Phone vs. Web Based Surveys – Pros & Cons

Telephone vs. Web Based Surveys - Pros and ConsHave you shifted (or are thinking about shifting) to a web based survey process because it is less expensive than phone surveys? If so, here are a few things you’ll want to think about.

Telephone surveys are superior to internet surveys because they are flexible and allow for clarification (e.g. you can explain the time for completion, the purpose of the survey, the use of collected information, etc.). The rapport of auditory communication fosters trust, increases control, encourages greater participation, and can better identify the need for multiple attempts and/or follow-up contact.

The risk of decreased participation in internet surveys is huge. It’s much easier for potential respondents to delete an e-mail than to tell a human interviewer they’re not interested. You might be able to push out the internet survey to a larger sample to offset the response rate issue. But you’ll still have other issues to overcome, such as unknown respondents and skewed results based on lack of internet access/penetration. How will you know your customer completed the survey and not their 9 year old child? This seriously impacts the confidence level of your research. Likewise, cutting out the portion of your customers who don’t use the internet/email creates sampling error – particularly if your product(s) are targeted to an older or less privileged market.

If you’re thinking about administering the internet survey project “in-house” you’ll want to consider the psychological impact of “in-house” research. Internal programs generate less candid feedback due to the perceptions that such research is not objective and that overly negative feedback may cause personal insult or result in reprisal.

Finally, before you do decide to administer an internet survey “in-house”, don’t forget to factor in internal costs (e.g. the administrative burden of increased oversight and training) and the reduction in time spent synthesizing / analyzing the data due to more energy being devoted to collection, compilation and dissemination.

If you need advice or assistance with an Internet or phone survey project, reach out to us – we would be happy to help.

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