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CATI Survey Method
19 September 2017

What if someone calls you with a different country code?

What do you do? I tend to answer because my cell phone number is everywhere, on LinkedIn, on market research directories, on my website, so not answering might be like losing a deal. I’m a manager, so it’s different. Ms. Maria, a housewife from Rome, who lives to keep the house in perfect condition, who governs and feeds the family with her mythical meatballs with sauce, if she see on her phone a number that starts with 004977, almost 100% she will not answer, that’s for sure. Henkel would lose her valuable contribution in changing the scent of the next cleaning product 🙂

It may seem like a secondary fact, but it is not. For me it is crucial. Especially considering that I am increasingly training  interviewers that work remotely, I often find myself conducting telephone interviews in France with professional interviewers who are calling from France, Tunisia, Macedonia and Italy. But the French who receives the call always sees a French number. Moreover, on the other end of the line there will be a French native.

Our call centers and our interviewers are connected to the CATI software through VPN. Centralized hosting just simplifies life. It may sound simple to you, but believe me It took years for me to get to this point. You should think that over the last, approximately, ten years of work in the CATI, I have grown up with the company and have thought and wanted by necessity many technological changes. Through all of my experiments, I have found out small shades that help to improve the performance of a CATI.

Obviously it’s all relative, there are studies that last for months, there are studies that last three days. If we were only to carry out studies that last for months, Tom Abele, Christine Albrecht, Alessandro Imborgia, Federica Curcurù and I, would not be that much helpful. It’s not that, but you know what I mean. The most frequent CATI studies last for 3-6 days. But this is not the point. I’m not criticizing or reproaching, there are  certainly some mechanics that we “operators” do not know. But can any of you tell me why institutes ask for a quote today and then they reappear after months by asking for a study in 3 days?

They want immediately a quote, then they disappear, and then CATI immediately. Obviously it is the final client who commands, the institute is not to blame. Nobody ever complained about my studies, even the most impossible ones. Maybe only a couple of times we have failed to achieve the expected results, but we also know that failure does not depend solely on us. Sometimes it may also be an ineffective questionnaire and a wrong segmentation. But what I mean is that if we had some advance notice, maybe we could better organize the work and better train the interviewers.

For example, in the case of a wrong questionnaire, if we were able to see it even only two weeks earlier, we could immediately report the error thanks to the experience gained over the years. Or we could do some tests: make a dozen phone calls to verify if the questionnaire gets the expected answers.

Please, write me to e.armato@iff-international.com

Ennio Armato (Branch Manager, Italy)

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