Pros and Cons of Telephone and In-Person Statements
Statements and interviews are a crucial investigative process in the claims industry. Investigators at ICU Investigations find that time is of the essence when it pertains to conducting a statement post-accident, incident, or injury for obvious reasons. But where the process varies lies in how they are conducted; whether by phone or in-person. Which is more effective?
Here is a list highlighting the Pros and Cons of both in-person and telephone statements:
Showing up unannounced to record a statement allows the interviewee to RECALL the events as they happened, as opposed to THINKING about them.
Interviewees are likely to get a sense of comfort when putting a face to a name.
The opportunity to build rapport is presented, feeding into the comfort aspect.
Investigators are more likely to detect deceit by utilizing body language, eye contact, etc.
Interviewees can be uncooperative. People are less likely to open their doors in this day and age, and are not always keen on talking to investigators or authority figures.
There is always a possibility that the subject of the statement isn’t home, has moved, or simply hasn’t honored the appointment (if one was scheduled).
Efficient, less resource and time-consuming.
Investigative proprietary databases, social media, and other sources can reveal multiple possible phone numbers for the subject. So, if one is incorrect and/or disconnected, on to the next!
The ability to make an extensive amount of phone calls in one day, following as many leads as possible, which would be otherwise impossible to accomplish in the field in one day.
We are not limited to just New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware! Phone interviews can be conducted nationwide!
Today’s reality is, it is very rare that people pick up their home (or cell) phones from a blocked number and/or a number that they don’t know.
Telephone numbers are not always accurate. If the subject has moved and hasn’t changed and published their number, it may prove more difficult to get in touch.
The comfort and rapport just isn’t there. Without building that, the subject may be less likely to share anything and everything that they recall from the incident. Which leads us back to an in-person statement. If the subject appears closed off, we can take this time to schedule an in-person statement at a later date!
So, which is more effective, and which do we as investigators recommend after 20 years in the claims investigation industry?
We will always recommend an in-person statement unless otherwise out of reach, because of its effectiveness. There is more to be gained! However, we always tailor each investigation to its individual needs, and multiple approaches are often used to obtain the information you are ultimately searching for.