Phil Hearn: Blogger, Writer & Founder of MRDC Software Ltd.

The true cost of CATI software: the case for QPSMR

Although there has been a big movement to online surveys, CATI (computer assisted telephone interviewing) still has a big role to play in market research. The true cost of CATI software, however, is often overlooked. When considering which product to use, there are four major things to consider when it comes to cost per interview. And, for many CATI teams, QPSMR is the right tool. But let’s start by looking at when QPSMR is not the right tool.

When is QPSMR not the right tool?

QPSMR is a product that offers an end to end solution for paper and CATI surveys – from questionnaire creation through to data tables. The CATI module is an add-on module to the main QPSMR platform and provides all the supervisory functions that are needed to manage interviewers, surveys, quotas etc. QPSMR is not a web-based application. Therefore, if you are collecting data online and topping up with CATI interviews, QPSMR might not be the right tool. QPSMR is driven by an easy to use user interface without any scripting and minimal syntax. Generally, this reduces costs as less skilled staff can prepare and administer surveys, but if you have experienced scripting staff that you want to deploy to handle CATI surveys, QPSMRagain may not be the right tool.

So, what are the costs?

There are four main cost benefits to using QPSMR. Some are obvious, but the way that QPSMR works means that other less obvious costs may be drastically reduced. So, let’s look at the cost considerations.

The Licence Fees

QPSMR is competitively priced. The entry price is below US$5000, considerably less than almost every other system. Prices are based on the number of stations used for interviewing, but 30 stations, for example, are less than twice the cost of 10 stations. There is no limit to the people supervising interviewers, managing projects, preparing questionnaires even with the smallest configuration of 3 interviewing stations. Additionally, there are no ‘per interview’ costs – you can conduct as many interviews as you wish without any further fees.

Staff Time & Staff Costs

QPSMR CATI has a straightforward, intuitive user interface. We typically find that once users have completed one survey, they will need little help with further projects. This means that not only your training costs are low, but you can use less skilled staff to prepare your questionnaires. A further consideration is that because the interface is easy to use, errors are more easily detected and less likely to be made – a crucial issue when telephone surveys go live.

Hardware Costs

The design of QPSMR offers an important cost saving that other systems may not have. QPSMR only links to the server at the beginning and at the end of each survey. In other words, it “collects” the details of a potential respondent before the interview and only “returns” it back to the server when the interview is completed or a call outcome has been resolved. There are two important benefits with this architecture – firstly, interviews do not stall midway through an interview while the system tries to retrieve the next question from an overworked server and secondly, you reduce the requirements of your server configuration saving $$$.

Other Things That QPSMR CATI Includes

QPSMR CATI is an add on module to the main QPSMR platform. This means, it includes free of charge:

  • Paper questionnaire data entry tools
  • The tables module means you can go straight from data collection to tables in seconds.
  • You can customise your own survey management reports to measure interviewer efficiency, questionnaire duration for different types of respondents etc. You can produce any report from data which is either automatically collected or collected during the interview.
  • Data can be exported to most common formats for use with other software
  • You get access to freely distributable modules for paper data entry and for secondary analysis by clients or colleagues

Although CATI gets less prominence in market research circles, it is still an important and cost effective methodology – particularly, with the right software!

Would you like a trial?

If you want a trial or to find out more information on QPSMR CATI contact