Monday, 22 November 2010

What different types of surveys are there?

Surveys are a popular method for companies or individuals to collect useful data from a customer/consumer which they can then use to some benefit. E.g A company can use a survey to determine which of its services are the best and which need improving.

There are many types of surveys some of which are listed below:

Face to Face Interviews: Are the most costly and time consuming of surveys but can generate good results as the interviewer can "dig deeper" when asking the client questions.

Phone Interviews: Are very cheap and quick, they can gain good results but more often than not the recipient won’t be eager to take the survey and therefore may give dishonest answers to get the interviewer off the phone.

Written Questionnaires: Are cheap and many questionnaires can be sent out at once, however although the fact that written questionnaires allow the recipient to remain anonymous, the response rate is likely to be low as alot of people just discard questionnaires as junk.

If anyonelse has taken part in any form of a survey i would be interested to hear your views.



  1. I agree with the fact that face to face interviews are the most effective of these methods, however, do you feel that the added costs of hiring trained and qualified personnel to conduct the interviews outweigh the benefits of the more accurate/ relevant information or is it the other way around? Also what types of companies do you feel would be more likely to use phone interviews or face to face interviews as opposed to a large-scale distribution of a written questionnaire?

  2. I do feel that the “added costs of hiring trained and qualified personnel to conduct the interviews” is a negative in terms of finances and time, however in terms of gathering results if a company or individual wants to receive the best results possible then it’s a cost that they are going to have to pay. When looking at what type of company uses which types of survey, this can vary on a number of aspects including finances, location and customer base. To give an example, companies such as Tesco or Sainsbury’s do hire and pay a certain amount of their clients yearly to undertake a face to face interview; this is usually conducted via a market research group who conduct the interviews for the two companies. These large multinational companies can afford to do this. However many supermarkets also leave questionnaires in their customers shopping bags or by the doors of their shops. To try and get the customers to complete the surveys they offer incentives such as money off vouchers or cash prizes. Other companies such as BT usually rely on telephone interviews or they send out questionnaires to their customers, they use these types of surveys due to the fact when looking at location, they don’t have a shop that customers come too as BT doesn’t sell any specific product they provide a service to its customers.
    I hope this helps sum up what companies use what types of surveys, I think when looking at this question you need to just think about the company’s finances and location and from this you will be able to determine what type of survey they are most likely to use.

  3. I agree with both of your views, that is something I also noticed. Boots the company I work for have recently introduced online surveys for recruitment which saves them a lot of time and money. After choosing suitable applicants they go on to face to face interviews which shows they are more effective and you can get a better insight of the person.

    For companies which would like to receive customer feedback I feel that a survey online or telephone interview will be the best approach as it is less expensive and less time consuming.