(Mary McDougall is a speaker at the upcoming MRA Insights & Strategies Conference)

What does a good customer experience mean to you? Perhaps tonight you want to enjoy a dinner from that sensational new chef at your neighborhood restaurant. After reviewing a variety of options on the menu, you pick out a delectable meal but then remember that you’re expecting a call soon and need to be home. No problem. This special treat is packaged up, brought home, and now you can enjoy it whenever you are ready. Let’s look at this experience and how it applies to multi-mode data collection. 

Online data collection is very appealing to researchers because it’s economical. However, by using only one mode you may reduce the ability to fully capture the voice of the customer and maximize the customer experience. Not all customers prefer an online engagement and some may not even have access to the Internet. Or they may not have access at that moment, so you need an alternative in order to enable more immediate feedback. By providing them with more ways to interact, you can match their preferences, increase response rates and gain insight from a broader set of respondents.

Choice gives customers control over the engagement method

Smartphones abound and they can easily handle either an online or phone-based interview. One of the more common ways to reach respondents and offer a better experience involves giving them a URL to an online survey for feedback and providing a phone number so that they can choose both the time and the method by which to respond.

Phone Dialing Marketing Research Conference

Choice broadens reach

They may prefer to go online via their mobile device, tablet or PC … or they can call the 800 #.  You can choose to have live interviewers field the call or collect the feedback using an IVR survey. Phone extends the reach so that you can collect more input, particularly from certain demographics that are more difficult to fully reach online, such as seniors, low-income households, and rural residents.

Closing thoughts

Taking a multi-mode approach enables you to gain the insight you seek AND offer a superior customer experience.  We all like to be given a choice.

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.