New to FocusVision Decipher Survey Platform? Get a Deeper Understanding of Your Customer Story with Video Open Ends

When running a survey, we aim to collect insights on our target audience. We may want to know how satisfied they are with our products or services; or how they come to make purchase decisions, or what they prioritize. Researchers traditionally capture customer feedback within a survey by asking them questions using a rating scale:

Rating scale between one and five with one being poor and five being excellent to determine customer service rating

But consumer insights professionals know that customers come in all shapes and sizes and have unique experiences to share and stories to tell. These rating scales only capture a number. If given a ‘poor’ rating, we may wonder: were there particular product issues? Were interactions not handled professionally? If so, in what way? How did the problem resolutions get handled? Where are the frustration points? These are questions pertaining to how a customer feels and how they are (or are not) connecting with our product and brand.

Video open end

To get the full customer story, it’s best to allow them to freely narrate their product experiences and provide an unstructured way for them to provide feedback, share their feelings and openly express their opinions.

Including an open end text question is the most common method for capturing customer narratives within a survey:

Open end question asking about the customer experience

But more recently, video open ends have given researchers the opportunity to capture the Customer Truth. With the video open end, the respondent is asked to record and upload a video in response to a question or exercise in the online survey. The video open end can serve a similar function as an open end text question, but also be a richer source of data. Studies have shown that respondents say more on video than text open ends(1). Visual and audio cues convey emotions in a way that text cannot. From a person’s tone and facial expressions, a video can vividly illustrate how a person feels.

Videos can also be a powerful tool to use within presentations by providing an audio-visual testimonial of the customer from an online survey. Testimonials submitted to the survey get captured as a video file. These can get downloaded, played, and edited as needed in order to create highlight clips that can illustrate how the customer experiences your product. Hearing from the customer can resonate much more powerfully with stakeholders than with tables and charts alone. By combining numerical data with a human voice, you can get a complete and compelling picture of your customer. This empowers all key stakeholders to see and understand the customer and be aligned on customer-driven decisions rather than the guesswork that normally goes into interpreting motivations.

“It’s paradoxical; if you can’t show it to them with numbers, they’re usually not going to pay attention…but if you get a couple of consumers on video to illustrate what you’re talking about in the numbers, that’s actually what they remember.“

Scott McDonald, Senior Vice President for Research & Insights, Conde Nast Interviewed in QRCA Views by Judy Langer

Videos are not just tools for the qualitative researcher but can be incorporated into online surveys as well (For more on how to incorporate videos into your surveys, see our best practices guide on Video Open Ends). We can make better business decisions by utilizing the strengths of multiple techniques to unlock Customer Truth. Using rating scales can provide us the confidence and precision we seek from numerical data. Videos, on the other hand, can illustrate the human side of the customer experience. Ultimately, we need both.


  1. Kuegler, S. and Dowling, Z. “Unravelling the Mystery of the Video Respondent.” Lightspeed & Added Value presented at CASRO Digital. (2016)
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