It is a delight that more and more businesses are aware of the importance of data and have begun frequent collection of customer feedback to better their customer service. While data collection can come in several forms such as focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, surveys still prove to be the most popular form of data collection.

Businesses collect customer feedback to evaluate and to identify room for improvements. This practice is greatly appreciated because it helps to stay in touch with the customers. However, ‘survey bombardment’ from businesses have made consumers reluctant to provide concrete and truthful answers, even refusing to take feedback forms from them.

This issue is called ‘survey fatigue’. By definition, it refers to an issue whereby respondents become uninterested and tired throughout the survey process, answering them with no proper thought. Survey fatigue can be divided into two types:

Survey Response Fatigue

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Survey response fatigue refers to when targeted respondents are most likely to ignore your surveys, leaving them unopened. This stems from the increasing requests of surveys, leading to lower response rates.

Survey-Taking Fatigue

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This type of fatigue occurs during the process of survey-answering. It is caused by unclear and overlapping questions throughout the survey. The more the number of questions, the longer the survey, the more likely it is for users to experience survey-taking fatigue. This will lead to abandonment mid-survey, lowering your rate of survey completion.

The main objective of businesses in collecting customer feedback is to build a business-customer relationship and nurture bottom-line growth. But if survey fatigue is taking place, it is simply going against the main objective of the survey. So how do we avoid survey fatigue?

Why You Should Avoid Survey Fatigue

Poorly-designed surveys will have a direct impact on your business as well as your customers. It will cost you resources (time and money) and the relationship with your customers. There will be costs that need to be paid if your surveys are not crafted and managed properly.

Harming Brand-Customer Relationships

Poorly-made surveys with common errors, such as lengthiness and invasiveness, will create a negative perception in your customer’s eyes. Your professionality will be questioned, thus harming your brand-customer relationship.

Poor Business Decisions

The central objective of surveys is to improve your business. But if the surveys are poorly designed, the probability of dishonest customer feedback will only grow, leaving a possibly negative effect on the results meant to be derived from the surveys.

How to Avoid Survey Fatigue

Businesses should take notes of these following steps to avoid survey fatigue

Don’t Overflood Your Audience with Surveys

The first rule in avoiding survey fatigue is to reflect back on the survey request frequency from your customers. If possible, limit the customer feedback request based on your group of consumers. Frequent customers will be more likely to answer 3 surveys in a month than one-timer customers. You can group your target respondents and put them in a different timeline. Therefore, you will still be able to get frequent customer feedback from the same group and persona of customers without bombarding them.

Ensure A Seamless Flow of Questions

Repetitive questions within a survey can be a bore. Make sure you have clear and well-planned survey questions at hand, avoid overlapping them. If you plan on asking rather complex questions, make it relevant, simple, clear and easy to answer for the respondents.

Keep It Short and Specific

Be considerate of your customer’s time. Therefore, you should keep the length of your surveys short enough for them to be able to answer in just a short period of time. The golden rule is to make sure that it takes less than 10 minutes for your surveys to be completed. However, the more your surveys resonate with your target respondents, the more likely they are willing to answer them, even if they may be lengthy. For example: if your survey concerns Malaysian football topics, die-hard Malaysian football fans will most likely be willing to answer a few more questions.

Provide Incentives

If you seek something of value from others, you have to give it in return. You can avoid high survey fatigue rates by giving your respondents something of value, such as discounts. If you are unable to provide your respondents with tangible benefits, communicate with them and emphasize on why their honest feedback is needed. Convince your respondents that they do in fact, want to help you, not because they are asked to.

Respect Boundaries

Privacy has now become an issue of the data collection. Assure your respondents on how their privacy is valued and that their boundaries are respected. Therefore, sensitive information such as phone numbers, addresses and personal details should only be acquired when necessary, like during registrations and subscriptions. But for general feedback, do be mindful of boundaries when asking for personal information.