Who likes getting the same set of questions over and over? No one, that’s who. No one ever said, “Please send me the same survey, over and over again for as long as I’m your customer.” In fact, it’s got a name and even debuted as a disease in WebPunch’s booth at this year’s International Franchise Association Conference. It’s called Survey Fatigue.
Survey Fatigue occurs when brands send out not just too many surveys, but surveys that are all the same. They look the same, read the same, and have the same questions. Blah. While Survey fatigue can happen when a survey is sent out too often or the survey that is sent out is the same as the rest, it really flares up when they both happen, regularly.
In the end, surveying customers ends up being a lost cause, a waste of money, and a tool that instead of being used to tighten things up, is lost in the dark cobweb corners of the tool box.
Hey man, that’s way too many!
Pushing out too many surveys to your customers is redundant, imposing and can wear a customer out. Then they end up not responding to the surveys accurately or not at all.
When we first onboard a new client we like to ask several questions to make sure the survey programming is to their preference. One of those questions helps us better understand the length of minimum frequency for surveying a customer. In other words, we want to know how much time we should be putting in between sending a customer questions about their transaction or experience. That could mean sending them the survey multiple times because they didn’t respond to the initial one, or sending them one for each transaction.
However, if you’re in a business in which you interact with customers on a weekly or daily basis, it’s not going to be beneficial asking them about their experience each and every time. Oie vey! That’s a lot. And generally speaking, errors in daily or weekly transactions can be caught with a questionnaire every month or two months.
Brands usually know their customers much better than we do. While we are always available to offer guidance, the brand must determine how often they think a customer is willing to answer a survey long before they’re worn out. We don’t want these things becoming a burden on the customers, or a quick click to the trash box in their email, or even worse, spam. They should be developed to be a useful tool that will enhance the customers’ experience with the brand in the future.
Same old, same old is usually not good.
Same old same old doesn’t mean competitive. Surveys have the power to help a brand break away from their competition. However, they must be worked correctly and then reworked. It can’t be the same old “how’s my driving” question on every single survey sent out, and that’s for a number of reasons.
First off, targeted survey questions can help a brand gather information about specific points of the client journey. Every survey sent doesn’t need to be about the entire experience, from when they walk in the door to when they leave or from when the handyman knocks to when the customer lets him out. Understanding shortcomings in the entire journey would be nearly impossible using a quick survey. Even more challenging perhaps would be effectively changing the entire process based off of those responses.
Instead, surveys ought to target a specific point along the client’s journey, as opposed to the whole thing. That way a brand can work on the entire journey, piece by piece, constantly going through the improvement process:
- Develop a survey for a targeted point on the client journey
- Send it
- Receive customer feedback
- Analyze feedback to better understand what you’re doing right and wrong
- Make improvements accordingly
Here are a few examples of points along a client’s journey a survey could be catered to:
A swim school’s ambience
A bathroom remodelers’ customer service
Length of the check-out transaction time
Quality of a follow-up appointment
Timeliness of an inspector
Whether or not they enjoyed the latests programming
Overtime, maybe a year of sending out targeted surveys, a brand can work to build up their operations piece by piece based on the information they receive from constant re-evaluations and customer feedback.
To get this information, each survey question needs to be carefully crafted. And keep in mind, customer usually aren’t willing to spend much more than a minute or so to answer a survey, even if it will benefit them in the future. So, the fewer questions the better, that way customers are more likely to participate. From the answers, you can then better understand what you are doing right and where you need to be improving. You could even take it a step further and rework the design of each survey to make it pop, while still maintaining your brand’s look, of course. Also consider reworking the tone or voice of the questions as well, to make things a little more interesting.
Seeing as we work with a variety of different clients across different industries, we not only focus on keeping surveys fresh, but we also make sure they are industry specific. We can’t use the same survey for a swimming school as we use for an auto repair shop. Imagine getting this after your kid’s swim lesson?
Did we fix that rattling?
On a scale of one to 10, how was your overall satisfaction with your service attendant?
Was the shop clean and tidy or covered in grease grime?
This may be a little overboard, but if we were using the same survey for every one of our clients, we 1) wouldn’t get useful information, 2) would bore our clients’ customers, and 3) wouldn’t be practicing what we preach.
Survey Fatigue is no joke and it’s something easy to slip into as marketers and internal business development departments get mired in sales, internal improvements (often through their own eyes), and their own day-to-day tasks. It would be much easier to pull the last survey, send if off to the new customer, or existing one on their second or third transaction, and hope for the best.
Instead, avoid Survey Fatigue. Take the time to rework a survey so that it provides meaningful customer feedback that can then be used to turn the company around for the better, in the end retaining customers and onboarding new ones with improved processes.
Matthew Van Deventer is a content creator for WebPunch. As a dealer of words he dabbles in journalism and loves a good story, whatever the medium. Matthew lives outside of Denver, CO with his wife, daughter, and pup, Chewy.