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Are Telephone Interviews still useful for Market Research?

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Companies often carry out market research through telephone interviews. Still, it is a technique that is increasingly becoming stagnant in the past. Usually, people do not answer the phone if they do not know who is on the other end, especially if it is a company phone number. 

The best way to get the interviews done is through other means of contact, such as email or networks like LinkedIn or Facebook. This way, it is easier to get answers, and telephone interviews can be arranged when best suits the future interviewee. This can also be used for international interviews, avoiding costs, and easing access to information. 

By this, I mean that it is easier to access people of interest through other means. So when we manage to contact them, we can conduct the interview by phone or video call. It is always better for market research to observe or listen to the interviewee since it uses what they say and what they do not say. Sometimes silence and body language say much more than words. 

On the other hand, it is essential to calculate the time of the telephone interview. It cannot be too long so that the interviewee does not lose interest and stop responding correctly. The questions should not be too intrusive, and they have to be useful for the market research we are carrying out. If we have too many questions, the right thing to do would be to join several of them together or, as the last option, to send written surveys. However, as I have already said, much is lost if we cannot hear the tone and the way the interviewee speaks.

Organizations such as central and local governments sometimes use market studies to determine what people think about environmental policies or urban planning proposals.

How to make market research telephone interviews

Market research interviewers usually collect information through questionnaires (often on a laptop or handheld computer). They ask questions, for example:

  • What brand names or advertisements respondents recognize
  • What products they use
  • How much they like or dislike something
  • Where they usually buy
  • How much they would be willing to pay for a particular item
  • If they would try new types of products

Market research interviewers usually have to interview a specific number of people. This may be a random sample or a selected group, for example, people of a certain age, parents of young children, or people working in a particular business type.

Interviewers have to follow a carefully controlled procedure during each interview. They should be careful to avoid doing or saying anything that might influence the respondents’ responses. Sometimes interviewers must record what the person says precisely, word for word. In other questions or surveys, they must enter the respondents’ answers in code form.

The most important thing is to get the questions right. First, you must indicate what the survey’s objective is so that the interviewee is clear about it. It is necessary to keep the language simple and straightforward at all times. It is also useful to create several blocks of questions. Ideally, there should be three or four blocks of no more than five questions. It is essential to ask the easiest questions at the beginning and always avoid ambiguity.

It is crucial to choose the questions well to obtain relevant information for us. The ideal is to go straight to what we want to know, starting with closed questions leaving some open questions to learn more in-depth the users’ opinions. It is essential that the people who will carry out the telephone interviews understand each question’s purpose and know about the subject, and have the necessary information in case there are doubts on the part of the participants.

As this method is invasive in people’s personal space and time, try to reward them by giving them a final incentive to collaborate in your study. This will help them to participate with a better disposition.

Advantages of telephone interviews

  • It is one of the fastest and easiest methods for the business and the interviewee.
  • The company will not have to worry about transportation costs to conduct paper surveys. Interviewees can be national or international.
  • It is easy to target a particular sector of the public. Market researchers can benefit from conducting a telephone survey because of the large-scale accessibility associated with it. Most of the population has a telephone in their home. People who do not have access to the Internet can be interviewed through their phones.
  • In telephone interviews, participants are more likely to positively respond when they talk to a person they can ask about anything they are not sure about.
  • The quality of the collected information over the phone will be good if the interviewer is trained and guides the interviewee through the survey.
  • Telephone interviews are recorded, which means that the analyst can observe and analyze the interviewers’ behavior or attitude towards specific issues.
  • Anonymous surveys facilitate the accuracy of responses, especially on controversial topics.

Disadvantages of telephone interviews

  • Market research calls are often confused with sales calls. Customers may be upset and decide not to answer the interview.
  • Questions should be expressed briefly and simply if asked over the phone. Otherwise, respondents may not understand the question and may not respond adequately.
  • The timing of the calls is crucial. If companies call at an inappropriate time, they are more likely to disrupt the respondent’s routine. They will be less willing to participate in the interview.
  • Since telephone surveys can disrupt respondents’ personal time, telephone surveys should be completed in no more than 15 minutes. 
  • If there are too many questions, the potential client may become desperate and end the conversation. On the other hand, if you conduct an online interview via email, users can answer the questions whenever they want.

Final thoughts

Through market studies and telephone interviews, we can collect valuable information to know your current and potential customers’ preferences, habits, needs, degree of satisfaction, and lifestyle, providing the necessary information to act accordingly.

These interviews are also advantageous as a prospecting method. It allows you to determine whether current or future market demand for particular services or products your company plans to offer. 

While planning market research, we can suggest that Katrium, as a qualified partner, deliver high-quality market research.

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