Survey Fatigue 101 – What Is It and How to Avoid it

Customer feedback provides great insights to brands about what they’re doing right and what needs to be changed. In order to maximise the amount of valuable insight they’re getting, brands often send more and more surveys to their customers. This can return the opposite desired effect, with response rates decreasing and the quality of insights suffering. 

In this blog, we will explain the phenomenon of Survey Fatigue and how you can avoid this to ensure higher response rates and happier customers. 

What is Survey Fatigue?

Survey fatigue can be described as an unwillingness to participate in surveys as a result of being over-surveyed. Customers suffering from survey fatigue are far less likely to give feedback due to overexposure to surveys. Survey fatigue can be broken down into two types:

  1. Survey request fatigue occurs when customers do not want to fill out the survey as they have been asked for their feedback too many times. Survey request fatigue results in customers completely ignoring the request for feedback, leading to a drop in response rates.
  2. Survey-taking fatigue occurs when a customer gets tired of the questions whilst in the middle of completing a survey. Survey-taking fatigue can affect the quality and accuracy of the response as participants may skip questions or spend minimal time answering questions (i.e., selecting “1” for every response just to get through it as quickly as possible). Customers may even abandon the survey completely.

How to avoid survey request fatigue

Don’t over-survey your customers 

While it is recommended to survey customers at every touchpoint to get a complete, accurate view of the customer journey, parameters need to be set in order to limit the number of surveys being sent out over a given period of time. 

When it comes to transactional surveys, businesses with a high volume of interactions need to be careful not to survey a customer at every touchpoint. For example, if a customer phones in five times in one day about the same issue, it is not recommended to ask them for their feedback after each interaction they have had with an agent.

For relational surveys, asking customers for feedback once or twice a year is considered to be the best practice. 

Communicate the value of the survey

People are more willing to fill in a survey if they feel like their feedback will actually make a difference to a company’s products or services. Explaining how the survey will improve your customer service in the invitation you send customers will encourage them to respond as they know their feedback will be taken into consideration and won’t be wasted. 

How to avoid survey-taking fatigue

Ask direct questions

Asking complex questions can leave your respondents unsure of what it is that you want from them, which means they have to really think about their answers. Keeping your questions direct and unambiguous will ensure customers know exactly what you are asking them and will allow them to answer questions as quickly and accurately as possible. 

It is also important to only ask one thing at a time, to make it easier for customers to respond. You shouldn’t ask a customer “Was the person you spoke to helpful and polite?” as they could have been polite but entirely unhelpful, which can make it difficult for a customer to respond.

Keep it short and sweet

Keeping survey questions brief and easy to understand will reduce the number of respondents who abandon surveys before completing them. Using multiple-choice, tick box or drop-down questions speeds up response times as customers do not have to think about their response. 

Avoid asking redundant questions – ensure all questions asked are relevant to both the respondents and the team requesting the information.  

Limit the number of open text questions

Open text fields are an essential element of a survey as they allow you to hear, in your customers’ own words, how they truly feel about your brand and the experience that they have had.

However, open text comments require a lot more effort to complete than questions with pre-populated answer choices. With this in mind, they should be kept to a minimum and only used when open text is essential. For improved response rates you can also choose to not mark the open-ended questions mandatory to ensure they submit their survey even if they don’t have any additional insight to add. 

When it comes to surveying your customers, remember – Less is more!