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The Best Policy: Make Honesty Easy for Telephone Survey Respondents

Tuesday June 20, 2017

If you want to get a high response rate for a healthcare survey – whether for patient satisfaction, appointment follow up, or even a research study – you can still do no better than telephone. A phone call is interruptive, meaning that respondents cannot “put it off until later” and forget or simply move on. A phone call requests an immediate response from the call recipient, and fortunately for those gathering the information, most call recipients adopt a might-as-well attitude to this kind of interruptive technology, prompting a higher response rate than any other type of survey.

However, it is crucial that your respondents answer truthfully; exaggeration and euphemism can lead info gatherers to draw conclusions that are at best flawed and at worst false. It’s a classic attribute of human nature; when interacting with other humans, especially strangers, people find it difficult to be completely honest – especially about topics as intimate as personal health and habits. Respondents fear that the caller asking them questions will judge them, pity them, have human reactions to whatever responses the call recipient gives – so they fudge the truth a little to appear less flawed.

According to a study published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, however, there is a way to achieve both the high response rate by deploying a telephone survey and an accurate survey sample, despite human nature. Interactive voice response (IVR) technology can deploy a telephone survey that is still interruptive in nature, but removes the imperfections or inconsistencies introduced by a human interviewer. An IVR survey can be cheerful, warm, and friendly, with recorded prompts from professional voice actors, but respondents are still able to respond truthfully, knowing that the automated system cannot judge them – and it works!

Check out the study to see how an automated survey can get you accurate results in no time!

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