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Customer satisfaction surveys are the best way for businesses large and small to find out how customers really feel about products, services, and the shopping experience. But, unfortunately, not all companies use customer satisfaction surveys correctly.

What is Survey Fatigue?

As anyone will tell you, customer surveys are vital in gaining insight into your customers’ perceptions of your product, brand or service, however Survey fatigue is a real (and growing) problem facing anybody who wants to collect data.

We have to design survey projects that are respectful of their time. That means avoiding survey fatigue wherever possible.

When designing your survey — from the request all the way through to the “Thank You” message — you need to keep your respondents engaged and fatigue-free.

Two Types of Survey Fatigue

There are two different types of survey fatigue, both of which can have major negative impacts on your response rates and data. The first type happens before the survey even begins; “survey response fatigue.” Because people receive more and more requests for their feedback, which makes them less likely to accept any particular request. They’re just tired of taking surveys, regardless of what they’re about.

You can see the effects of survey response fatigue in ever-lower response rates for your surveys.

The second type of survey fatigue happens during the survey taking process, so let’s call it “survey taking fatigue.” Essentially this happens when surveys are too long and include questions that aren’t applicable to the respondent. They get sick of trying to figure out what they should answer and what they can skip. Survey taking fatigue typically causes high rates of abandonment mid-survey.

How to Avoid Survey Taking Fatigue

1. Have one objective
Be specific, if you want to learn about your agent’s performance, make it clear that you are focusing the survey on your customers experience with that particular agent. If you want to ask about brand perception, leave that to a different survey.

2. Keep it simple
Studies have shown that if a survey has too many questions the responses tend to become more inaccurate as one progresses through it. Others may simply abandon the survey altogether if it’s longer than expected. Use shorter, more frequent surveys across different “events” that occur with your customer.

3. How many questions should you ask?
Ideally you should be asking your customers 1 question, maybe 2 or even 3 at a push. If you are asking more than 1 question it is vital that the customer can progress through the survey very quickly. Any more than 3 questions and your customer will start to lose interest in the survey. This will result in taking less care with their answers (leading to inaccurate data) and low completion rates.

4. Make it as short as possible
Never forget that when customers give you their feedback they’re taking up their own time – and often for no obvious short-term gain. That’s why it’s vital that the questions you ask them are as short and relevant as possible, and that the means by which they can respond are as flexible as possible. Postal surveys, person-to-person interviews, IVR and email surveys should all be considered.

5. Personalise the invitation to provide feedback
You are much more likely to get a response if you stand out from the “please help us to help you” crowd. Within the personalisation, add proper context (without appearing too “Big Brother”-ish). This means telling your customer why you are asking for their feedback, so they can relate your request to a specific interaction with you.

6. Ask as soon as practical after the customer’s interaction with your business
In some cases that means waiting a day (but no more) after they have spoken to your agent. In others it means asking them before the call if they are willing to stay on afterwards to provide feedback directly via an IVR interface.

7. Feedback on the feedback
Tell people what you have done with their responses to your questions. There is no more powerful incentive than knowing that the time spent responding to a survey was well worth it, and that one’s voice was heard.

It only remains to say that it is important to tell your employees about your customer feedback programme from the outset. If employees understand what you are trying to achieve, they will not fear feedback. If feedback is used to help them improve their performance (and their pay), they will positively look forward to it.

Tags: Quality Monitoring Scorecard, Call Center Metrics & KPIs