Study: Point-of-purchase surveys are ineffective and poorly constructed

by | Aug 7, 2017 | Public Relations

How much value are retailers and brands getting from customer satisfaction surveys? New research from customer experience analysts at Interaction Metrics suggests that the value amounts to a great big goose egg. The firm’s poll found leading questions and excessively long surveys to be among the most frequent errors. In addition, most surveys were difficult to use and failed to encourage customers to share their candid feedback.

In the first study of its kind, Interaction Metrics examined the point-of-purchase surveys for 51 of the largest retailers—companies like Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and Walmart. The study found that 96 percent of these retailers run point-of purchase (customer satisfaction) surveysand 98 percent of the surveys were useless or poor.

The most common problems were: biased questions, and a failure to engage with customers and show customer listening.

A few of the specific findings included:

  • With 23 questions on average, the surveys were excessively long.
  • 32 percent of all questions were leading—they prompted customers to give a positive answer.
  • 7-Eleven had the best survey—it was just 13 questions, none of which were leading, irrelevant, or used forced wording. In addition, 7-Eleven’s satisfaction survey was customized to the customer’s feedback, whether that was a complaint, compliment or question.

Point-of-purchase surveys are ineffective and poorly constructed

“To get value from their surveys, the largest retailers need to strengthen their survey science—and show they are interested in listening to their customers and finding out about the experiences they had,” said Martha Brooke, chief analyst and founder of Interaction Metrics, in a news release.

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

The retailers selected for the Point-of-Purchase Survey Study were the top retailers by 2015 sales volume as determined by the National Retail Federation, omitting supermarkets and membership stores. The surveys were collected between June 23 and July 27, 2016. Interaction Metrics was able to evaluate the surveys for 41 of the 51 retailers: 2 didn’t run a survey and 8 administered their survey randomly, and the Interaction Metrics’ shopper was not among those randomly chosen.

Read the complete report here.

While Interaction Metrics is in the business of providing scientific customer satisfaction surveys, making them qualified to evaluate these surveys, this is an independent study—neither Interaction Metrics nor its employees have ties (financial or otherwise) to the retailers in this study.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter