Is face-to-face research right for you?
The Pros and Cons of Face-To-Face Research

Is Face-to-Face Data Collection right for you?

When planning a research project, the 3 most crucial aspects are (1) the accuracy of the data, (2) the ROI of the insight delivered, and (3) the whether or not the research answers a specific business question.

Despite the rise in popularity of online and mobile surveys, face-to-face (in-person) interviews still remain a popular data collection method. A face-to-face interview method provides advantages over other data collection methods. They include:

What are the "Pros"?

• Accurate screening. Face-to-face interviews allow for more accurate screening. The individual being interviewed is unable to provide false information during screening questions such as gender, age, or race. It is possible to get around screening questions in online and mobile surveys, and offering incentives may actually encourage answer falsification. Individuals may enter incorrect demographic information so they are able to complete the survey and gain the incentive. The answers the individual provides may all be truthful, but for the purpose of data analysis, the data will be inaccurate and misleading.

• Capture verbal and non-verbal cues. A face-to-face interview is no doubt going to capture verbal and non-verbal cues, but this method also affords the capture of non-verbal cues including body language, which can indicate a level of discomfort with the questions. Adversely, it can also indicate a level of enthusiasm for the topics being discussed in the interview. Let’s discuss an employee job interview, for example. Capturing non-verbal cues may make the difference between selecting an employee that is less skilled, but displays a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the position. Capturing non-verbal cues is not possible in online or mobile surveys.

• Keeping their focus. The interviewer is the one that has control over the interview and can keep the interviewee focused and on track to completion. Online and mobile surveys are often completed during time convenient for the respondent, but are often in the midst of other distractions such as texting, reading and answering emails, video streaming, web surfing, social sharing, and more. Face-to-face interviews are in-the-moment, free from distractions.

• Capture emotions and behaviors. Face-to-face interviews can no doubt capture an interviewee’s emotions and behaviors. Similar to not being able to capture verbal and non-verbal cues, online and mobile surveys can also not capture raw emotions and behavior.

What are the "Cons"?

• Costs can be high. Cost can be a disadvantage for face-to-face interviews. They require a staff of people to conduct the interviews, which means there will be personnel costs.

• Quality of data by interviewer. The quality of data you receive will often depend on the quality of the interviewer. Some people have the natural ability to conduct an interview and gather data well, and staffing the right individuals is key.

• Manual data entry. If the interview is administered on paper, the data collected will need to be entered manually, or scanned, if a scannable interview questionnaire is created. Data entry and scanning of paper questionnaires can significantly increase the cost of the project. A staff of data entry personnel will need to be hired. Additionally, data entry can prolong the analysis process. Using iPads, tablets, or other mobile devices can cut-down on manual data entry costs and information is ready for analysis.

• Limit sample size. The size of the sample is limited to the size of your interviewing staff, the area in which the interviews are conducted, and the number of qualified respondents within that area. It may be necessary to conduct several interviews over multiple areas, using multiple firms which again can increase costs.

How is Custom Intercept Solutions different?

We were created in 2004 to solve for face-to-face interview barriers buy addressing each of the “cons” while expanding on the “pros.”

• Unlimited Sample Size. CIS’ footprint allows you to choose any market(s) in the US or Canada, because we are already on-site. Our locally-based partners are pre-vetted and scored, so we just need to activate. We can be wherever your customer is, at scale.

• No Manual Data Here. From the start, CIS has utilized tablet devices to streamline data-flow and allow for faster, more accurate analysis. All data is uploaded into a client-facing portal for dashboard and deep-dive analysis.

• Highest Quality Interviewers. This is our “secret sauce.” Our vetting, hiring, and training process has been called out as best-in-class by even the most discerning clients. We score our researchers at an individual level, so we can fit the right individual for your study.

• The Cost for Answered Questions. True, in-person research can cost more than online polls, but you also get what you pay for. Face-to-face research methodologies are more organic, more relevent, and more personal than any other approach. Rather than building a business on spinning lifeless data to clients, CIS answers critical business questions about the all-important human experience: Loyalty, shopability, perceptions, new items and services, and much more.