Several questions came in on the ability of surveys to predict actual behavior, covered in the post Measuring the $$ Value of Customer Experience (see 2. Data with Surveys). My advice is this: if you are interested in taking action on survey results, make sure to survey specific visitors / people with known behavior if possible, then track subjects over time to see if there is a linkage between survey response and actual behavior. You should do this at least the first time out for any new type of survey you launch.
Why? Many times, you will find segments don’t behave as they say they will. In fact, I have seen quite a few cases where people do the opposite of what was implied from the survey. This happens particularly frequently with best customers – the specific people you most want to please with modifications to product or process. So this is important stuff.
You’ve Got Data!
Turns out there’s a new academic (meaning no ax to grind) research study out addressing this area, and it’s especially interesting because the topic of study is ability of customer feedback metrics to predict customer retention. You know, Net Promoter Score, Customer Effort Score and so forth, as well as standard customer satisfaction efforts like top-2-box.
The authors find the ability of any of one of these metrics to predict customer retention varies dramatically by industry. In other words, you might want to verify the approach / metric you are using by tying survey response to actual retention behavior over time.