Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, is a technology that lets you automate the call process via an interactive voice response system of pre-recorded messages. It typically involves a telephone system that allows customers or survey respondents to interact with a computer by inputting responses to questions through the keypad on their phone rather than relying on enumerators and paper questionnaires.

IVR Surveys: Overview

phone callIn survey research, IVR enables the researcher to deploy voice surveys in the form of automated phone calls and then capture that survey data as mentioned by the respondent in the survey tool for further analysis. Using IVR surveys, the researchers define the audience they would like to use, integrate an IVR tool with the survey platform, and then deploy automated surveys. This helps collect quick responses from a large sample without manual intervention. The tool captures the responses accurately and, thereby into the survey platform.

There are several advantages of using IVR surveys to collect data from a target audience remotely. IVR surveys can be a powerful tool for collecting data from many people. IVR systems are fast, efficient, and cost-effective, making them ideal for large-scale surveys. They also allow respondents to participate in a survey at their convenience without needing to make an appointment or be available at a particular time.

How to Conduct IVR Surveys: The Steps

In this article, we go through the steps of creating effective IVR surveys.

1. Plan your survey, from the research objective

The first step (which applies to all types of research) is to determine the research objective properly. You could be looking for information on a particular topic, such as “what is the impact of the ongoing research on food availability in Somalia?” or you might want to know more about how people behave when using a brand’s product or whether they think it’s valuable and helpful. Before you conduct surveys, you must clearly understand what you want to achieve with your research. This will help you determine the right questions to ask and the most effective way to collect data.

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Whatever your objective is, start with some general questions that will help guide your research, such as:

  • What do I want my audience’s answers to be?
  • What kind of responses will I get from them?
  • What do I want to learn about my audience? What information do I need?
  • What kind of data do I need to answer my research questions?
  • How much time do I have to complete the research?
  • How will I collect the data? What are the advantages of using IVR over other modes in this specific scenario?

Answers to these questions will help determine the purpose of the survey, the target audience, the questions you want to ask, and the interview length. Remember, one of the essential considerations in survey design is choosing the right target population. This includes defining the geographical area, age group, and other characteristics of the people you want to reach.

2. Create your IVR survey

Once you have planned your survey, you will need to create your IVR survey, which involves building the questionnaire, recording the audio questions, and creating the IVR menu.

Make the survey simple and short, with one question per call. The longer your survey session, the less likely it is that people will complete it—and they won’t remember what they did or didn’t do if they can’t answer your questions quickly. Keep in mind that you don’t have time to get into all the small details you would during a phone or face to face conversation. Rather than asking them about their personal life or emotions (which could be easily answered by reading between the lines), focus on the practical needs of the survey.

In a nutshell:

  • Decide on the questions you want to ask – keep them short and simple.
  • Prepare the script that the IVR system will read out.
  • Set up your call flow – determine the flow on which the questions will be asked.
  • Test your system – before going live, it is essential to test your IVR survey to ensure everything is working.
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3. Conduct your Survey

Once your IVR survey is created, you will need to conduct your survey. First, you’ll need to set up a call center with the necessary equipment, software, sample phone numbers, and people. Then, deploy the survey, which involves calling the target sample and asking them to participate in the survey

Keep in touch with the metrics in real time. Some of the KPIs you could consider are:

  • Response rate: How many people actually took the time to respond?
  • Completion rate: How many people completed your survey?
  • Completion time: How long did it take for them to complete the survey? Was there a lag between when you called them and when they finished their responses or did they finish quickly and you had some downtime before being put back on hold (because there were more calls)?
  • Call abandonment rate: If someone left before completing their portion of the survey, how often did that happen over an hour or day-long period?
  • Average call time on hold (COT): If you have an IVR system, this is calculated by taking all calls waiting for a customer agent during an hour and dividing them by total calls made during that same time frame. For example, if the IVR attempted a thousand phone numbers but only 50% were answered within 5 minutes; then this would be 50/1000 = 4%.

4. Analyze your Results

After you have conducted your survey, you will need to analyze the results. After your survey is complete, it’s time to collect and analyze the data, which can be done manually or with specialized software, depending on the data volume and the analysis’s complexity.

This step includes cleaning the data, analyzing it to determine the survey’s overall results, and then creating an actionable report from the data, as Brian Kiprop explains in this GeoPoll Talks podcast.

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Conduct IVR Surveys Using GeoPoll

A good research provider will walk you through the process of creating and executing a successful interactive voice research survey. They’ll help you with:

  • The design of your questionnaire
  • The scripting of questions so they’re straightforward to understand
  • Setting up an account with their company
  • The scheduling and management of your research
  • The reporting of your results so you can act on them

GeoPoll provides an end-to-end research service using IVR or any other mobile-driven data collection. We’re always happy to answer questions and walk you through the process of creating a successful survey. Contact us today.