(BPT) - The scene is all too familiar: you’re in the middle of dinner and suddenly a telemarketer’s call or dead air on the end of the line rudely interrupts your meal. Thanks to the FCC, this approach is gradually becoming a thing of the past. On June 18, 2015, the FCC adopted a proposal that will eventually lead to the demise of those unwanted calls. But due to increased regulation, privacy concerns and people just not answering their phones, the market research industry is now taking a new approach to gathering data.
Each month callers make approximately 5 billion misdialed, incomplete, disconnected or inbound calls (known as MIDI calls) to phone numbers that are not currently in use by any other business. As discussed in a recent CNBC article, these MIDI calls provide market research firms with a new way to conduct market research with consumers.
“At any given time we have hundreds of thousands of numbers not in use but receiving MIDI calls,” says Scott Richards, CEO of Reconnect Research, a subsidiary of Dial800 — a company that has connected consumers with companies for the last 25 years. Richards says that Reconnect Research is gathering information via MIDI calls that could provide valuable information to the general public. “For example, if an infectious disease breaks out, within hours we can find out if people are sick and pass that information along to the appropriate authorities.”
MIDI calls also put an end to the dreaded “robocall” that interrupts your dinner. If you dial a number and reach a survey instead, you always have the option of hanging up. You’re the one in control and it doesn’t become a disturbance in your day. Initial case studies of MIDI call surveys show that the quality of the data collected is on par with traditional research firms and they also show large participation rates. People seem to be open to being part of market research surveys when they’re given the option of participating.
Market research firms, consumers and telecom carriers alike all benefit from MIDI calls. Market research firms can quickly, accurately and cost effectively conduct phone surveys, consumers can have their voices heard and get incentives, such as gift cards to restaurants and retailers, and telecom carriers can make — rather than lose — billions of MIDI calls. MIDI calls actually cost carriers millions of dollars, so being able to utilize them for market research is a win-win situation.
So the next time you find yourself accidentally making a MIDI call, pay attention to what happens on the other end of the line. You could be playing a crucial role in the end of invasive and inconvenient robo-calls and have the opportunity to contribute valuable information to the public conversation. For more information, visit reconnectresearch.com.
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