Three Tips for Shortening Your Customer Experience Surveys

Let’s face it: shortening your customer experience survey can be overwhelming. You have so many priorities, stakeholders, and initiatives to inform and consider, but you want to capture that information with as few questions as possible in order to avoid survey fatigue.

However tedious the process may be, there’s no denying that CX surveys are one of the best ways to gather feedback for your company. InMoment research has found that responding to a survey was customers’ most preferred feedback method, with the second being to send an electronic message to the company. 

So, How Long Should My Customer Survey Be?

The general rule is that your survey should ask as few questions as possible while still getting your business all the answers you need. Ideally, they would take five minutes or less.

Remember: customers want to give direct feedback—but they also don’t want to spend more than a few minutes doing so. If you’re looking to simplify and optimize your surveys, here are three useful tips to remember when shortening your CX surveys!

  1. Shortening Your Surveys Doesn’t Necessarily Lead to Higher Response Rate
  2. Think of Others Before Cutting a Question
  3. Aim for Short, but Complete Surveys

Tip #1: Shortening Your Surveys Doesn’t Necessarily Lead to Higher Response Rates

Having a compact survey is helpful to produce more valuable responses, but it doesn’t directly correlate with a higher response rate. According to our study, survey respondents acknowledged that the frequency of receiving surveys has gone up (an increase of 42%), but that their willingness to complete those surveys has stayed about the same (58%). From these results, we can glean that customers aren’t feeling overwhelmed by the increase in survey requests. But what about length?

The vast majority of non-response actually occurs on the first page of the survey or when respondents never open the survey after receiving an invite. In fact, in some of our CX measurement programs, when respondents are asked if they would be willing to continue answering additional questions about 50% to 75% agree to continue. This doesn’t mean that you should make your surveys as long as you want. But it does show, to an extent, that a shorter survey won’t equal more responses.

Tip #2: Think of Others Before Cutting a Question

A brand typically shortens its surveys because it isn’t using all the information. This makes complete sense, but the reality is that data can often become siloed, keeping other departments in the company in the dark. Corporate research managers may forget how their information can be useful for other departments (e.g., marketing, product development). So make sure that your questions don’t just support your department, but your brand as a whole! 

Additionally, before cutting a question out, make sure you know who “owned” that question, and notify them as to why it’s being cut. For instance, if the information that stakeholder needs is readily available via customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce, let them know. That way you are serving both your internal stakeholders and your customers’ needs for a shorter survey at the same time.

Similarly, when shortening your customer experience survey, always keep the customer in mind. When we asked customers why they respond to CX surveys, the top reason was because they believed that companies valued their input. Asking meaningful questions shows the customer that your business actually cares. And you can go even further! For example, an InMoment client that manufactures medical devices and supplies  tells customers they care by sending them letter updates explaining how they’ve taken action based on their survey responses.

Tip #3: Aim for Short, but Complete Surveys

We are going to refer back to the guiding principle we spoke about above: when creating a survey, ask as few questions as you can while still getting all the answers you need. Yes, that’s easier said than done, but not impossible! We recommend using a backward research process where you first ask your internal team, “what decisions do we want to make when we get our survey results, and what information do we want to be able to tell others?” Having other corporate departments in mind will help you create a more condensed and complete survey.

Additionally, your survey should include an open-ended question that allows your customers to talk about whatever they want. Your brand will get a better idea of what customers care about and want changed—and what you need to do to take action. However, keep in mind that “short for shortness’ sake” is not necessarily a good thing. Customers are willing to take longer surveys, but it’s the thoughtfulness and quality of each question on a survey that’s important—not the survey being short itself. 

Your survey should be long enough to allow your customer to completely express themselves and tell their story. With that context, your CX platform will be able to identify opportunities to maximize success and minimize friction—and isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day?

We’ve gone through a couple tips for shortening your customer experience survey. Looking for more?  Click here to understand the empirical evidence that supports shorter customer experience surveys!

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