Mobile phone surveys have become one of the most common methods of data collection. GSMA data suggests that 66.79% of the world's population owns a mobile phone; making mobile phones one of the most accessible tools for data gathering in the world. 

Using mobile phones for survey research makes it easier for you to collect information from the different groups in your sample population. Also, mobile phone surveys can be completed easily, and with the Formplus builder, you can also create them on the go.

What is a Mobile Phone Survey? 

A mobile phone survey is a method of data collection that allows you to gather responses from participants using mobile devices. Mobile phone surveys go beyond online surveys that can be completed using a mobile (smart) phone. 

It not only includes data collection from participants via online forms but also video conferencing platforms like Zoom, telephone conversations, etc. Mobile phone surveys are not restricted to smartphones which means you can do this using any type of mobile device through text messages, for example. 

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Mobile Phone Survey Methods

Tele-Survey

In a tele-survey, the researcher places a call across to the survey participants to ask survey questions and collect useful information for the systematic investigation. A telephone conversation is one of the oldest methods of collecting information via a mobile phone survey, and it is a two-way exchange of information, ideas, and views. 

Usually, there are 2 parties in a telephone conversation – the individual asking the questions (this is someone in the research team) and the person responding (survey participant). In a telephone survey, the researcher asks different questions and then, records and transcribes these responses to arrive at useful research findings.  

Because telephone surveys are similar to interviews, you can also classify them as structured, semi-structured, or unstructured.

In a structured telephone interview or survey, the person asking the questions has a script that guides that entire conversation. This script includes an introduction to the survey, a questionnaire with different types of survey questions, and a conclusion. Many times, organizations use this method to conduct customer satisfaction surveys.

In a semi-structured telephone survey, the researcher has a script that guides the conversation, yet, he or she is free to veer off the script and explore the new information that comes up in the cause of the survey. In an unstructured telephone survey, the researcher is not expected to follow any script; that is, he or she can freely ask the participant questions in line with the research context. 

Common Courtesies For Telephone Surveys

  1. Allow for turn-taking. 
  2. Eliminate noise making and make sure your environment is quiet.
  3. As the researcher, ask if it's a good time to talk before going ahead with the survey. 
  4. If possible, inform the participant beforehand. 
  5. Always provide important information about the survey before going ahead. 
  6. Do not ask for sensitive information as this can result in survey dropout. 
  7. Avoid ambiguity; be clear and straight to the point. 

Advantages of Telephone Surveys

  1. It allows survey participants to freely express their thoughts and ideas.
  2. Telephone surveys can be recorded for future purposes. 
  3. You can gather and process data faster using telephone surveys.

Disadvantages of Telephone Surveys

  1. It can be easily affected by survey and research biases. 
  2. It is a time-consuming method of data collection. 
  3. It is quite expensive. 

SMS Survey

An SMS survey is a type of mobile survey that involves sending close-ended questions to survey respondents to gather information from them. Here, the researcher uses the short message service feature to administer surveys and collect data from participants. 

SMS surveys are one of the most effective methods of conducting mobile surveys and collecting useful research data. Apart from having a very high opening rate of up to 98%, the SMS feature is also available on all types of mobile devices which means you can access more people and gather more survey responses. 

An SMS survey is an instant way to get feedback from your target audience. People are very likely to read and respond to new text messages on the go and this means that you can capture your target audience's attention fast. 

SMS Survey Tips You Should Know 

  1. Your SMS survey questions should be brief and straight to the point. It is best to use close-ended questions that provide respondents with options to choose from. 
  2. Always test your SMS survey before sharing it with your respondents.
  3. Break your target audience into well-defined segments and send out your SMS surveys at different times of the day, week, or month. Point is, do not share your survey with all your respondents at the same time. 
  4. Personalize your survey. This is a good way to build a connection and improve the customer experience.
  5. Create your SMS survey with a mobile-friendly tool. 

Advantages of SMS Surveys

  1. SMS surveys have a very wide reach which means you can collect data from a diverse range of people in your target audience. 
  2. It is easy to set up. 

Disadvantages of SMS Surveys 

  1. It is expensive as you need to pay a fee for every SMS you send.
  2. Sorting the data gathered via SMS surveys can be quite demanding and time-consuming.

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Video Call

Since the rise of video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Google Meet, many researchers have embraced these platforms for administering mobile phone surveys. These video conferencing platforms have mobile applications that people can download and install on their smartphones. 

There are different ways to conduct mobile surveys using video conferencing platforms. The most common method is to set up a virtual meeting with survey participants where they get to respond to your different survey questions. You can then record and transcribe these responses. 

In Zoom video meetings, you can create a poll with single choice or multiple-choice questions that allows respondents to provide instant feedback on a particular issue. Zoom also allows you to download the poll results after the meeting and conduct the poll anonymously. 

Tips for Conducting Surveys as Video Calls

  1. Choose a quiet and well-illuminated location for your video call. 
  2. Double-check your equipment to make sure there are no issues with them.
  3. Avoid any distractions.
  4. If possible, list the questions in the chatbox so that participants can swiftly respond. 

Pros of Mobile Surveys as Video Calls 

  1. It serves as a neat approximation of face-to-face surveys.
  2. It allows you to access paralinguistic features like gestures which provide better context for survey research.

Cons of Mobile Surveys as Video Calls

  1. A poor internet connection can ruin your survey. 
  2. It is expensive and time-consuming. 
  3. Response time limitation can affect the quality of the information provided by respondents. 

Online Questionnaire

An online survey is also known as an internet survey and it is a data collection method that allows respondents to participate in survey research via the internet. In other words, the researcher creates the survey and administers it online using several survey sharing methods like social media and embedded forms. 

Unlike paper survey methods, online surveys allow you to collect data faster from more people and to also organize these data sets easily. There are many data collection platforms online that you can use to create and administer your survey and it's always best to choose one that can serve all your needs. 

Formplus is an easy-to-use survey tool that you can use to create and administer your mobile surveys via online questionnaires. Apart from having a mobile-responsive form builder, it also has a drag-and-drop feature that allows you to add different fields to your survey, on your internet-enabled mobile device.  

Tips for Conducting Phone Survey as Online Questionnaire

  1. Adopt a good survey design.
  2. Keep it short and simple.
  3. Ensure that your questions are direct and easy to understand. Avoid bad survey questions.
  4. Do not ask for private or sensitive information, unless this is necessary. 

Pros of Phone Surveys as Online Questionnaire

  1. It is cost-effective as many online survey builders are either free or support free versions and trial periods. Formplus offers a 21-day free trial period and after this time, you can subscribe for a paid package starting from $25 per month.  
  2. It is faster to create and administer. 
  3. Typically, online survey tools are easy to use for researchers and participants. 
  4. It supports automated data collection and processing. 
  5. Increased survey response rates.

Cons of Phone Surveys as Online Questionnaire

  1. Survey fraud
  2. Poor internet connection.
  3. Inability to access members of your survey population in remote areas. 

Why Use Formplus to Conduct Online Phone Questionnaire 

Mobile-Friendly Forms

All Formplus forms are mobile-friendly and this means that they can be completed on any smartphone or an internet-enabled device. Our forms automatically adapt to any screen size which makes it easy for respondents to complete your survey without zooming in or pinching out on your form. 

In addition to this, you can also access the drag-and-drop form builder right on your mobile device. This means that you can create different types of mobile surveys from your smartphone device right in the Formplus builder. You can add over 30 form fields into your surveys from your mobile device, use the form customization options, and tweak your survey setting without any hassles. 

Offline Capability

Formplus supports offline data collection which means that respondents can fill and submit your survey even without internet access. This means you do not have to worry about reaching respondents in remote locations where there is little or no access to the internet. 

All the data provided in offline mode is automatically synced and uploaded to the Formplus surveys or your preferred cloud storage when the survey respondent has access to the internet. You can read more about Formplus offline forms here  

Shareability

There are numerous form sharing options available with Formplus and this makes it even easier for you to collect and process data from a large number of persons. For example, you can embed your survey in your mobile-friendly website, to allow form respondents to access it when they visit the website with their smartphones. 

Another way to share your Formplus online phone questionnaire is by sending out email invitations to survey respondents. You can also share the mobile survey via the form link or use the social media direct sharing button to invite your social media community to participate in the survey. 

Multi-Page Form

Since smartphone screens are quite small and this can affect the user experience for researchers and survey respondents, Formplus supports multi-page forms. Here, you can split your form into several pages to make it more attractive and less jam-packed, and cumbersome. 

By separating a form into multiple pages and sections, the information is better organized and you don’t lose user engagement and you'd have limited survey dropouts along the way. If you want, you can put a question on each page, or group similar questions on a page. 

How to Conduct a Phone Survey With an Online Form  

  • Access your Formplus dashboard via www.formpl.us. You can also sign up for a Formplus account here. 

  • On your dashboard, click on the "create new form" button to access the form builder. You'd find this button at the top-right corner of your dashboard.


  • Now, you should be in the Formplus form builder. First, add the title of your mobile phone survey in the title bar. 

  • Next, go to the left corner of the form builder. You'd find the form fields section. Click a form field to add it to your form. You can also drag and drop preferred fields into your form. 
  • On the right side of the form field, you'd notice 3 icons. Click on the one the pencil icon to access the edit modal. Here, you can add questions and answers to your field. Save all the changes you've made to the field by choosing the "save" button. 


  • Repeat the above process after adding new form fields to your survey. When you are satisfied with your form framework, click on the "save" icon in the builder's top-left corner to save the form. Once this is completed, you'd automatically access the form customization section

  • Use the different form customization options to tweak your survey. You can change the form font, increase the font size, add preferred background images, and make any other changes to your survey outlook.

  • Use the multiple form sharing options to share your survey. Formplus forms are automatically mobile-responsive so you don't have to worry about that. 

Advantages of Telephone Surveys 

  1. It is a convenient method of data collection. Respondents can access and complete your survey as they go about their daily lives. 
  2. Telephone surveys cater to a diverse range of audiences. There are different methods of data collection for mobile surveys which means you can collect data from different groups in your target audience. 
  3. A mobile survey is the best way to reach audiences who frequently use their smartphones, which are typically Millenials and business people.
  4. Mobile surveys allow for almost-immediate data collection and processing which saves you time and money in the medium and long term. Research can be gathered quickly because phone interviews are immediate. 
  5. Mobile surveys, especially when they are conducted through phone calls or video calls can improve customer experience and build a bond between the researcher and the survey respondent. A telephone survey has a personal touch, so it can lead to valuable brand-building benefits. 

Disadvantages of Telephone Surveys 

  1. Time-consuming: Even though mobile-surveys favor swift data collection, timing is still a problem. First, people do not just want to be interrupted while they execute their daily tasks. Also, conversations between the researcher and the survey participants can become extended. 
  2. Because mobile survey questions have to be brief and straight to the point, it can be difficult to design an effective survey that vividly captures the context of the research. 
  3. Mobile surveys; especially SMS surveys and tele-surveys are not suitable for lengthy or complex questions. 

Conclusion

Without any doubt, mobile phone surveys are here to stay. In a world that is flexible and predominantly mobile, creating and administering surveys via mobile devices conveniently fits into the global "flexible and on-the-go" lifestyle that forms the core of modern life. 

In this article, we've discussed different methods of collecting information via mobile surveys. Before we go, here is a quick reminder: Always reflect on the needs and preferences of your target audience before choosing a mobile phone survey method for data collection. 




  • Formplus Blog
  • on 11 min read

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