Synovate's CATI: A boon for most, bane for a few

By , agencyfaqs! | In | July 09, 2004
Computer-Aided-Telephonic Interviewing methodology is growing by 37 per cent across the Asia Pacific region

There's some bad news for investigators at market research outfits, who tend to go a little off the rule books once in a while.

In fact, if Synovate's CATI (or Computer-Aided-Telephonic Interviewing) catches on in India, fudging respondent's answers is going to be extremely difficult.

CATI is a sophisticated data capture methodology pioneered by multinational market research major Synovate, the research arm of leading communications behemoth, the $11 billion Aegis Group.

Indian market research is largely based on the 'paper- pencil' means of interviewing, whether done face-to-face or through a telephone. Compared to this, CATI is completely automated and can capture data, interpret it, and also generate output within a time frame which is significantly lower than what is taken in traditional methods.

Apart from marginalising errors, CATI is a cost-effective device as well. Unending hours spent by interviewers going from door to door will almost be a thing of the past. With CATI software installed in computers and hooked on to telephones - the smart system will simplify gaining access to the consuming class, including up-market households.

CATI has other benefits like being accurate and flexible, simple to supervise, and making the post-interviewing process easier. CATI's popularity as an interviewing methodology can be gauged by its annual growth rate of almost 37 per cent across the Asia Pacific region .

Alok Shanker, managing director, Synovate India, says industries like consumer durables, automobiles, media, finance, insurance, credit cards, banking, retail, telecom and premium FMCG products can benefit greatly from CATI.

On the subject of ensuring quality, Shanker said, "There is a centralised management of interviewers. With CATI, interviewer supervision happens on the spot since all interviews are recorded. Therefore, maintaining quality becomes easier."

In India, Synovate has undertaken 1,000-plus market research projects. However, CATI has not been used in any of these, company executives say. They hasten to add that the methodology will be henceforth used for many of Synovate's future projects.

With telephone penetration of over 70 per cent in urban households and essentially among SEC A, B and the more affluent sections of C in India, corporates might find CATI useful.

Currently, a pan-Asia cross-media study being conducted by the research outfit for the Indian media is using the technology. In fact, Synovate is using CATI for conducting studies for international clients operating in India. The state-of-the-art methodology will be initially available in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai; Synovate has invested Rs 50 lakh to put the infrastructure in place. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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