Interviewer’s Approach to Telephone Surveying

The approach to telephone surveying is the same as a good conversation – good energy, clear dialogue, and interested/focused individuals.

As interviewers, we need to ensure that the respondents feel like they’re having a good conversation while they’re being interviewed. Otherwise, we’re subjecting them to an unpleasant experience which will result in an incomplete interview and might even reaffirm their disinterest in responding to opinion polls.

Though interviewers have no control over the survey’s script, we can control how that script or dialogue is presented. Therefore, when we read the script, we have to humanize it and make it easy to listen to and digest.

We must sound and act friendly, smart, and confident; which translates to being courteous and well-prepared with answers to any questions the respondent may have. We must also appreciate the time the respondent shares with us, and sound appreciative of their generosity. (It also helps to have some interest in their opinion.)

The same way it sounds and feels when we have a pleasant conversation with a friend, listen to a story from a narrator, or easily understand important news from the news anchor, the respondent should experience our interview – an enjoyable experience where information and opinions are exchanged.

No matter what, the interviewer is responsible for leading the conversation and recreating a pleasant experience for respondents.

Making Cold Calls

Cold calls are generally powered by dialing software. That software sends the calls over to human agents once they’re answered. When phone calls are about to get served, a warning beep is played.

Interviewers seeking to perfect the cold call need to be prepared at all times. Once a call is served, all attention must be focused on the phone call.


We must know exactly what to say, why we’re calling, and what to expect – including questions we may get asked and answers to those questions.

Any stuttering or hesitation on our part could be enough to discourage folks from taking the phone call.

Confidence gets us the girl, and the survey.

If we have to ask for someone in particular, we should look at the name and make sure we know how to pronounce it before the call is answered.

Utmost Professionalism

The utmost professional answers calls promptly, introduces him/herself, explains why they’re calling, then naturally moves on to the call’s business.

This seems obvious, but it’s incredible how many agents don’t practice proper phone etiquette.

Demeanor and Voice Quality

Attitude matters.

When cold calling, we must sound interested in what we’re doing and in the people we’re calling. We must act and sound friendly, yet professional. We must also make sure to employ a good level of energy since lack of energy rarely attracts cooperation.

Stay Strong Against Negativity

It may be difficult, but we also have to make sure to end all calls amicably, even when we’re speaking with someone who is being rude or disrespectful.

We don’t know what kind of day folks are having, what we’ve interrupted, or how many cold calls they have to deal with on any given day. Keep empathy nearby.

Pitfalls When Cold Calling

Answering Calls with “Hello?”

For a better chance at success, we should avoid checking which language the person speaks, or checking to see if there’s someone on the line before introducing ourselves. It makes us, the caller, sound like we’re distracted, unprepared, uninterested, and unprofessional.

We must begin introducing ourselves the moment we get a call, regardless of whether we know someone is on the line or not, and regardless whether we think they’re interested or not.

Assuming every call is answered by a live person usually results in higher production, despite the fact that it may be annoying to find out that no one is on the line or that we’ve been speaking to an answering machine.

Answering calls with the scripted introduction helps avoid wasted opportunities.

Being Too Polite

We should also avoid asking people how they’re doing when we’re answering a call.

Asking folks how they’re doing without giving them a chance to answer is rude, and asking strangers how they’re doing breeds more confusion than cooperation.

Remember that we have a very limited amount of time to introduce ourselves, explain why we’re calling, and convince people to take the call. For best results, do this as professional as possible.