Top retailers are asking long, terrible questions about customer satisfaction that no one wants to answer

Do you ever spend your hard-earned time and effort answering questions from stores you frequent? It turns out those may be useless.

Most consumer questionnaires are “garbage” that waste your time and retailers’ by asking leading questions, a new study says. Out of 65 stores’ surveys analyzed in InterAction’s Customer Listening Study, the average score was a 43 percent: a total failure.

“Customer surveys are a billion-dollar industry, and this study highlights how easy and common it is to produce a flawed survey,” the study concludes.

Out of all the stores that were part of the study, only 7-Eleven scored a B with an 85. Three stores had zeros because their survey links were broken (Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and Ross) and three stores had negative grades: Walmart, Gap, and Family Dollar.

These bad surveys waste consumers’ time, but the study also points out they may be wasting a lot of company money.

“Information accuracy matters because poor data can lead a company to believe things are fine when they aren’t, or to invest in unnecessary programs,” the study says. “Good data captures accurate facts about how companies are performing from the customer’s point of view.”

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It turns out that most of the nation’s largest retailers send out faulty surveys to consumers. Ninety-two percent of surveys had at least one question that was leading. For example, the study shows that 59 percent of Ace Hardware questions were leading, like this one: How satisfied were you with the speed of our checkout? 

Similarly, 82 percent of surveys used forced wording that biased customer responses. For example: The look and feel of the store environment was very appealing. Thirty-two percent of GAP’s questions used forced wording like this.

The number of survey questions also played an important role in the study. InterAction says that the average number of questions per survey was 23. AT&T had four questions while Family Dollar had a whopping 69. 7-Eleven had 13 questions, but all the questions were objective and avoided putting words into consumers’ mouths, making it the best survey among the studied retailers.

“No one survey was fully engaging and scientific,” the study says. “One was decent, 12 were of poor quality, and the majority were garbage — not worth the time they took to complete. Only a few succeed at capturing quality information.”

To get all the surveys, InterAction made in-store or online purchases at every retailer listed. Of the 65 companies studied, only 13 had a passing grade. Of those, seven companies had Ds, five had Cs, and just one scored a B.

A good read on consumer opinion should be more valuable than usual during the holiday shopping season, which started earlier than ever this year. In fact, many Americans were itching to go holiday shopping before Black Friday even arrived.

Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

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Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Lifestyle, News

business, statistics, time management

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Article last modified on June 20, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Study Says: Surveys Suck - AMP.