Telephone Interviews

Call Centre interviewer Opinion Research Services (ORS) has been conducting telephone interview studies since the mid 1990s, and have recently up-graded our telephone systems and facilities to support additional capacity. We have a modern 24 seat Call Centre in separate premises adjacent to our main office, with capacity for undertaking over 70,000 interviews per annum.

We currently undertake a range of surveys for a number of clients, most of which are tracking surveys monitoring changing perceptions on a monthly or quarterly basis. We also have experience of undertaking mystery customer assessments for clients delivering telephone services to the public.

In 2007 we were appointed to the national Police Framework agreement – one of seven companies – to undertake all the PPAF surveys across the UK. These surveys are all undertaken by telephone and as such our processes and systems have been assessed by the Police procurement team. Since then we have provided PPAF and ASB surveys to Merseyside, South Wales and Gwent police.

Our current committed work includes around 20,000 interviews monitoring service satisfaction received by victims of crime from their local Police force. ORS is an accredited supplier for undertaking these interviews to Home Office standards. We also undertake regular surveys on behalf of Fire and Rescue Services across the UK and a range of individual Local Authorities.

However, our telephone work is not only quantitative but also qualitative. For example, we have undertaken detailed interviews at a very senior level for Cardiff County Council, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Equal Opportunities Commission, Disability Rights Commission, and TUC.

Computer Aided Telephone Interviewing (CATI)

All interviews are undertaken using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) – as there are significant benefits of using these systems from the point of view of data accuracy, security and handling. The systems also allow for management of sample telephone numbers, call monitoring, call recording and instant transfer of respondent data to automated databases for subsequent analysis.

Interviewers sit at PCs where they are presented with questions to ask, the available responses and any special instructions for the interview. The system includes automatic routing and data validation. Interviewers are able to take brief notes to open-ended questions during the interview, then return to review and elaborate on them once the call has been completed.

Our Computer Aided Telephone Interview (CATI) management system uses industry leading software, Bellview FUSION. The system has sophisticated sample management facilities allowing complex call scheduling requirements to be implemented to help maximise response rates. The system has provision for booking and fulfilling appointments, enabling us to call respondents at times convenient for them.

The system is equipped with an automatic dialler which maximises interviewer productivity by removing the time taken to manually dial numbers and prevent the inevitable wrong numbers that a manual dialling process introduces. Unlike predictive diallers, a caller will never receive a silent call, the call is not placed until an agent is available.

The outcome of every attempted call is recorded using a detailed set of customisable outcome codes. FUSION provides detailed reporting of call outcomes and in this way can both track response rates and reasons for failure as well as other key management information.

All calls are recorded and indexed. This enables data analysts to review any conversations should any queries arise at a later date; provides material for training purposes and can be used should any complaints arise. These recordings can also be converted to a standard digital .wav file format and provided to clients if requested – although we would review these files in advance to edit out any personal information that could identify the individual unless they have provided their consent for their data to be shared.

Telephone Interviewing Quality Control

Our Call Centre always operates with at least one supervisor for every 10 interviewers on duty. All staff are highly experienced in both social and consumer research, and work for ORS regularly on a wide range of sensitive and important projects.

Call centre supervisors are able to monitor in real time by both listening in to live calls whilst simultaneously viewing the interviewers’ on-screen actions to ensure the interview is progressing correctly. This ensures effective quality checking and call tracking. A minimum of 5% of fully completed interviews, for each interviewer, are monitored for quality purposes. This 5% minimum is in accordance with IQCS guidelines although as a general practice we aim for 6-10%. The monitoring process checks that correct procedures are followed; that interviews are accurately completed and that the interviewer’s style and manner are appropriate.

In addition to general quality monitoring we have additional practices to ensure the quality of new staff. When a new interviewer starts, all of their work is monitored. This continues until the supervisor is satisfied that they have achieved the necessary level of competence. From then on they go onto routine quality monitoring although additional support will be provided if required.