Welcome back to engageSPARK’s Sparking Interest, where we dive deep into the latest stories, insights, and innovations that matter to your communication projects.

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“Ugh, Robocalls!”

In our last newsletter, we mentioned the talk that our CEO –Avner– gave at the ICT4D conference in Ghana: “Robocalls” Is a Dirty Word, But Should It Be? A Deep Dive into R4D: Robocalls for Development”

Some highlights we wanted to share with you:

  • Unlike common belief among western populations, in low-and middle-income countries, people WILL pick up the phone when they get a call from an unknown number.
  • Iterating is critical for reducing costs and understanding what questions are necessary or superfluous in your engagement​.
  • Self-service platforms allows for making changes on the fly as circumstances change in real-time​.

You can learn more about case studies, how we’re leveraging AI, and interesting findings when it comes to IVRs (aka Robocalls) by checking the entire talk.

AI for the real world.

When someone answers a survey question in a way that doesn’t exactly match the given options, it’s really important to figure out what they meant. This is primarily relevant for SMS where someone can’t tap a response from a menu of choices like they could on an online survey or a WhatsApp survey.

A very simple example might be, “Which of these ice cream flavors do you like best? Reply 1 for vanilla, 2 for chocolate, 3 for strawberry.”

The user replies, “Strawberry is very nice, but vanilla is heaven.” Correctly assessing that vanilla is the response (and all that that entails: skip logic, relevant follow-up questions, etc.) is the magic sauce here.

Why is this so important? One key reason is that drop-offs in surveys often happen because of additional friction added when a bad response comes in (e.g., an error message asking them to correct their answer).


How 60 Decibels is able to conduct research in countries where it has no local presence.

60 Decibels harnesses the power of over 1,000 researchers in 80+ countries, speaking 200+ languages, to measure the social impact of businesses and NGOs globally.

When research extends beyond their network, they partner with engageSPARK’s CATI survey platform, utilizing interviewers from linguistically aligned countries for broader data collection. This collaboration ensures privacy protection and increases trust and engagement through local number communication.

The efficiency of 60 Decibels’ approach is amplified by engageSPARK’s platform, which sends automated ‘thank you’ messages post-interview and, occasionally, incentives or follow-up surveys. This method combines technology with local insight to collect meaningful social impact data efficiently.

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