demographics, such as those with landlines or a certain age group.

  • More time-consuming: Phone surveys can take longer to administer than online surveys, as they require a live interviewer to conduct the survey.

When to Use Phone Surveys

Phone surveys can be a good option for businesses that want to gather feedback from a specific audience, such as customers who have recently made a purchase or attended an event.

They are also a good option for businesses that want to ask more open-ended questions and have a conversation with respondents to gather more in-depth feedback.

Additionally, phone surveys can be a good option for businesses that want to target specific demographics, such as older populations who may be less likely to use the internet or have access to a computer.

Online vs. Phone Surveys: Which is Best?

When deciding which survey method to use for your business, it's important to consider several factors:

  1. Audience demographics: Consider the demographics of your target audience. If your audience is older or less tech-savvy, phone surveys may be more effective. If your audience is younger and more internet-savvy, online surveys may be the better option.

  2. Survey objectives: Consider the objectives of your survey. If you need detailed responses and personalization, phone surveys may be the better option. If you need quick results and broad data, online surveys may be the better option.

  3. Budget: Consider your budget. If you have a limited budget, online surveys may be the better option. If budget is not an issue and you need detailed responses, phone surveys may be the best option.

While phone surveys have their advantages, online surveys can provide a more cost-effective and efficient way to gather feedback from a larger sample size.

With an online survey, respondents can complete the survey at their own pace and on their own time, which can lead to higher response rates and more accurate data.

The many advantages of online surveys make them more appealing to most businesses and serve as a great alternative to phone surveys.

Recommended Reading: 7 Reasons Driving the Collapse of Phone Surveys

Final Thoughts

Both phone surveys and online surveys can be effective tools for gathering audience feedback and insights.

When choosing between the two methods, businesses should consider factors such as audience demographics, survey objectives, budget, sample size, and type of questions.

Ultimately, the best survey method will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business.

By carefully considering these factors and choosing the right survey method, businesses can gather the feedback and insights they need to make informed decisions and drive growth and success.

Contact Our Third-Party Survey Company

Drive Research is a full-service market research company specializing in online and phone surveys. Our team can recommend what approach is best based on your unique project objectives, target audience, timeline, and budget.

To learn more information about our services or get a project quote, contact Drive Research today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Rodgers

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

subscribe to our blog



Online Surveys Phone Surveys