“The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth” – Getting Accurate Feedback from Customers

Interactions between people are heavily influenced by who the participants in the conversation are. For example, you wouldn’t go around sharing stories about the wild party you attended last night with every person who asks how you are doing. Among friends, you might reveal the particularly embarrassing moments, and yet you could limit the response to just, “it was a long night,” when talking to somebody you don’t know that well, even if it misleads them into thinking it was a night spent at your desk at work.

The same holds true when trying to gather customer feedback from telephone surveys. According to what is known as the Social Attribution Model, responses may alter depending on the race and gender of both the interviewer and interviewee and the social distance inferred between them.

Conducting surveys via SMS solves this issue, making it possible to avoid interviewer bias and invite truer and ultimately more accurate customer responses. The Institute for Social Research discovered that people are more open about sensitive subjects in text messages compared to telephone interviews.

Apart from the elimination of interviewer bias, lack of urgency and time constraints are also factors that make text message surveys more accurate. Unlike phone conversations, SMS surveys do not require an instant response and thus give people time to think their answers through before responding. Interestingly, the candidness of SMS survey responses remains high even in situations where respondents are busy or distracted.

The “trueness” of SMS customer feedback is hence evident. Still, the selection criteria for the most appropriate survey communication channel go far beyond one simple variable. That is why at NICE, we adopt a multichannel methodology – because, when gathering direct customer feedback, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all channel.

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