Online vs. mail surveys: What differences are there for customer analysis?

July 2016

If you hire a professional market research company like Market Researchers, for example, you can be sure that they deliver only high-quality analyses which are customized to your company's needs. But why do you need a customer analysis in the first place? The answer is quite simple really: Wherever you would like to adjust your services and products to your clients, research will provide you with valuable results.

But also if you are about to launch a new product or service, Market Researchers can support you in tailoring the new services or products to a particular customer segment. Customer analysis is also very helpful when it comes to determining customer retention to your company and the resulting loyalty. Finally, the results of the analysis also leave room for cost reduction when acquiring new customers. But how is the data collected? Which methods are best suited for an analysis of customer behavior? Market Researchers employs different methods according to your individual requirements. These can be telephone, mail or online surveys as well as interviews.

The experts at Market Researchers not only have years of experience with the individual survey methods but can also assess which type of survey is the most appropriate in which situation and for which company. For it is by no means trivial to decide on one of the methods as has been demonstrated in many studies. Apart from product and company specific aspects it is also differences in the access to the internet, educational level or income situation, for instance, that influence the results of the analysis, e. g. as far as the partial non-response rate is concerned. Millar/Dillman show that non-response effects are more common in mail surveys than in online surveys. But there was no statistically significant difference.

There were however statistically significant scores for the type of questions in the two different methods of mail and online surveys. With so-called item sets which offer a number of answer alternatives participants in the mail survey were more likely to skip the individual options of an item set than those in the online group. Open questions manifested the opposite trend, i. e. the partial non-response rate was higher in the online group than the mail group. To summarize, it can be said that the effects of the survey method chosen is complex and not always straightforward. It is therefore advisable to leave the choice of the most appropriate method to an experienced market research company like Market Researchers. They have many years of experience with customized customer analyses and are able to support you in designing and conducting surveys and analyzing the collected data.