The Los Angeles Times (Sunday, Feb 23, Business Section) describes me as “a vocal critic of survey culture.” Am I? Only sort of.

It’s true, I often see companies pestering their customers with biased surveys. It’s also true I see many companies gleaning grossly gamed data from their surveys.

But at the same time, when done well, I see surveys worth their weight in gold. More than half of my company’s business is about writing, managing and analyzing customer surveys, so of course, I believe in the discipline—just with the caveat that surveys should ask meaningful questions in impartial ways.

These are the three main reasons companies get bogus information from their surveys:

1) They haven’t strategized how to keep response bias at bay.
2) They treat surveys chiefly as software.
3) In the pursuit of benchmarking, they copy questions from other companies, whether those questions are relevant to their survey or not.

I’m currently doing a blog series on 20 Checks to Improve Your Surveys; you can get the first 3 checks here.

And thanks Tom Zoellner for interviewing me for your article, Customer Surveys Have Taken Over the World. It’s great to be quoted and I love sharing my observations!

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