The Edge: Competitive Edge Blog

Innovations at CERC

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Innovation should not be for big corporations alone. Competitive Edge has been at the forefront of many polling and research innovations over the years, including blended sampling, employing emailed surveys and our patent-pending MPower message-testing system. We know that our industry faces technologically-induced challenges, and we are up for tackling those challenges in smart ways.

So pollsters, listen up! Three new innovations are currently on CERC’s front burner.

After a lengthy six month evaluation process, Competitive Edge recently switched its long-distance phone lines from Spectrum to Verizon. Those Verizon lines will be managed by CCI Network Services, a leader in providing survey research firms with upscale telecommunications. Not only is the sound quality as good or better than what Spectrum could provide, CCI is much more nimble in responding to our service needs so any downtime is minimal. Also, costs are lower and we will pass that benefit on to our clients.

Competitive Edge has been methodically reassessing the way we handle certain types of calls. We do this periodically because, over time, technology changes how Americans interact with their phones. In this case, we tested various ways we could be handling a call when we encounter an answering machine. About 40% of the calls CERC places now go to answering machines or voicemail. Ultimately our evidence-based reassessment led us to reinstitute the human element in determining what is and is not an answering machine message. This means our calls will not have a substantial pause after the potential respondent says “hello.” It also means cooperation and data quality are enhanced, and production is increased.

Finally, Competitive Edge has been testing various approaches to using texting to conduct surveys. Our surveys are far too elaborate to engage in text-and-response data collection. That is when a question is texted to a respondent, the respondent replies to the text, the respondent is texted another question, the respondent replies, and so on. Instead, our tests focus on using texting to pre-notify respondents that a phone call will be coming from Competitive Edge, and an alternative method of sending a survey link to potential respondents via text. Early results have not revealed a winner, but we are confident that our methodical and diligent approach will yield results that improve our coverage.

All these innovations are designed to provide our clients with the best, most cost-effective, and highest quality data possible. You can be sure that Competitive Edge will not rest as we continue to deliver premium service.

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