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Study reveals top retailers waste time with flawed surveys

In the first study of its kind, a customer satisfaction survey of 51 top US retailers finds that retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart waste customers’ time—and their own—with critically flawed surveys. The study was conducted by industry research institution Interaction Metrics.

According to the study, 7-Eleven had the best survey—it was 13 questions, none of which were leading or used biased wording. While Family Dollar had the worst customer survey—it had 69 questions, 29 of which were leading. Nordstrom, the retailer most known for customer service, stated its survey would take 2 minutes—but with 25 questions, it took 4-5 minutes.

Retailers issue millions of customer satisfaction surveys each day, raising the question of whether these surveys are worth the paper they’re written on. The top two problems: retailers collect inaccurate data, and they fail to show active customer listening. Based on an objective evaluation of 15 elements, the surveys scored 43 out of 100 points, an F grade. With 23 questions on average, the surveys were found to be excessively long.  32% of all questions lead customers to give answers that companies want to hear.

Martha Brooke, Chief Analyst and Founder of Interaction Metrics, concludes: “To get real value from their customer satisfaction surveys, retailers need to strengthen their survey science—and take a creative approach to showing customers they care.”

This study highlights how easy it is to produce a flawed survey. The findings should be considered by any company with a customer listening program.

The retailers selected for the 2016 Customer Listening Study were the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) top retailers, omitting supermarkets and membership stores. Surveys were collected between June 23 and July 27, 2016.

Request the company data from Interaction Metrics Analyst, Eleanor Parmentier:

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