Working of Offline Surveys – Are they Reliable and Convenient?

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Photo Credit:'s PeskyMonkey

Surveys have a longstanding history. Homo sapiens are prone to asking questions from day one. Even when no particularly established language existed and mankind used hand and body gestures to communicate, there existed a strong urge, known as curiosity, which inclined them to ask and collect information.

• The Need for Surveys!

With human evolution came many languages. As the lexicon developed in some of the most widely spoken languages, it became easier to gather knowledge from each other. The enlightened humans developed several technologies to conduct first hand information and feedback regarding everything, from business to social life, of the people. There emerged a concept of paper-based surveys that still works for many in today’s fast-paced world.

Again, with the rise of commercialism, the need for timely evaluations increased tenfold. Surveys became an established mode of collecting data in many industries, thus, giving rise to an urgency for which we came up with the method of phone surveys. These were not only quicker but also more cost effective as the expenses on travel were reduced. However, it has its own expenses, such as a huge phone bill, that needs to be taken care of.

• Speedy Collection of Data

Nowadays, globalization has taken root in our system in the form of World Wide Web and people tend to avoid making calls one after another or knocking on the doors of strangers just to ask a few questions. After all, why would they waste so much time and energy when they can get just that in a much more efficient way?

They have their computers, mobile phones, and tablets where they can access internet anytime and create and disseminate their surveys within minutes, if not seconds. The free online survey websites have also made it rather easy to get free registration and services. The surveyors can easily get free multiple samples, unlimited questions, unlimited answer options, unlimited number of responses, a long list of question types, etc. to make their surveys time and cost-effective.

We know what perks online surveys have to offer, but have they rendered the offline surveys ineffective for good? How so? Let’s have a detailed discussion on that today.

• Knock or Call – You Need Feedback!

Of course, all mediums of surveys have their pros and cons. Even paper based surveys turn out to be useful in certain situations. Paper surveys work best when used within corporate organizations, educational institutes, government offices, etc. They not only prove to be long lasting for record-keeping but also create an impression of authenticity in the respondent’s mind.

Phone survey, on the other hand, works well on a broad level. It can be used for political reasons, such as, verifying voter registration or evaluating public opinion and awareness. Other than that, it also works well to judge customer satisfaction in various industries such as, hospitals, banks, phone network and internet providers, etc.

Other positive aspects of using paper and phone based surveys are as follows:

Paper-Based Surveys:

√ Paper surveys have better visibility, and based on their subject, they weigh on the respondent’s mind more than a usual online survey.

√ You get to meet the respondents in person and answer any questions they might have regarding the survey.

√ You get immediate idea of a survey-takers opinion but it takes longer to come up with the overall final report.

Offline Phone Surveys:

√ Through phone surveys, you can reach a wider audience.

√ People with zero literacy can participate in the survey.

√ Interaction with the respondent is direct.

√ Data quality is normally higher than other mediums because if the respondents get confused over something, surveyor can explain it to them.

• Reasons Why We Avoid Them!

Plenty of them, actually! We avoid both paper-based and phone surveys (types of offline surveys) for several reasons; some of which we shall be discussing shortly. One more thing is the availability of a better option, i.e. free online surveys. The battle between paper surveys vs online surveys will always end in favor of the internet surveys till we can find an even better substitute.

Waste of Time

Paper based surveys take too long to reach into the hands of each and every respondent. For each survey, we have to select an audience and then send the survey out to them to understand and fill that questionnaire. It doesn’t need a genius to figure out that going door to door to distribute and then collect the survey is one heck of a time-consuming job. This is the reason why conducting paper surveys normally takes weeks, if not months, to accumulate data.

Similarly, phone surveys take a lot of patience on the part of the surveyor as he has to dial so many numbers and then ask a particular set of questions and eradicate all confusions in the mind of each respondent. Survey takers, too, have to stay on phone and compromise on whatever they might be working on before the phone call. They can’t attend the survey at their leisure.

Waste of resources

So we all know that the latest trend in survey making, i.e. online surveys, is not only free of cost but can be availed at a reliable site like the SurveyCrest. Why would any of us want to invest hundreds of dollars on printing paper, hiring printing machines, and people who would later distribute the survey? Or, in the case of phone surveys, making extensive calls on hundreds of numbers?

Offline surveys have minimum flexibility when it comes to using resources. You have to go to great lengths in order to reach out to your customers and collect timely authentic data.

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.