What’s a CATI software and how to use it

CATI software and use

CATI stands for Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing and it’s a complex survey method that expertly integrates human interaction and automated data collection. So, using a CATI survey software can be a great asset for getting, storing and analyzing insight about your customers’ experience. 

Modern survey platforms completely internet-based are quick, easy-to-use and intuitive, but they can have disadvantages. A CATI software helps you reach a wider audience and use the flexibility of personal interaction to better understand your clients or prospects. 

How does a CATI software work?

A CATI software allows interviewers to make telephone interviews by following a script in their interactions. A flexible and intuitive platform suggests questions and automatically collects answers, giving the interviewers time and space to analyze the responder’s feelings and tone of voice. 

It is an incredibly easy survey software, giving interviewers a wide range of possibilities to collect data and change the course of the interaction based on previous answers. That means follow-up questions and open-ended ones can be collected in a quick and safe way. Every data is automatically stored in the cloud and each questionnaire is easily reached, changed and analyzed in real time. 

Benefits of a CATI survey software

Using this kind of survey software for phone interviews allows companies to reach a wider audience than web-only researches. In fact, with a combined telephone and online survey, you will reach

  • people who live in remote locations with little access to internet connection;
  • audience members who don’t use smartphones or laptops; 
  • people who simply prefer telephonic interactions. 

That also means that particular age groups can join your audience base more easily. 

Also, your interviewers are going to be more productive and data collection faster if your CATI survey software integrates the human factor to the automated one. This way, in fact, surveys will be based on a script but callers could switch to new topics and questions based on previous answers.

The conversation will thus be fluent and spontaneous, as natural as possible, reducing the usual boredom people feel when talking to the phone with a stranger. And of course that will be more intimate and personal than an anonymous questionnaire, allowing interviewers to catch every glimpse of satisfaction or dissatisfaction in your users’ voice. 

Is there any disadvantage in CATI methodology?

The main problem with CATI surveys will be to train interviewers not only about the topic at hand, but also about the software itself. This will be easier and easier if you stick with one survey software: once your staff understand its use, everything will go smoothly. 

Also, people are not always inclined to talk on the phone anymore. So integrating web surveys (the so called CAWI methodology), with CATI softwares will give you the wider possible audience. Remember, if you use open-ended questions, the interviewers will need to type them in the survey and that will make the call longer and probably more boring. Try to balance between multiple choice and open-ended questions. 

How to create the most effective phone survey

When using this methodology, try to engage the audience in a natural and spontaneous conversation. First of all, find your target audience by intersecting age group, geographic location, habits online and more. 

Then write your questions just like you’d write a script. Interesting and engaging requests will put both interviewers and interviewed people at ease. Start with basic questions and progressively go to uncharted territory: that’s what you really want to know, the valuable information you need from your prospects. 

Lastly, be creative in the way you write questions. You may need an expert copywriter here, or maybe your CATI survey software company could help getting started. Use your imagination wisely, but also apply some persuasive copywriting techniques in order to achieve more honest and clear answers. 

CATI softwares features

When searching for the perfect survey software using CATI techniques, be sure to thoroughly inspect it. The most useful and complete system will have all these features: 

  • scripts flexibility; 
  • a perfect way to manage in-bound and out-bound calls; 
  • an intuitive method for answer collection; 
  • time zone management; 
  • clear and immediate statistics to analyze at any time. 

Other technical features involve a Click to Dial and a Predictive Dialing system. These will help you navigate the world of call center complaints. Predictive dialing will automatically search for the right people at the right time (considering time zones too). Then, when they answer the phone, the call will go directly to the first available interviewer. Thus eliminating, or at least reducing, waiting time and consequent boredom. 

Then, all you need is a trained staff that will expertly balance human response and automated data entry. The best survey software also provides a little course or manual in order to get them used to the interface and calls management, data collection and other features. Make your script precise but flexible, your questions sharp and interesting, your staff professional and empathetic and your CATI method will give you precious insight


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