Data Solutions

Survey design: getting back to a good conversation

A lot of researchers have already studied the measurement effect: essentially, the notion that, by asking someone’s opinion, you are not only acquiring information, but also influencing the opinion itself.

One quick example: in 2003, Vicki Morwitz, Professor of Marketing at New York University Stern School of Business, designed an experiment to test how a specific measurement tool (surveys) could influence the long-term purchasing behavior of customers from a major financial services company in the US. "A year after the survey was conducted, the customers we surveyed were more than three times as likely to have opened accounts, were less than half as likely to have defected, and were more profitable than the customers that hadn’t been surveyed."

She offered a number of explanations. The simplest answer is that satisfaction surveys appeal to customers’ desire to be coddled, reinforcing positive feelings they may already have about the surveying organization and making them more likely to buy its products 

This is just the measurement effect. Of course, the greatest advantage of using surveys is that companies can use the information gathered to adjust their offering.


You talk when you survey 

This situation is analogous to interpersonal relationships: online social networks were supposed to connect people more by encouraging them to develop more and better relationships. But because it’s so easy to connect, people started caring less about who they connected with. As a result, we see more superficial conversations, as though people have forgotten how to talk—they have no reason to remember. If one conversation doesn’t work, just swipe right and start another. Needless to say, this can lead to a lot of frustration. 

The same seems to be true of business connections. Many companies have forgotten how to talk to customers: they annoy their customers with dull surveys and forget the basic rules of nice conversation. 

How can we help you?

At Netquest, we offer an integral survey programming service for professional researchers.


The essentials of online data collection

Download ebook

7 steps to follow for online data collection

Read article