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Improving the Effectiveness of Interviewer Administered Surveys though Refusal Avoidance Training. Grace E. O’Neill Presented by Anne Russell U.S. Census Bureau ICES-III - June 19, 2007. Outline of Presentation. Background Respondent focus groups Refusal avoidance training

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improving the effectiveness of interviewer administered surveys though refusal avoidance training

Improving the Effectiveness of Interviewer Administered Surveys though Refusal Avoidance Training

Grace E. O’Neill

Presented by Anne Russell

U.S. Census Bureau

ICES-III - June 19, 2007

outline of presentation
Outline of Presentation
  • Background
  • Respondent focus groups
  • Refusal avoidance training
  • Training content
  • Discussion
  • Future developments
respondent contact staff
Respondent contact staff
  • Interviewers: outgoing calls to gain cooperation and to gather data
  • Clerks: incoming calls to provide basic information and resend forms
  • Analysts: professional staff who place outgoing calls concerning data errors or nonresponse follow-up
respondent contact training
Respondent contact training
  • Interviewers: Centralized training on telephone skills and refusal avoidance and conversion
  • Clerks: Shadow experienced clerks with informal discussion
  • Analysts: Basic training on respondent contact techniques
why clerks
Why clerks?
  • Self-administered paper/ electronic forms
  • Establishment respondents need less encouragement to participate
  • Nature of telephone calls
however
However…
  • Over time, the role of the clerk has evolved into the role of an interviewer
  • Less cooperative respondents
  • More data collected over the telephone
  • More nonresponse follow-up telephone calls
  • Yet, their training has not evolved
focus groups
Focus Groups
  • Monthly Trade Surveys
  • Wholesale and retail firms
  • Conducted by outside firm
  • Six focus groups, 44 participants
  • Respondent’s views and impressions
  • Ways to improve survey
focus groups10
Focus Groups
  • Finding
  • Inexperienced clerks needed skills to increase participation by respondents, especially on voluntary surveys
  • Solution
  • Refusal avoidance training
refusal avoidance training12
Refusal Avoidance Training
  • Groves and McGonagle (2001)
    • Assemble respondent concerns
    • Develop responses
    • Train interviewers to classify concerns
    • Train interviewers to provide quick and appropriate responses
refusal avoidance training13
Refusal Avoidance Training
  • Interactive
  • Cooperative learning
  • Flexible
  • Survey specific
  • Provides telephone skills, refusal avoidance techniques, and improves communication
training specifics
Training specifics
  • Monthly Trade Surveys (MTS) and Quarterly Services Survey (QSS)
  • 43 MTS clerks, 14 QSS clerks
  • Mix of tenure and survey experience
  • Supervisor and survey manager involvement
  • Eight hours over two days
training preparation
Training Preparation
  • Adapt household- based training to establishment-based survey
  • Adapt training to the MTS or QSS
  • Identify respondent concerns and develop solutions
  • FAQ Job Aid
refusal avoidance training modules
Refusal avoidance training modules
  • Module 1: Introduction
  • Module 2: Survey Specific
  • Module 3: Shared Experience
  • Module 4: Preparing a Telephone Call
  • Module 5: Telephone Skills
  • Module 6: Identify, Analyzing, and Dealing with Reluctance and Refusal
  • Module 7: Recovering from Negative Calls
  • Module 8: Wrap-up and Evaluation
module 1
Module 1
  • Introduction
  • Introduces training to clerks
  • Introduces the trainer and clerks to each other
  • Provides training schedule
module 2
Module 2
  • Survey Specific
  • Introduces survey specific content
  • Conducted by survey manager or survey staff
module 3
Module 3
  • Shared Experience
  • Identify clerks’ biggest concerns and difficulties
  • Develops solutions
  • Concerns are used in a later module
module 3 example
Module 3 example
  • Trainer: “What are some of the things respondents say when you talk to them?”
  • Clerks: “Why should I do this,” “I’m not a wholesaler” etc.
  • Group: Identify appropriate responses
  • Trainer: Make sure identified concerns are addressed and adds new concerns to list
module 4
Module 4
  • Preparing for the Telephone Call
  • Asks clerks how they prepare for telephone calls
  • Assess what tools clerks use to find information about company and what tools they might need
module 5
Module 5
  • Telephone Skills
  • Assess clerks active listening skills
  • Discuss tone
  • Discuss mechanics of placing a telephone call
module 6
Module 6
  • Identifying, Analyzing and Dealing with Reluctance and Refusal
  • Classify concerns identified in Module 3 as reluctance and/ or refusal
  • Further discuss solutions
  • Paired practice during class
  • Reviewed updated FAQ Job Aid
module 7
Module 7
  • Recovering from Negative Calls
  • Discusses recovering from refusals and other negative calls
  • Helps clerks to evaluate negative experiences
module 8
Module 8
  • Wrap-up and Evaluation
  • Review main training points
  • Clarify any remaining concerns
  • Evaluations by clerks
results28
Results
  • Clerk evaluation
  • Usefulness of workshop
  • Usefulness of skills learned
  • Increased confidence, preparation, and communication
results29
Results
  • Response rates
  • Caveats:
  • Not experimentally tested
  • Confounded by other survey conditions
  • Don’t know how many potential refusals clerks prevented
results mts
Results: MTS
  • Initially lower from previous response period
  • Loss of clerks
  • Misclassification of refusals
results mts31
Results: MTS
  • Over time
  • Good response rates, decrease in wholesale refusals
  • Continued improvement
  • Clerks have more responsibilities
results qss
Results: QSS
  • Decline in response rates
  • Imputation remained stable
    • More companies refused
    • Larger companies continued to report
results qss33
Results: QSS
  • Communication has improved
    • Clerks are open about sharing concerns with survey managers
    • Bi-weekly telephone calls with call center
  • Annual refresher training
benefits
Benefits
  • Centralized dissemination of skills and information
  • Practice occurs in a test environment
  • Provides training at regular intervals
  • Proactive training instead of reactive training
benefits36
Benefits
  • Communication between clerks, supervisors, and survey managers
  • Clerks feel invested in data collection process
  • Survey managers gain direct insight into data collection process
costs
Costs
  • Staff time writing and delivering training
  • Telephone coverage
  • Monetary cost of training
  • Difficult to provide conclusive evidence
future developments39
Future Developments
  • Formalized process for clerk training
  • Data capture of call concerns
  • Follow-up evaluation by clerks
  • Analyst training
thank you
Thank You
  • Please feel free to contact the author at:
  • Grace E. O’Neill
  • Email: grace.e.oneill@census.gov
  • Phone: 301-763-3537