Why Web Based Consumer Survey May Not Work & Hybrid Survey May Work!

Twenty LYS Survey

                                            Benefits of Hybrid Survey


A consumer survey can help identify a customer’s likes, dislikes, and other important feedback regarding the service that has been offered. The results of a hybrid consumer survey, therefore, provides a business with an opportunity to make improvements in the service, as well as focus the services around the consumers, which in turn leads to growth of the consumer, and hence the service.   Essential questions such as; how well are the employees doing on client services? Is there anything at all about the business or customer service that turns off the customers? How well are the growing desires of the customers perceived and what are the trends? , and, hundreds of additional queries may be answered in just one survey questionnaire. The critical question is; is there an alternative and more efficient survey method than the traditional offline or web based or deferred surveys such as cold calling “Phone” surveys and lengthy form fill up surveys? How many web based surveys come from consumers that are actually useful to drive the anticipated changes, and how many cold calls get positive response even when they are for an honest cause?

Web-based survey methodologies have become the most advanced and the most popular in the twentieth century. However, experienced survey analysts and business owners believe otherwise. There are various reasons why web based surveys may not be very effective for businesses that are looking for truthful feedback from their existing and budding consumers. Some outstanding reasons:

1. The results sample pulled from web based sources may not represent the facts that would help identify the service caveats

2. Response rates from web based surveys are generally low. This limits the overall sample size and the data collected may not always be a useful representative sample.

3. Web based surveys don’t drive service recovery actions

4. Most customers/consumers dislike filling up long forms with too many irrelevant questions

5. Web based surveys are a snapshot in time

These are all legitimate points. Therefore, to obtain a meaningful result from a customer survey, the objective of the survey should be clearly defined, and an efficient real-time survey should be carried out. Once the survey is complete, the analytical results obtained from the data should be used within the data boundary. Most important, once the real-time customer survey analysis is on hand, actions based on the feedback should be implemented to drive changes immediately.

In addition to the above list, the data content itself is also one of the most important factors to consider in a consumer survey. Following are two most important points to consider during a consumer survey data collection and analysis process.

1. Data integrity issues

2. Identifiable personal data issues

Traditional consumer survey methods are becoming less popular because of the various drawbacks in the survey process. Normally, people feel detached or less motivated to contribute their time when someone calls around 6.30pm or on a weekend for a survey or sends a form to get filled up. Whether the survey gets filled up or not depends on many factors including but not limited to an individual’s personality, the state of mind, interest, fill up methods, environment/situation, time needed to complete the form/answer phone, data integrity, identifiable personal data, ambiguous questions, hour of the day and so on.

In our opinion, one of the major reasons for such survey approaches to receive low response rates, is the decline in consumer interest. Therefore, the real question that one needs to answer from consumers is; ‘why should someone spend the time and effort to fill up these forms and for what reasons?’

As most of the traditional surveys take around ten to twenty minutes to fill up completely, the second major reason for obtaining low survey response rates is the TIME that takes to fill up survey forms.  Ten minutes is a long time interval (let’s not discuss about twenty here) to fill up not so interesting forms, attempting to recollect what had happened in the past or in the recent past.

In general, deferred or web based survey gets unacceptably low response rates, which renders much of the effort in administration a waste of time and resources. Same faith takes place for phone survey. Phone surveys hardly get high enough response rates to validate their legitimacy. In fact, surveys   are designed to receive feedback from consumers, and, therefore, the response rate is the key to show people’s sentiments.

So what are the solutions, if any? There are probably several solutions, however the foremost should be targeting the WHY question(s) and amount of TIME involved filling up survey questionnaire. Addressing these two sensitive issues properly normally resolve most of the consumer reservations. Giving consumer a reason or two to fill up a short and attractive (psychology matters here) form which should not take more than 2 minutes either by paper, in person or on-line (web, app, email, twitter, etc) or simply by utilizing hybrid survey methods is more likely to receive higher response rates. A hybrid survey is a method that utilizes consumer specific approach to get their feedback offering them their preferences. In addition, questions, clarity, data integrity, and other vital survey basics should be properly addressed in hybrid surveys.

In reality, a hybrid survey method may be the most advanced and effective method of survey. Real-time hybrid survey methods normally are much faster to get consumer feedback within a reasonable time frame compared to any other single method.

A higher consumer feedback does not come without paying some tolls, and, one of these is higher resource utilization. In addition, a hybrid method is best utilized on physical locations, and therefore, it often faces issues when launching for businesses that have only an online only presence. In most cases, subsequent questionnaire may be needed for further and detailed studies. This means that one needs to make a prudent judgment when choosing the right expertise that can craft  an independent or hybrid real-time survey methodology, efficiently and cost-effectively.

One of the hybrid survey users: Scooter Express, Waldorf, MD state that, after utilizing a hybrid consumer survey method their customer’s response rate jumped by at least 10 X. Not only this, their survey analysis team helped them even eliminate the location bias from the output, eventually leading into very good results.

However, traditional web based surveys are a valuable tool in certain applications such as institutional research, or when it is not possible to capture consumer feedback in real-time. Sometimes a deferred survey method may be cost effective and useful when the response rate is not that of an important factor to generalize results. However, most statisticians consider response rate as one of the major factors in most if not all survey methods.

In Summary, customer satisfaction survey is not a bunch of really good questions that are placed in front of customers or float in the web. Survey methods play a vital role to get healthy responses. Healthy responses not only produce good outcome but also saves time and valuable resources for the company. Without doubt, good results promote current company directions and anticipate future changes.

Authors: Ajaya Upadhyay, Nishi Sharma

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