User interviews are a vital part of enhancing the customer journey. The problem is that people don’t always tell you the truth.
Market research and developing valuable insights is becoming more data driven because of the many biases that occur in market research processes such as interviews. The need to triangulate results becomes more important than ever.
All research suffers from some form of bias. The reality is that bias enters the research process at many different stages.
Some typical biases that occur in user interviews:
Acquiescence bias: Also known as “yea-saying” or friendliness bias. Acquiescence bias happens when a respondent shows a tendency to agree with and be positive about whatever is presented.
Social desirability bias: This bias involves answering questions in a way that they think will lead to being accepted and liked. Regardless of the format, some people will tell you sensitive or personal topics about themselves accurately.
Habituation bias: In cases of habituation bias, people provide the same answers to questions that are worded in similar ways. This is known biological response: being responsive and paying attention takes a lot of energy.
Sponsor bias: When people know – or suspect – the sponsor of the research, their feelings and opinions about that sponsor often bias their answers.
Confirmation bias: One of the longest recognised and most pervasive forms of bias in research, confirmation bias occurs when a researcher forms a hypothesis or belief and uses respondents’ information to confirm that belief.
Culture bias: Assumptions about motivations and influences that are based on our cultural lens (on the spectrum of ethnocentricity or cultural relativity) create the culture bias.
Question Bias: One question can influence answers to subsequent questions, creating question-order bias. Respondents are primed by the words and ideas presented in questions that impact their thoughts, feelings and attitudes on subsequent questions.
Leading questions and wording bias: Elaborating on a respondent’s answer puts words in their mouth and, while leading questions and wording aren’t types of bias themselves, they lead to bias or are a result of bias.
The Halo Effect: Moderators and respondents have a tendency to see something or someone in a certain light because of a single, positive attribute. There are several cognitive reasons for the halo effect, so researchers must work to address it on many fronts.
Moving from data to intelligence to insight requires a clear and focused customer intelligence strategy. The elements of which are a blend of:
- Big Data
- Social Media Analytics
- Customer Relations Management Systems (CRM)
- Focus groups
- Ad-hoc surveys
- Insight Communities