Surveys Are Boring, It’s What You Do with Them That’s Exciting: Three Ideas for Beating Survey Fatigue

In the world of customer experience, surveys have been a reliable feedback-collecting source for decades. As we make our way forward with new CX technologies and approaches, survey fatigue remains a key operational concern. CX professionals are finding it more challenging than ever to keep program momentum alive. Today, I’m going to share some tips for reviewing your survey program for better response rates, higher program engagement, and better representative results. Use these tips to deliver excellent experiences for your customers while demonstrating that their voice is being heard!

#1. Make Surveys Shorter. A LOT Shorter.

How many times have you called a customer service rep and thought, “I am your customer—you should already know all these details about me.” Well, people are potentially thinking this about your surveys, too. Ideally, experience surveys should take 2-4 minutes to complete, which can be easily achieved by cutting out the questions to which you already know the answers. Shorten surveys further by removing surplus demographic or operational data that could be sourced from your CRM or data lake (e.g. age, products held, customer tenure), and ultimately improved response rates.

Another technique that is successful for many brands is to leverage microsurveys for mobile and other digital environments. A survey can be setup at each key digital touchpoint (like on a mobile app or website) to send a one or two question microsurvey with an open text box to capture immediate, in-the-moment responses from customers.

#2. Ask Survey Questions That Drive Action.

Whilst “good” survey questions vary from industry to industry, there are some overarching considerations needed to drive action from the customer’s voice:

  • Make sure each survey question has an owner within your organisation;
  • Consider the type of action that can be taken within your organisation from this question
  • Minimise words used in your questions. If the idea is clear without excess words, trim down wherever possible
  • Confirm each survey question is either aligned to customer experience goals and / or targets (e.g. expected front line behaviour or a KPI).

By keeping each of these principles in mind, you’ll ensure that each question can drive action within your organisation, which could in turn be used in comms to demonstrate you’ve: 

  • listened to customer’s feedback; and 
  • taken action to drive an improved experience.

#3. Make Your Surveys Count: Pull Transactional and Journey Surveys Into Your Case Management Program

Surveys can be seen as the starting point of a customer conversation. Case management programs—also known as closed loop feedback (CLF) programs—enable trained staff to connect with customers one on one. Frontline staff call back customers to understand why an experience was either great or has room for improvement, and provide a chance to really connect with customers and hear their stories first hand. This can help drive continuous improvement initiatives, or provide  customer-driven evidence to support larger initiatives that may require a business-case. Further, and if conducted with a treatment / control approach (e.g. 50% of CLF qualifying customers receive a call), you can track how customers’ behaviour has changed after you close the loop. 

Don’t underestimate the potential positive brand impact you’ll see when customers receive a call from a representative after clicking “submit” on their survey. By optimising case management, it will give your program the opportunity to evolve outside of analytics, and start directly contributing more to other operational areas of the business.

In this world where we can reach customers in so many different ways, asking customers “how would you rate XYZ”, “why did you rate XYZ”, and “thinking over these elements, how would you rate…” can be boring, let’s be honest, especially if it is a long survey. Instead, we encourage you to make your surveys shorter to fight survey fatigue and look beyond the questions to discover how the customer’s voice can influence your organisation’s operational performance through CLF and actionable insights. 


To learn more about what makes a great survey and how to combat survey fatigue, we’ve put together a framework in this new paper, Transactional Customer Experience Survey Best Practices. Download for free today!

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