Customer Satisfaction Surveys: The 2 Biggest Sampling Errors

How to avoid the 2 biggest errors in customer satisfaction survey sampling.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Sampling Error #1:
Non-Response Bias

Just because you openly invite all customers to take your survey does not mean that you have a random sample. And the difference between an open invite and randomized responses is critical because satisfied customers are more likely than neutral or dissatisfied customers to complete your survey. Similarly, you are more apt to hear from repeat customers than one-time customers, yet customers who aren't coming back may have more useful feedback.

Solution: Here's how you can broaden representation with your customer satisfaction survey:

  • Start by dividing your customer database into categories. For example, you might include categories such as: current most-profitable customers, current less profitable customers, lapsed customers, long-gone customers, etc.

  • For each customer category, determine how many customers you need to survey to achieve a reasonable confidence interval and error rate. Then randomly select customers from each category you want to test.

  • Proactively contact the categories you selected in the above step for customer feedback. You may need to use an incentive to get customers to take your survey. Test different types of incentives, but make sure they are not directly related to your products or services because then only people still interested in your product will be motivated to answer your survey.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Sampling Error #2:
The Medium Controls the Audience

Are you offering your customer satisfaction survey online? Through an IVR? In the Mail? Through Email? Via Mobile? How you provide your customer satisfaction survey has a huge impact on who takes it.

Solution: Here are a few ways to increase your customer satisfaction survey response rate:

  • Tell customers you have a short survey and then keep good on the promise. Only ask a few customer feedback questions.

  • In all likelihood, your survey is web-based; this provides you with lots of delivery options. Set up your customer satisfaction survey so that customers can dial an 800 number, visit a URL or use their mobile to text their answers. The more options you offer, the more respondents you’ll get.

  • Be willing to take survey responses in the way that customers want to give them. For example, if you email your customers with a link to your survey, tell customers that if they prefer, they can reply to the invitation with what they thought about their experience. Or, ask if they would like to be called so that someone can take down their comments. Your creative customers may resist multiple choice questions and the usual ‘transactional’ survey style, so encourage your customers to give their two cents regardless of how they want to provide their answers.


Learn More: find out how to avoid the 5 most common customer satisfaction survey biases.

For free, find out if your sample has biases with a Satisfaction Survey Evaluation from Interaction Metrics. We’ll analyze your survey for biases and flaws. If we find problems, we’ll make recommendations.

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