Is There Value in Surveying Your Customers Online?
Psychologists have shown that simply asking someone what they like and dislike about a product before rating it changes their preferences across products. The question order, choice of answers presented and the way in which options are described have a huge impact on response. In one independently conducted survey by two companies that I analyzed, the difference was 60 percent.
Of course the vast majority of online retailers track their website analytical data very closely. The problem comes when such real-world data is expected to share a stage in the boardroom with the data from surveys and focus groups. The two sources appear very similar in a report, and the statistics have a solidity to them that feels tangible. However, the psychological validity of each is worlds apart. And whereas one is captured without disturbing your customers, the other in all likelihood does nothing to enhance the appeal of visiting your site again.
Philip Graves is the author of "Consumer.ology: The Market Research Myth, the Truth about Consumers, and the Psychology of Shopping." Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.