CCG Look at Loyalty: How Marketers Should Evaluate Self-Reported Data

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Loyalty Agency Shares Guide and Data-Driven Steps to Engage Customers and Build Sales

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Even if customers complete the survey, questionnaire or rating scale, their answers may not accurately reflect their opinions, actions or intentions.

Customer Communications Group, (CCG) the full-service loyalty and marketing agency, offers marketers actionable advice on using data-driven loyalty techniques to build successful customer relationship management programs that build sales -- such as tackling self-reported data.

“When marketers want to know something about their customers, it’s tempting to simply ask them directly,” said Sandra Gudat president and CEO of Customer Communications Group. “But even if customers complete the survey, questionnaire or rating scale, their answers may not accurately reflect their opinions, actions or intentions. So businesses relying on this self-reported data to make business decisions could be striking out.”

Why isn’t self-reported data reliable?
Here are three specific reasons to be cautious of the information customers provide themselves:

1.    Customers simply may not be able to provide the level of detail asked of them. There are limits to customers’ self-knowledge, and many important experiences and feelings happen at a subconscious level.

2.    The survey process itself can impact behaviors. For example, someone may never have considered making a certain purchase until you suggested it.

3.    People aren’t always truthful. In fact, they typically overinflate their answers by 125 to 150 percent. This isn’t necessarily intentional — they may inadvertently match their response to what they perceive the desired answer should be.

What’s the solution?
First, don’t ditch this data altogether. It’s great for big-picture guidance and general direction. But do consider comparing it to industry averages. And definitely bolster it with objective measurements — especially actual transactional data, which is the most accurate reflection of customer behavior.

Marketers can also take control of their data by finding out how to score customers according to their value to the business: read CCG’s “Have You Scored Your Customers Today? at http://pr.customer.com.

Customer Communications Group (CCG) is a full-service customer relationship marketing (CRM) agency that helps Fortune 2000 retailers and financial institutions improve their bottom lines by improving their customer relationships, loyalty and retention.

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Jim McNulty
StandPoint Public Relations
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