Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “There are as many opinions as there are experts.” As researchers we not only collect those opinions, but also focus on those opinions that come from the types of respondents we consider the most valuable — the people who mean the most to our business. As a result, the amount we are willing to pay to capture their insights will differ by the strategic value of the opiner…and budget often dictates mode.  Ready to try multimodal surveys? Here are some recommendations to help you decide which mode to choose.

Multimodal Surveys Mean Different Modes for Different Folks

Design one set of questions for the general audience type and extend the question set for your special subgroups. Know that this single survey can now be used to gather insights using a variety of collection modes and allow the question set to match not just the audience, but also the mode. For example, let’s say you are conducting research for a hotel chain and want to find out the types of services and amenities that appeal to guests. 

  • Conduct online surveys for most of your respondents. This is the lowest-cost method for reaching your audience.
  • Consider IVR-based surveys if much of your audience is 65 and over or has limited access to the Internet. IVR is the next lowest-cost way to reach your respondents. You’ll extend your reach if folks can simply click to call an 800 number and provide their feedback.
  • Use phone interviewers for more in-depth research with the most frequent customers or those who choose premium rooms. For this elite group, phone-based data collection gives you the opportunity to gather more detailed insights with interviewers probing for more information and using the extended question set.

Multimodal Surveys for Better ROI

Online surveys provide the lowest-cost data collection method but you may not hear from certain demographics. Here is where IVR, with its telco cost, helps you connect with folks from the missing customer segments. Phone-based interviews can be reserved for your major accounts, the ones you can’t afford to lose and whose opinions you value most.

Multimodal surveys reduce the need to weight data.

Using any single mode could lower the return on your investment because certain segments could be either under surveyed or over surveyed, which can impact the quality of your research and the resulting decision making. So, if the people in your audience do not all represent the same strategic value to your business, consider how a multi-mode strategy can impact the bottom line.

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Technology barriers are coming down and researchers should once again consider the strategic value of phone research to reach seniors, minorities and other vital segments. Even with the high costs of cell phone dialing, phone-based research can fit budgets with a multi-mode approach.

Learn how you can reduce weighting, speed up results, meet budget and deliver better insights when Mary McDougall presents Phone Research: Insanity or Competitive Advantage? at the 2015 MRA Insights & Strategies Conference on Thursday, June 4, from 9:45 to 10:30 a.m.