When customers visit our store, online or in person, it is an opportunity to borrow a little bit of their time and gather some feedback about our products and services. The intercept survey is a tool that can be used for this purpose. Most of us have perhaps come across one of these surveys while browsing online or walking across a shopping mall. Intercept surveys give us an excellent inexpensive opportunity to ask questions of our clients right at the point of purchase. For the customer, it is a chance to offer suggestions or express their appreciation for a pleasant experience.
What is it?
When conducted online, it is a pop-up survey designed to intercept the online visitor and ask them to answer a few questions after they browse around your website or online store. When conducted offline, it is a survey that is manually administered using a tablet or a paper based questionnaire. The survey can ask anything that you may be interested in answering, although often the goal is to measure and analyze your customer's satisfaction with your products or services. This is also a great opportunity to gather basic customer demographics, such as age, gender and marital status.
When can it be used?
An intercept survey is very flexible and can be customized for a variety situations. They can be used to test usability issues immediately after a website launch, identify possible avenues of improvement prior to making product modifications or a store renovation and to collect demographic information regarding customers.
What are the key advantages and disadvantages?
Some of the key advantages of conducting an intercept survey are as follows:
- Intercept surveys tend to be cost effective as the respondents are approached at the point of sale, which is either the online or offline store, so they do not need to be recruited separately.
- The customer's experience tends to be fresh in their memory and this is likely to improve the quality of feedback that they provide.
- Due to the presence of the researcher intercept surveys force the respondent to complete the survey at one attempt, whether they choose to answer all the questions or not. This also enhances the quality of feedback, as they are less likely to get distracted while answering the survey.
There are certain disadvantages of intercept surveys and these should be minimized if possible:
- There is a likelihood of self-selection bias in an intercept survey, as only a certain type of respondents might agree to take the survey. So, the researcher should ensure that survey respondents include a good mix from the target audience. If this mix is not achieved then intercept surveys can be unrepresentative of the entire consumer base.
- Since a respondent is intercepted while they are on their online or offline path, the researcher cannot expect them to spend too much time taking the survey. Thus, the researcher should make an effort to limit the length of the survey when approaching a customer at an online or offline store.
- Third, the researcher's presence might make the respondent uncomfortable and this can be a barrier to them providing honest and thoughtful answers. To reduce discomfort, respondents should be given the option to skip questions and researchers should maintain a physical distance from the respondent.
So ask yourself what you want to learn from your customers and create questions that can be compiled into an intercept survey. Don't make it too long or personal and ask the important questions first as respondents are most likely to answer these. Also, keep a tab on the demographic profile of your respondents and attempt to get a mix like you would expect in your target audience. Finally, do not be surprised if your intercept survey findings change some of your assumptions about your clients and business.