Market research forms an integral part of various business processes and conducting it in the right manner is the key to gaining the best benefits from them. In most cases the research involves surveying the members of the target audiences for a business or even its partners and associates. Most business organizations use their in-house marketing experts to carry out the research and provide the relevant data and information for expert analysis. However, some global market research projects are best carried out under the personalised supervision and expert guidance of professional researchers to ensure their successful completion. These professionals use a variety of ways to survey the relevant people. One of the most common and highly effective and convenient methods is using the CATI software.
What is CATI?
CATI is the acronym for Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews which are used by professional interviewing teams to conduct telephonic interviews for market surveys. It is increasingly replacing the more traditional method of personal telephone interviews for carrying out surveys due to its ease and cost effectiveness. It is also one of the most convenient means of connecting with people who cannot be easily contacted by other means. CATI provides an efficient means of enhancing a multimode online and mobile research to help minimise turnaround times and ensure effective sampling. However, in order to get the best benefits from using this innovative technological tool, it is important to gain a thorough understanding of its working and other aspects.
Understanding the Working Process of CATI
In order to ensure the best efficiency of CATI, it is generally delivered through call-centre stations by trained executives. These executives contact the pre-defined targets of the research project to identify the likely participants as well as conduct the interviews. To conduct the interviews, the executives are provided with a pre-designed questionnaire that is displayed on their computer screens. The answers to each question are recorded by pressing a key on the keyboard that has already been calibrated with the pre-coded responses. These responses are also displayed on the computer screen along with the questions. This makes it extremely easy for the executives conducting the interviews to record responses of all the people they interview.
As mentioned before CATI is becoming an increasingly preferred choice for multimode global market research survey projects. This is not only due to ease and convenient offered by the system, but also because of the various other advantages it offers. The most important of these advantages are listed as follows:
- The system makes it possible for the interviewers to fully concentrate on the interview itself, without having to worry about issues such as routing instructions.
- Since the responses offered by the people being interviewed are recorded directly, it eliminates the need of manual data processing bringing down the cost of research besides reducing any punching or other errors.
- The research is conducted at a faster pace as not only are any diversions for the interviewing executives minimized but the recording of data is also done almost instantaneously.
- The researchers do not have to wait for the results till all the interviews have been completed, but can examine and analyse the results in batches during intervals as they are already recorded.
- There is no time delay in compilation of result as there are readily available for analysis as soon as the last call has been finished and can be immediately accessed by the experts.
Even though CATI has been designed to offer the most effective surveying solutions in a research project, it does come with some disadvantages. These are listed as follows:
- Preparing a relevant questionnaire and installing it on a CATI system in an error free manner is a time consuming task. However, since this is a one-time process to be performed at the beginning of the research project, it does not pose much problem.
- The interviewers might find recording the responses to open end queries somewhat difficult, especially if they have poor typing skills. Even though the system itself is equipped to accommodate open ended comments, the person typing them in needs to have good typing speed.
- Perhaps the only major drawback in the system is the difficulty of making alteration to an already recorded response in case the person being interviewed changes his/her opinion midway through the interview.
Choosing the Right Partnering Team
In order to be able to exploit the best benefits of CATI system, it is important for the businesses conducting the CATI survey research to choose the right partner with an expert team. They need to ensure that the executives conducting the interviews possess the right training and skills, especially if they are to interview expert professionals and senior executives. The interviewers should possess a high level of both writing and speaking proficiency. Moreover, they should be able to protect the confidentiality of the client appropriately.