B is for Bias

B is for Bias - CX listening and measurement

B is for Bias

This article ‘Bi is for Bias’ is taken from our A-Z guide of modern CX

Confirmation Bias

Bias creeps in to all these areas. One of the most common is confirmation bias, when the questions we ask are designed to get a response to what we already believe or want to believe. If we probe the customer on a touchpoint for a satisfaction score does it mean it was important to the customer, or did they answer it only because they were asked but in reality they’d never thought about it before. 

Beyond Averages: Recognising Unequal Customer Value

In many CX studies, we attribute equal value to each voice we hear. In consumer-focused businesses such as the telco sector, there may be a marginal difference between the premium and basic plans paid across one million customers, so each is worth a very small % of the overall earnings. But in B2B 20% of customers can represent 80% of the business. Ignoring this significance may misrepresent the truth.

Memory Games: How Recall Bias Affects CX

When we ask customer service agents to playback a customer discussion to understand the issue, recall bias can reshape events. It may be one of twenty similar calls the agent has taken take that day blurring the distinction between them. But it’s probably the only one the customer has made that day. Because of this, the more infrequent event for the customer is likely to have a more memorable recall as well. But in this case we relied on the colleague.

Seeing What We Expect: Observer Bias in Mystery Shopping

When conducting mystery shopping exercises, if we undertake it with a very defined list of what to expect, observer bias can influence those specifics being noticed, at the determent of others not. 

Regression to the Mean: Don’t Mistake Improvement for Luck

One for the feedback survey is regression to the mean, best described as an example. If a spike appears in dropped calls for a gaming company around the time of a big race, it would cause concern. This may be followed by training to ensure it doesn’t happen again. At the next wave of feedback, the % of dropped calls is much lower, and the intervention is decided as causal. However, this would have happened anyway because the volume of calls on race day were more than the business can cope with. But on normal days, they have enough staff to handle all calls.

The Power of Active Listening: Combating Interview Bias

More common is when customers are interviewed by untrained or undisciplined interviewer, who shape the questions, the order, even the emphasis in their tone to elicit answers they are seeking. This is known as interview bias. Without training it’s almost impossible to avoid. We found with active listening coaching even the most persistent of salesperson can deliver an unbiased feedback interview. 

Response Bias: When Customers Tailor Their Answers

Finally, as evidence of this area for attention in CX, response bias. If the environment created for feedback is confrontational or the relationship with customers is conditional, the chances are customers will give responses biasing towards a favourable outcome for them by giving pleasing answers the researcher wants to hear. 

There are many more, which makes this such a key focus in CX Management to ensure the voice of the customer is the real voice, correctly represented. 

It’s a customer-centric mindset characteristic which needs to be learned to ensure what matters most to the customer and the business can be understood as intended, rather than through interpretation of the presenter’s bias. 

Demystifying Customer Experience with Lexden’s A-Z Guide

A view inside Lexden's A-Z of modern customer experience (CX)

Feeling lost in the ever-evolving world of Customer Experience? Look no further! Lexden’s A-Z modern guide to CX is your gateway to navigating this crucial aspect of business success.

This comprehensive resource, downloadable for free, unveils the latest “CX lexicon” – a treasure trove of essential terms and insights. It doesn’t just refresh your existing knowledge, but also introduces new concepts to keep you ahead of the curve.


Lexden’s A-Z guide aims to illuminate the advanced realm of CX management, providing a nuanced approach to best practices.

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