FEATURE3 January 2018

Ask the right questions...

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Behavioural economics Features Impact

Starting a survey with an open-ended prompt for positive feedback can lead to increased purchase behaviour, according to a new study. This should raise questions for market researchers, says Bronwen Morgan.


We know from the many discussions around referendum wording that the way in which a question is phrased can have a significant impact on the response generated. 

This is also true for surveys with more than one question, but – in those instances – another factor can influence the outcome: survey framing. Recent research has revealed that beginning a survey with an open-ended question – specifically one asking for positive feedback – can lead to increased customer purchases among those completing the survey. 

Previous research has demonstrated the ‘mere-measurement effect’, by which simply measuring an individual’s purchase intentions changes their subsequent behaviour in the market. This latest study proposes ‘mere-measurement plus’, whereby starting a survey by asking customers to recall something positive about their purchase experience increases subsequent sales. 

The research used two studies to test this hypothesis fully; the first was a longitudinal ( 12-month) field experiment with customers of a large, US, portrait-studio retail chain. ...