4 Types of Survey Bias and How to Handle Them

Minimize survey bias from affecting your results by knowing how to create a customer survey and implementing the simple suggestions listed above.

Customer satisfaction surveys are a valuable feedback tool as they provide information on how your customer feels, help make changes in your business and reinforce strong customer relationships, as well as loyalty. However, preparing and performing surveys has its own challenges that you need to understand to get the most accurate results and avoid a common survey problem known as survey bias.

Essentially, survey bias involves swaying or encouraging your customers to respond to your questions in one way, or to lean towards one specific answer over all others that are offered. It might give you the answers you want, but not the answers you need to actually improve your customer support, as well as the rest of your organization.

Collating the right information in order to be able to implement improvements across the board requires eliminating or minimizing bias in your surveys. If you’re able to collect relevant, genuine customer feedback, you can spot performance issues in every department in your business and ensure optimal quality management.

Understanding the most common types of survey bias and knowing how to handle them can ensure your surveys’ integrity and allow you to collect various types of feedback with genuine results.

Sampling bias — it’s all about who you ask.

The purpose of most customer surveys is to get the collective opinion of a broad audience and to do this, you need to allow your survey to be viewed and completed by a diverse group. This helps you determine how your customers perceive your brand honestly, and how you can improve your service moving forward.

Examples of sampling bias

Unbiased sampling will also involve customers who might have had complaints and problems with your product, as well as those who haven’t given you a 5-star rating on your site. It will allow you a clear overview of how you can improve customer satisfaction over time.

How to handle sampling bias

Choose Different Communication Methods

Social networks such as Facebook or Twitter are a perfect source of collecting data from younger users who spend most of their time online and gladly engage with brands on social platforms. Limiting yourself to social only, on the other hand, is the perfect example of ensuring sampling bias.

That’s why you should also send out surveys or prompt your customers to fill out your surveys via email. Your subscribers already have a relationship with your business, so you can optimize your emails to deliver engaging, interactive surveys and entice your customers to fill them out. Well-crafted emails optimized for best performance are a great way to give your customers a chance to fill out your survey at their own pace.

Another way to offer surveys to your customers is via your own branded app, designed to maximize the use of personal digital data and get an in-depth understanding of the issues specific to that customer. If you implement any of the changes in how you provide your service based on the feedback provided through your app, you can notify your customers directly, to let them know how much you value their input.

Finally, if you receive customer calls regularly, your agents can evaluate a good moment during those conversations to offer the survey. Although most people today lead fast-paced lives, if you assure them the survey is simple and quick, they might be happy to accept. If you have a physical store, you can also offer survey sheets on-site.

Audience Diversity

Often delivering your survey to an opposing or non-targeted audience delivers the most valuable data to improve a situation.

Street and cold call surveying are traditional and trusted methods that help create audience diversity in your survey outcomes.

You might even discover a new opportunity to engage new leads and increase the interest in your brand.

Non-response bias — a survey is a participant lucky dip!

Why? Because of pure human nature — people who are either very unhappy or exceptionally happy with your service are most likely to accept participating in your survey. If they are too busy or the service was not that memorable, they are much more likely to refuse. If a disgruntled customer calls a credit card company and gets asked to complete the survey, they are much more likely to do so than a customer who faced no particular issues.

As a result, the cross-section of customers that do end up participating might not be representative of your actual customer pool and their average views of your brand.

How to handle non-response bias

Survey Timeframe

Repeating the survey after implementing some customer feedback can also help reduce this type of bias and provide you with additional data you can act on.

Survey Invite

Human response bias — the human factor is always present.

Your audience may be more agreeable at the time of surveying, which could prompt them to be more lenient with sharing their thoughts, despite having issues with your business.

What’s more, social desirability and conformity also affect how people form their survey responses. For example, if it’s socially preferred to recycle, they might be more inclined to somewhat distort their answers related to your brand’s recycling product.

They might imply that they use it more than they really do, which can in turn lead you to believe that you should focus more on that segment of your business.

How to handle human response bias


Survey Anonymity

Question Bias — getting the questions and the flow right!

Neutrality is vital for those involved in surveying, and whether writing, preparing, delivering, collecting or interpreting the survey, the individual or team mustn’t alter the given opinions or outcomes.

Being transparent and allowing customers to formulate their own opinions will help you improve customer interactions in the future, as well. Their genuine responses will be the basis for elevating the quality of your service or product, and not to mention customer satisfaction.

How to handle question bias

Short Questions

Question Flow

Surveying with minimal bias

So, be sure to prepare your surveys adequately, leaving out misleading questions and making sure it can be understood and performed by a wide demographic. Good luck and enjoy surveying your customers with minimal bias!



Improve your #custserv & #custexp with Nicereply - a customer satisfaction survey software, including CSAT, NPS & CES 2.0

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Improve your #custserv & #custexp with Nicereply - a customer satisfaction survey software, including CSAT, NPS & CES 2.0