Technology from Database Systems Corp. lets you develop IVR survey applications using our interactive voice response IVR solutions. Surveys can be initiated by outbound phone calls or can be a response to callers. Using our PACER and WIZARD phone systems with the Smart Message Dialer and survey software, we can call your survey prospects and play a highly focused and custom greeting. We then can give your survey audience the option to take your survey or even talk with a representative, leave a voice message, hear additional information, or simply decline to participate in the survey. The survey can accept touchphone response or can record each question response for later analysis.
To view more information regarding our automated phone applications, please visit our Automatic Phone Survey solution web page.
Best Practices of Mail and Phone Surveys
The following is an article relating to call survey techniques and products and services in our business.
From: American Business Media
Pretesting the Survey
After the survey is designed, and before it is sent out, pretesting is vital. Pretesting administers
the survey to a small sample group: perhaps customers, colleagues, friends, or your co-workers.
At this stage, your objective is to make sure that the survey questions are clearly worded and
provoke the appropriate responses. If your pretest respondents ask "What does this mean?" then
you know you need to rewrite.
The pretest results are used to edit, strengthen, and clarify the survey. You may need four, five,
even six cycles of revision before the final product is ready, but it's worth it to design the best
Managing the Mail Survey
Many people believe that all mail surveys automatically show a low response rate. That's not
true–if the survey is well planned and every factor in the process is controlled.
Planning the Cover Letter
The respondent's first impression of the survey comes from the appearance of the envelope. The
choice of a label versus a typed address, meter postage versus a stamp, help indicate the
surveyor's impression of the importance of the survey and the prestige of its recipients.
The cover letter included in the survey kit package also makes a tremendous impression. The
cover letter conveys the purpose and goal of the study; this is where you "sell" the respondent the
idea of filling out the survey. But respondents may already have made up their minds as soon as
they opened the envelope. Factors behind a successful and attractive cover letter:
Guidelines for Effective Survey Design
- Use a large, dark typeface and dynamic language–design/content features that grab the
respondent's attention immediately
- Be direct and concise. Hardly anybody will respond to a wordy letter
- Make the survey exciting and exceptional
- Make respondents feel that their contribution is important
- Explain why the research is being conducted and how its results will help not only the
individual respondent but an entire community
- Playing on fears–such as the Y2K countdown or the ever-increasing cost of medical benefits–
can enhance the response rate
- Make the style for both letter and survey consistent and professional
- If you have sponsorship (from churches, schools, or public figures), use it to enhance your
- Assure anonymity, especially if the survey topic is embarrassing or sensitive. People will say
more to a stranger
- Be honest. Don't promise anonymity when identities will be revealed. Don't tell respondents
that completing the questionnaire will take only five minutes when the real time commitment
is much greater.
Increasing Response with Incentives
Response rates for your mail survey will probably be disappointing unless you provide incentives
for response. The scale of incentives you can offer depends on your budget; your need for each
individual response; and the audience's motivation to respond. Some options to consider:
- Monetary gifts. These are very effective. The industry standard is a one-dollar bill for a fourpage
survey. Fifty cents is the cut-off for changing response: anything less has no effect.
Another method is to put a $3-$5 check in the envelope. This usually limits incentive costs,
because most people will only cash the check if they complete the survey. A small percentage
will simply cash the check notwithstanding failure to respond.
- Other gifts. Everyone enjoys receiving gifts in the mail, but the gift has to have some value. If
it looks cheap, so does the survey.
- Prize drawings for a cash voucher. This can be effective, but methods with an immediate
"payoff" probably will be more effective. Anonymity also becomes an issue with a prize
drawing. Of course, FTC and state requirements for sweepstakes must be satisfied, and some
jurisdictions ban sweepstakes.
- Data request cards: as long as the survey is not proprietary, respondents who fill out the card
eventually get some study results. Everyone wants to feel that they are contributing to "the
cause"; this lets them see the fruits of their efforts
- Tailored incentives, such as free software for programmers. The effect of an incentive often
depends more on diligence and creativity than cost.