Advantages And Disadvantages of Surveys


Delivering excellent customer service is not a choice anymore. In today’s world, where customer feedback spills out all over social media in a matter of minutes, delivering exceptional customer support has become a necessity if a business wants to stay relevant and sustain itself. 

But how would you know what the modern customer wants? By collecting customer feedback.

And how? Through online surveys.

Online surveys have changed the data collection game for everyone involved. They are enabling companies, be it a multinational corporation or a young start-up, to get the data needed to improve customer service. With the emergence of online surveys and the various advantages, in-person surveys have gradually started to lose popularity. 

So what are the advantages of online surveys to collect information? They offer a large choice of survey questions to create survey questionnaire. Businesses can easily email, share the link across social media, or embed on the website to get valuable feedback from customers to know about their preferences and improve the company’s performance. 

In this blog, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of an online survey.

Advantages of Surveys

1. Create a Convenient Feedback Channel

Don’t you love it when you can do things at your own pace in your preferred surroundings? Online surveys provide this convenience to all participants. It allows them to start the surveys when they want and stop it whenever it suits them. 

Allowing survey respondents to pace their surveys leads to increased responses. It also allows respondents to take their time and think things through, which leads to more insightful responses from them. 

One of the reasons that many people often skip handout surveys was that they had to complete it right there, and more often than not, they did not have the time for that. Online surveys help businesses get across this hurdle.

ACAF Cusotmer Feedback Loop

Source: HubSpot

2. Increased Customer Satisfaction

The importance of customer experience can’t be stressed enough in today’s competitive environment. If they don’t like you, they’ll leave, no matter what. So, how can you stop them? After you have gathered feedback data from the customer survey, the next step is to contact the respondents personally to resolve the issue, if any. 

If the customers were dissatisfied with the products or services, you might provide a replacement, free services, or discounts as an attempt to retain them. When the customers see that they are being heard and their opinions are valued, they are highly likely to feel satisfied with the brand. 

Even the statistics support this.

Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report found out that

  • 90% of customers say that organizations should give them the opportunity to provide feedback
  • 50% of customers believe that most of the brands take action based on their customers’ feedback.

In another report,  77% of customers see a brand more favorable if it seeks out and applies customer feedback.

Bonus Read: Advantages & Disadvantages of Customer Feedback Surveys

3. Accessibility From Any Device

Turn back the clock two decades ago, and you see big clunky computers, a lot of paperwork, and not-so-smart phones. Now, we have phones with tech specs that put older computers to shame. Your customers are now using various devices and operating systems. 

By sending a link through email and other forms, online surveys make all devices accessible to you. It doesn’t matter whether your responder uses a phone, tab, or computer; a simple link helps you connect to everyone. This accessibility and reliability are major online survey advantages that make them irreplaceable in this digital age.

Bonus Video: How to Create Surveys

4. Maximum Reach With Minimum Efforts

One of the best or worst things the internet has done, depending on who you ask, is that the world is now a much smaller place. Online surveys have benefited from the internet too. It doesn’t matter whether your target audience is a hundred or a thousand; all it takes to send a survey to all of them is the click of a button. 

All you need to reach the target audience is to send your survey link across social media, emails, and your website, which is one of the significant advantages of online surveys. 

Here, it becomes crucial to mention that good online survey software can make a massive difference in the way you build and share a survey, which, in turn, impacts the quantity and quality of responses that you receive

What is online survey software, and how does it benefit you?

An Online Survey Software is a tool used to build online surveys and forms to collect data for actionable information.

Online survey tools available in the market today, such as ProProfs Survey Maker, have a host of advantages such as:

  • Easy creation of beautiful and engaging surveys with over 100 readymade templates
  • Addition of scoring & branching to survey questions
  • Customization with colors, themes, and logo
  • Easy sharing on social media, via link, or website embeds
  • Ready to use questions and a variety of question types
  • Intelligent analytics with presentation-ready reports

Survey software tools also have the additional benefit of creating surveys in the language of your choice. Reaching people across the globe has never been easier

5. Help Answer Only What’s Needed

In non-automated, self-administered surveys, the respondents would be annoyed with the N/A options. 

Online surveys allow for more flexible designs for survey questionnaires. By introducing skip logic and branching logic into surveys, ProProfs Survey Maker eliminates the questions that will add no value to the results, depending on the respondent’s previous answer.

Let us take a few survey questions?

  1. Do you own a car? Yes or No
  2. What type of car do you own? Sedan, SUV, Hatchback
  3. What other forms of transport do you use? Bicycle, Truck, Bus
  4. What form of transport do you use? Bicycle, Truck, Bus

If the answer to question 1 is YES, the user will be presented with question 2, followed by question 3. If the answer is NO, the second question will be skipped, and the respondent will be presented with question 4.

This also saves the time spent writing texts that educate the respondents about which question to answer and what to skip. 

The ability to frame all the questions they want and allow users to skip the questions that are not relevant to them makes surveys more insightful. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to filter out survey responses based on some pre-set conditions.

Bonus Read: 12 Advantages & Disadvantages of Questionnaires

6. Create a Strong Brand Impression

Well, the first step towards creating an excellent survey is to clearly define the purpose of conducting one and incorporate the questions accordingly. But that’s not it. You need to make the study appealing and match your brand to get the respondent’s attention.

Styling online surveys with the brand colors, logo, and attractive background can help advertise your brand across platforms and engage the respondent at the same time. ProProfs offers a variety of themes and images if you want to get spoilt with choices. 

Read More: How to Build Brand Loyalty

7. Eliminate Bias for Good

A significant factor that influences face-to-face surveys is the bias that builds up due to personal reasons. Many times the interviewer tends to affect the answers given by the survey taker. Online surveys help eliminate this bias and keep the survey objective. 

Since ProProfs allows online surveys to be conducted by the user in their comfortable location, there are no chances of being pressurized. 

By eliminating the probability of personal bias, the survey responses are more objective and insightful, keeping the organization in mind rather than the individual.

8. Provide the Most Accurate Data

One of the prominent advantages of online surveys is to minimize the margin of error involved in data collection. Traditional methods of data collection involved employees manually filling in the data from survey responses. Online surveys automatically collect and process the response shared by the survey takers. 

Related Read: Importance of Employee Satisfaction Survey

It eliminates the errors that could occur when a person does a repetitive task like this. By automatically collecting the data in a customer database, survey software makes data entry simple and error free

9. Cut the Costs Significantly 

The cost involved in conducting surveys research the traditional way is very high. There are the costs involved in postage, printing, and a travel allowance for field executives if necessary. Online surveys help pretty much halve the cost involved in data collection. 

You also don’t have to expend manpower to collect and organize the responses. The reliability of online surveys has ensured that you can now send surveys and collect the responses from a survey taker hundreds of miles away without leaving your seat.

10. Save Time to Enhance Efficiency

Did you know that an entrepreneur spends nearly 70% of the time tackling day-to-day tasks and the rest of the time towards developing long-term goals and strategic planning? (Source: The Alternative Board (TAB)) 

Time is the most critical business resource. However, companies need to make more personalized efforts for the best time management and achieve more in a short period. Having an integrated online feedback management system in place with thousands of survey question examples helps create and administer surveys.

11. Reduce Waiting Time

Online surveys help reduce the time involved in collecting and processing data. What’s best, conducting an online survey using a survey maker can be a cakewalk. Earlier, you would send out a survey or go out to collect data, wait for the response, and process it. It was a time-consuming process. 

With online surveys, you no longer have to wait to collect and process the data. As soon as a survey taker responds, the data is fed into your system and is at your disposal.

12. Data Analysis in One Fell Swoop

Gathering data through customer feedback quickly is one of the most significant advantages of online surveys. But what to do with this data?

Survey software helps you analyze and interpret survey data faster. The data collected through online surveys gets processed in the customer database. You can then categorize and organize this data as per your requirements. 

Most survey software have inbuilt analysis tools to help you interpret the results of your surveys easily. Survey tools wholly eliminate the need to spend weeks going through survey responses, looking for trends manually.

13. Anonymity to Exercise Freedom of Speech

We love sharing secrets, and we trust people to keep a secret. Online surveys provide survey-takers with similar confidentiality. With the assurance that everything said will remain confidential, survey respondents would be more open to giving detailed feedback. 

If a customer feels they can openly talk and be honest with you, they are more likely to provide you with detailed feedback. It is especially important when collecting sensitive information relating to demographics. Ideally, you should avoid asking about it, but online survey tools provide this anonymity to users in case you do.

14. Work Only on Selected Data

No single advertisement or question will resonate equally with everyone. That’s where online survey questionnaire can come in handy by letting you pre-screen customers. You can send them surveys with relevant questions that match their target profile based on their 

  • Demographics
  • Age
  • Aender
  • Buying Behavior
  • Lifestyle Habits, and more.

15. Get More Honest Feedback

Have you ever noticed how in in-person surveys or telephonic interviews, respondents tend to beat around the bush and give lengthy and sometimes irrelevant feedback? Respondents get overwhelmed by the in-depth questions and real-time pressure to provide answers. On the other hand, online surveys are designed with questions to obtain more direct and useful input. 

But, online surveys have their share of disadvantages as well. Let’s learn about them in the next section.

Disadvantages of Online Surveys

1. Dishonest, Unreliable Answers

There is no guarantee that respondents will open up during an online survey or they will share an honest opinion. Also, people tend to give more honest answers in one to one surveyor group survey. For example, research shows that upto 50% of respondents lie in a survey. The reasons include many ranging from trying to be polite to become socially acceptable to get the survey results in their favor.

Solution: How to Filter Out Dishonest & Unreliable Answers?

In this case, you need to analyze the individual answers in depth to weed out the dishonest and unreliable answers. Look for a trend in their answers for example, if a person is repeatedly giving one word answers to an open ended question, then something is not right and the answer is unreliable.  

Here’s a quick guide on How to Analyze Open Ended Survey Questions

2. Close-ended Questions are Difficult to Interpret

Close-ended survey questions come with predefined options. The respondents select one more answer while giving a response. Also, objective responses can be highly misleading. For example, respondents may not have any real idea about the topic but still choose an option. Some others may be disappointed at not having their desired option and select any random choice. Also, close-ended questions are not a solution to complex problems that require in-depth discussions and understanding.

Solution: Best Way to Deal with Close-Ended Questions?

The best way to overcome this challenge is to have a balanced mix of both close-ended and open-ended questions. Also, make sure that you explain the close-ended questions in a precise and detailed manner. For example, you can use images in the answer options to enhance the understandability of the questions.

Survey Completion Time

Source: Chattermill

3. Probability of Survey Fatigue Effect

A research conducted by CustomerThermometer found that the response rate for long surveys is a meager 9%. Yes, surveys can get tiresome. Many times long surveys take more than 10-15 minutes to complete. It induces fatigue in the minds of the respondents resulting in a survey dropout. A large number of open-ended questions require deep thinking and articulation, making it tiresome for the respondents.

Solution: How to Reduce Survey Fatigue Effect?

Ensure that you review the ease of survey completion through survey sample testing. It can be done within your organization and across different departments. It helps you to understand whether you have designed the survey well using relevant questions

Related Read: How to Avoid Survey Fatigue

4. Increase in Response Errors

Since online surveys harness the power of technology, there could be many response errors. The internet connectivity goes low, forcing the survey respondent to restart the survey repeatedly by loading the page. Also, there could be errors due to device compatibility. For example, if the survey does not display well on mobile, the respondent ends up abandoning the survey or giving the wrong answers due to confusing display.

Solution: How to Reduce Response Errors?

In this scenario, you can give a minimum number of reattempts to capture the response of your target audience.

5. A Large Number of Unanswered Questions

People may choose to simply not answer a question instead of a one-to-one survey, where they are bound to oblige every question. In such a scenario, when you have a large number of unanswered questions, you cannot collect enough responses from your target audience through online surveys. It may lead to analysis errors with negligible amounts of data.

Solution: How to Encourage People to Answer Questions?

You can provide a detailed explanation of each question. Also, make sure that you use simple, relatable and jargon free language.

Here are few question guides you can use in your Surveys:

  1. Customer Survey Questions
  2. Return to Work Survey Questions
  3. Product Survey Questions
  4. Matrix Survey Questions
  5. Demographic Survey Questions
  6. Pre & Post Event Survey Questions
  7. Employee Engagement Survey Questions
  8. Email Survey Questions
  9. Brand Awareness Survey Questions

6. Presence of Response Bias

Sometimes, respondents may be conditioned to respond in a certain way to the survey. Some may be genuinely interested in the product, while others may just be curious and not serious about buying resulting in unreliable answers. 


Source: Justkul

Solution: How to Overcome Response Bias?

You can ask a few filler questions to screen out the serious ones from the non-serious ones. This reduces the response bias instances to some extent.

7. Probability of Random Answers

In many cases, respondents randomly select an answer option before understanding the question thoroughly. It could be either deliberate or unintentional. If they cannot understand the question thoroughly, they try to just complete the survey at any cost.  It leads to false or misleading data collection.

Solution: How to Reduce the Probability of Random Answers?

In this case, you can check through the survey completion time of respondents and compare it with the average response time. If it is way lower than the accepted standard, the response is not reliable and can be discarded.

8. Poor Customer Sentiments Analysis

Most of the online surveys rely on objective answers to a question. These answers just give a peripheral understanding of the sentiments, not the customer sentiments in depth. To understand it, one needs to analyze the customer’s  answer – word, phrase, and paragraph wise using sophisticated tools.

Solution: How to Improve Customer Sentiments Analysis?

Hence, encourage more open-ended questions and make use of a customer sentiments analysis tool like Qualaroo to understand their opinions.

9. Larger Issues Require Face to Face Debates and Discussions

Surveys do not provide an in-depth understanding of more significant issues like why your employee left your company. It requires one to one exit interviews to understand their pulse rather than objective online surveys.

What is the Solution?

Understand the depth of each issue to see if it requires a survey or greater debate. For certain issues, you can have an in depth debate followed by a survey.

10. Limited Accessibility 

Although we live in an internet era, not everyone has access to smartphones or laptops. In such a scenario, this limited availability of resources can result in skewed and incomplete data. 

Solution: How to Overcome Limited Accessibility Issue?

In this case, you can use a combination of both online and offline surveys.

Energize Your Customer Feedback with Online Surveys

An online survey is an inexpensive way to collect feedback from your customers. With this, you reduce the wait time of your customers, unlike an in-person survey. Your customers can take the survey at their convenience from anywhere.

On the other hand, online surveys bring in interpretation errors, response biases, low sentiment analysis, etc.

The above points just bring to light some of the advantages and disadvantages of an online survey. Feel free to mention any other benefits you can think of in the comments below.

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About the author

Jared Cornell

Jared is a customer support expert. He has been published in CrazyEgg, Foundr, and CXL. As a customer support executive at ProProfs, he has been instrumental in developing a complete customer support system that more than doubled customer satisfaction. You can connect and engage with Jared on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


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