Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Surveys

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Pros and Cons of Digital/Online Surveys

Digital technology has helped companies improve customer experience in several ways. It is helping them provide better customer service and quickly gather feedback about their products and services from the customers.

Digital tools are helping businesses understand consumer preferences and make improvements to their products and services. Continuous improvement is critical to winning in a hypercompetitive environment and consumer feedback is critical to gaining an edge.

Since most business processes from sales to marketing and customer service have become digital, companies are also using digital methods and particularly digital surveys that can be easily administered via email or chat to gather and analyze customer feedback regarding particular products or services.

A large number of businesses now depend on online surveys for customer feedback including ecommerce businesses, digital service providers and even physical businesses with a digital presence. This is true not just about B2C but also about B2B businesses. According to research 95% of B2B businesses rely on surveys for gathering customer opinion and feedback. Moreover, 90% of businesses consider customer opinion when they are creating new products.

It highlights the importance of gathering customer feedback since understanding customer needs and preferences better helps create better products and services. Surveys are considered to be the most reliable option when it comes to gathering customer feedback faster. In a highly digitalized business environment globally, the use of online surveys is now common across various industry sectors.

If you have taken online surveys, you must be aware of the questions commonly asked by businesses regarding the quality of products or services. For example, businesses commonly ask consumers how likely they are to recommend a service to their friends and family. This is generally asked of consumers when they have purchased and used a product or service for some time.

Online surveys offer several advantages and despite that they cannot be considered to be perfect. It is important to consider the pitfalls of using online surveys before implementing them into the feedback process. Moreover, it is important to understand their drawbacks before implementing. Tech is advancing everyday and before jumping onto the bandwagon, it is critical to understand both the goods and the bads of any technology.

Advantages of online surveys:

Lower cost:

The biggest advantage of using online surveys is that there are no major costs involved and if the customer is ready to take the survey, you can get instant feedback. Online surveys are as cheap as emails and can be conducted via chat or email or a form on a website. None of these involves any major costs.

Apart from that, companies can get help from survey platforms to create surveys and collect responses fastly and affordably. It is the lower cost of administering these surveys that they have grown in popularity.

Higher response rate:

While online surveys do not cost much to administer, they also enjoy higher response rates. Customers are generally willing to take short surveys since they are convenient to answer and can be answered any time they wish.

Due to higher customer convenience the response rates generally remain higher. In most cases, the surveys are limited to one to two questions like how would you rate our services on a scale or how likely are you to recommend our services to friends.

Real time responses:

Another important advantage of using online surveys is that you can rapidly collect answers. Soon, as you have the answers, analyzing the data and getting the results happens almost instantly. In most cases, users provide immediate responses on chat when you are conducting a short survey and you can immediately find out the results. Companies are also using artificial intelligence based tools to collect and analyze responses faster.

Accessible via multiple devices:

The number of mobile device users has grown worldwide. By 2024, the number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to reach 4.9 billion. The sheer number of smartphone and mobile device users is so high that surveyors need to consider if these surveys can be conducted in a mobile friendly manner.

The good news is that the online surveys can also be easily conducted through mobile devices. For example, providing ratings or selecting an option from multiple can be done easily on mobile devices and in most cases customers conveniently provide their responses on smartphones. The online surveys can be easily accessed and completed on devices of all sizes.

Flexible to design:

Another critical advantage of using online surveys is their design flexibility. You can easily customize online surveys according to your particular requirements.

For example, whether it is a short survey or a long one, a complicated one or an easy one, you can design it the way you like. Moreover, you can use skip logic and branching for a more optimized and superior survey experience.

Branching is an excellent method of adding questions on the basis of previous answers. It means that the unimportant questions can be skipped and only the important ones are displayed to the respondent. It guarantees a smoother survey experience as well as more relevant and insightful user responses.

You can also make the survey more attractive by adding your own logo and an appealing background color which will have a better impression on respondents and will engage their attention.

Time saving:

Online surveys are much better than the traditional surveys in terms of saving time and efforts. With the traditional surveys, the surveyor was required to collect responses and compile them after survey completion. This is not the case with the online surveys since surveys can be sent to users and responses received automatically on digital channels.

Not just the surveyor, but the online surveys are convenient for those being surveyed as well. While companies can publish surveys with just a few clicks, consumers can submit their responses within minutes. Companies also run surveys using their social media accounts and can gather responses from their thousands of followers in real time.

Shortcomings or disadvantages of online surveys:

Online surveys despite their several advantages and ease of use are not perfect. There are some shortcomings associated with digital surveys and pitfalls that need to be avoided. Here are the main shortcomings of online surveys:

Chances of survey fraud:

The chances of survey fraud are also high in the case of online surveys. For example, a large number of people feel tempted to take surveys if there is a reward being offered for it. More and more people will participate in the survey if there is a reward being offered. So, the number of responses would be high but the results would not be accurate. Survey frauds are quite common and then your entire work becomes fruitless.

In another case, if the survey is long and complicated, people may select answers without responsibility. You will receive randomly selected and inaccurate answers leading to inaccurate results. Thus, both the above outlined cases can leave you in a difficult position. So, you need to carefully consider the questions you ask in the survey as well as the audience you are targeting.

Response bias:

Response bias can also commonly occur in the case of online surveys. There are several factors that may lead to response bias in the case of online surveys including personality differences, financial situation or the fear of being judged due to which people may end up providing misleading information. People will not always provide honest responses and will pick the answers that make them look socially desirable or financially stable. You will get inaccurate responses and biased results.

Sampling issues:

Sampling problems can also crop up when you are conducting online surveys. If there is a sampling issue, it will impact the overall results of the survey.

Sampling is at the core of the survey and a proper sample will help you get more accurate and proper results. However, in many cases surveyors might be confused about whom to survey. For example, they might be confused regarding selecting the people who buy the product or the people who influence the buying decisions.

Can be easily dismissed by customers:

While digital tools and technologies make it easier to reach customers to carry out an online survey, it is also easy for customers to entirely miss or just dismiss a survey. It is because people’s emails remain filled with emails and surveys. In the case of longer surveys, it is common for customers to ignore them. According to research, only 9% of respondents take long surveys thoughtfully. Sometimes people may ignore survey messages in their inbox because their inboxes are filled with messages to attend to. If you send messages too frequently they may even trash your emails or mark them as spam.

Cannot analyze the sentiments behind the answers:

In the case of online surveys, there is no interviewer and no face to face interaction between those surveying and those being surveyed. It makes it impossible to measure or understand the sentiment behind the answers. It is difficult to know what they really feel about the problem being discussed. It becomes impossible to decode the sentiments behind the responses.


Online surveys are now being commonly employed by businesses to understand how customers feel about their products and services or to gather feedback. They are using customer feedback to design new products and services. Online surveys are easy to conduct and they are also more affordable compared to the traditional methods of surveying. In this way, online surveys offer several benefits including lower costs, higher effectiveness, easy analysis, design flexibility and real time reach.

The most common reasons that businesses rely on online surveys especially in B2B settings is that they can be easily conducted without incurring major costs and can be easily analyzed to derive the results.

However, despite the ease of use and effortless nature of online surveys, there are some pitfalls to avoid when conducting a survey online. Using a good survey design and selecting the right questions can help you overcome some of these pitfalls. However, you also need to be careful about the sample population and make sure that it represents your wider audience. While analyzing sentiments can be difficult in the case of online surveys, there are tools you can use to measure and understand customer sentiment as well.