7 factors that influence the response rate of a telephone survey

Telephone surveys are one of the methods commonly used to collect data for market research. The telephone survey is particularly suitable for the B2B context but presents a series of difficulties which have an impact on the response rate and on the budget. In this article, we go deeper into the subject and detail the 7 factors that have an impact on the response rate to telephone surveys.

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  • factor 1: the type of target
  • factor 2: the sector
  • factor 3: duration
  • factor 4: the type of questions
  • factor 5: remuneration
  • factor 6: the nature of the investigation
  • factor 7: timing
  • Conclusion

The type of target

Most market research aims to test the interest of a certain consumer or business profile for a ghostwriting services. It is therefore necessary to define “personas” in order to collect data from the right targets.

The telephone survey is part of this approach and must therefore reach specific respondents. A balance will have to be found between defining targets and the difficulty of recruitment.

This problem is particularly significant in B2B when the telephone survey is aimed at high profiles in the business organization. These over-solicited profiles are much less likely to respond. This will therefore considerably reduce the response rate.

Industry (for B2B telephone surveys)

The industry will affect the response rate of your telephone survey. There are 2 reasons for this:

  • certain sectors are naturally overstretched (the medical sector in general, and doctors in particular)
  • Some sectors are small: the total population of people who can be queried will therefore be limited. This can therefore potentially have an effect on the number of requests received by these B2B targets and on their desire to respond.

In either case, it will be necessary to prepare an introduction that is sufficiently convincing to avoid blockages.

The duration of the telephone survey

The length of the survey can be a barrier for some respondents. Having to face 20 minutes of questions and answers can potentially be a problem for respondents. This is particularly the case in a B2B context where respondents often have little (or no) time to devote to telephone surveys.

The length of the questionnaire is therefore a crucial parameter to control. Keeping the questionnaire as short as possible should therefore be your primary objective during the preparation phase. Each question must be well thought out and its usefulness assessed.

We cannot recommend highly enough that you optimize your questionnaire by following these two tips:

1) Carry out a preliminary literature study

The literature study allows you to quickly scan all the results already available on a subject and make it your own. You will thus be able to identify the points that really deserve further investigation during your telephone survey.

2) Test your quiz

Testing your questionnaire is essential to realize how long it will take to administer on the one hand, and any problems it may have on the other. Ask a colleague or relative to play the role of the guinea pig. This exercise will certainly allow you to detect problems invisible to your eyes and to correct them. Your efficiency during the telephone survey will be all the better for it.

The type of questions

Intrusive or confidential questions will be blocked by respondents.
When you prepare your questionnaire, formulate your questions in such a way that the respondents will want to answer you. Also be careful not to ask questions that are outside the scope of B2B respondents.

In general, the rules for writing questionnaires apply. Take this into account to avoid problems.


It may seem obvious, but money is still a motivation for many people. When the survey is paid for, the response rate suffers:

  • for a B2C telephone survey it can be 10 times higher
  • for a B2B telephone survey, it can be 2 times higher

If time is a major constraint in your study, consider getting out the wallet. To get an idea of ​​what compensation to offer, check out this article.

The nature of the investigation

The very nature of the telephone survey or the identity of the sponsor are likely to influence the response rate. Some respondents might indeed want to “be heard” and take the opportunity to give their opinion.

 The timing

The season, day and time are factors that impact the response rate of best ebook service, particularly in B2B. Absenteeism is, for example, higher during the summer, which will make the telephone survey all the more difficult.

The last week of December and the first week of January are also periods to avoid. In B2C respondents will not have time to answer a survey. In B2B, the few people you reach will also be too busy to answer you.


As you will have understood, there are many pitfalls to the successful completion of a telephone survey. Its good preparation will determine 80% of its success.
However, if this approach seems too complicated for you, be aware that there are alternatives.

  • Consumer panels (for B2C market research ) or professional panels (for B2B market research)
  • Face-to-face surveys, particularly suited to the B2B context

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