Back in September I described a WSJ piece that reported on a set of findings from Harris Interactive suggesting that social desirability operates more widely than perhaps I had thought. Nonetheless, I was not convinced that it was an especially significant concern for customer satisfaction surveys. Turns out, I might be wrong about that
We are working on a proposal in which we are looking at the possible impacts of transitioning a customer sat study from telephone to IVR. While doing my due diligence on this I found a 2002 POQ article (Roger Tourangeau, Darby Miller Steiger, and David Wilson (2002), "Evaluating IVR," POQ, 66, 265-278.) In a set of well designed experiments they found that telephone interviewing consistently produced higher sat scores than IVR. While the differences were not major (less than a point on mean scores for a 10 point scale)and not always significant they were very stable across questions and different length scales.
The obvious question (at least for me) is how this might translate to Web where for years we have seen major differences in sat scores when compared to phone. Of course, with Web we have a second variable, namely seeing the scale displayed rather than having it read. There is some interesting research there as well, but I'll save that for another post.