7 Reasons to Use Call Centers for Data Collection

Call Center Data Collectionhttps://i1.wp.com/www.ictworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/call-cente... 200w" sizes=" 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Recently, I was at a meeting that focused on data collection from health clinic operators, school principals, and agricultural extension agents (who are very similar), and one of the participants pointed out an “old” technology that could still be cutting edge in 2018: call centers. Their idea was very simple and smart.
Call centers still have amazing advantages over “new” technologies like mobile data collection, remote sensing, and other shiny, flashy tools.
Listening to their presentation, I couldn’t help but see seven levels of brilliance in deploying call centers to improve project outcomes, in every country, but especially in resource-constrained environments where technology and literacy are an issue, like Liberia or South Sudan.
1. Almost Instant Deployment
Call centers can be up and running really fast. No need to do a large train the trainer roll out across the country. You can train a handful of people in the capital city, give them phone lines, and then have them call project staff across the country and walk the project staff through the needed data collection activities. Nationwide deployment could happen in a month!
2. No Major Technology Purchases
Call centers only require phone lines and call tracking software, and both are well-established technologies. VoIP calls (like Skype or WhatsApp calls) are almost free and only need an internet connection. Pair them with Zendesk or Salesforce and you have a robust call center infrastructure with a few headsets and mouse clicks.
3. Zero User Training
Everyone knows how to use a phone. To call or to receive a call. And once the recipient is connected with the operator, they can be told what to do. Yes, the first call may take longer than anticipated, but then all future calls can get faster – all without any training on how users actually use the phone.
4. No Literacy Issues
As long as operators know the recipient’s language, they can communicate. Recipients don’t need to be able to read the major language – or any language at all. Nor do they need much device literacy – just pick up the phone and talk.
5. Instant Data Syncing
Data is instantly available once the operator keys it in. You don’t need to wait for the recipient to type in the data, find an Internet connection, upload and sync, and then test data upload validity. You only have one data input point, and they (operator) is already online.
6. Global Portability
Of course, you’d want to launch the call center in the same country as your project, if only for logistics and language convenience, but if something happened in that country, you could move your operators to anywhere else, globally, and still keep calling your recipients.
7. A Human Touch
Last but not least, call centers do provide something that cannot be replaced by machines – a human touch. In fact, the person who mentioned call centers in the meeting pointed out that their initial calls were lasting 30 minutes longer than expected. Why? Recipients were so excited to get a phone call from the capital city! It was proof that someone did care about their work.
And that’s the best benefit of all. In an age where we expect robo calls and automated SMS, a real human’s voice, asking about the project progress and outcomes, is still a major event in field staff lives that should be celebrated.
The post 7 Reasons to Use Call Centers for Data Collection appeared first on ICTworks.