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Telephone Surveys VS Mailers?

Salt Lake City, Utah, December 12, 2014 - Pinnacle Quality Insight (, Most companies that engage in surveys for their research usually choose between two common methods: by telephone or by mail.

The long-standing debate is, which one is better, or more effective? Our thought is that surveys conducted over the telephone are a more effective way of gathering information, but letís take a look at the positives and negatives of both, and you can decide for yourself.

By Mail


  • Depending on how many people you are hoping to survey, this method can be less expensive. Especially if you are aiming to gather information from a very large population of people.
  • If the survey is long, respondents are able to reread the questions and take their time when answering
  • Many times a mailed survey can provide visual assistance to each question. This may help the respondent understand more clearly what they are being asked.

  • Because the respondent has more time to answer, reread, and consider, they may over think what is being asked. Therefore it can be difficult to obtain what their initial "gut" answer might have been.
  • If the respondent doesnít understand the question they are being asked, there isnít anyone to explain or clarify the question. Because of this, you may get answers that are not true to the question, therefore making your research clouded by misinformation.
  • Letís be honest here, how many of us voluntarily take a survey and send it back. Most surveys attempted by mail are rarely returned. This takes away from the random subjects, and variety of those taking the survey. You donít get to control who takes the survey and who doesnít, so you might be getting surveys returned from one type of subject. This leads to incomplete data, and makes the survey difficult to use.



  • There might be potential for a higher expense when it comes to telephone surveys, especially if you are calling a large amount of people, but you will get more accurate results as the random sample is easier to achieve. Thanks to an actual person making contact with your respondents, there almost always is a higher amount of responses.
  • Youíll get the feedback immediately, rather than waiting weeks for surveys to be mailed back and analyzed.
  • There is more flexibility with a live person conducting the survey. The interviewer can provide clarification when necessary, while still remaining neutral, and pause for the respondent, or even call the respondent back at a more convenient time.
  • Because the questions are being asked by someone who is usually trained in this area, the level of quality control is much higher. The responses are more accurate, and the interviewer can ensure that the respondent's message was captured correctly.

  • Just as with a mailed survey, time is a major factor in survey responses. In a telephone interview, the risk of someone not completing the survey if it goes too long can be an issue. This may result in some incomplete surveys.
  • Because the survey is being conducted live, some respondents being interviewed might be nervous. Respondents don't have the questions in front of them to consider and review.

While both have their benefits, and disadvantages, it would seem clear that when it comes to conducting a customer satisfaction survey, using the telephone method is the most effective way to gather necessary feedback. While costs can potentially be a little higher, the overall experience will be of a higher quality. To avoid losing calls, or having people drop off, try to keep the survey length down. Youíll be sure to get the information you want when they have a live conversation over the phone.

For more information, please visit Pinnacle's website at

About Pinnacle Quality Insight: Pinnacle offers customer satisfaction measurement via telephone survey to senior care and hospice providers. Pinnacle's feedback process is based off the idea that healthcare should be evaluated just like it is administered, individually. This process is the easiest way for senior care and hospice providers to understand the voice of their customer. For more information, please contact us.
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