What is survey fatigue and how can you prevent it?
BlogCustomer ExperienceCustomer Feedbackcustomer insights
19 Aug 2022

“How likely would you recommend (insert business name) to someone?”– a never-ending question asked to a customer in multiple ways and various forms. Somehow, it feels like it’s a DeJa’Vu moment happening daily because as what every company tells its customers, “Your opinion matters” or “You are important to us”.


I mean, we get it. engaging customers till the very end to keep customer loyalty and treating every customer journey with equal importance contributes to the business’ success story. Many businesses nowadays apply a voice-of-customer program in their operations and treat them with importance because it shows that they value what people say about a product or service. Furthermore, it fairly makes it easier to close the loop with the customers in the process. Many believe (and it makes sense) that customer experience can be any business’s unique value proposition against competitors. On the other hand, you need to consider that you’re not alone in wanting to have a good customer experience.

Recently, I read a blog by Ron Miller (author at TechCrunch and former corporate blogger for Intronis) entitled “I’m so over customer surveys”. He talks about his annoyance with endless survey requests regarding company products and services. Miller explained that while a customer feedback survey intends to enhance customer experience, it is the customer experience itself being compromised and I couldn’t agree more. The lack of understanding on how to take customer feedback is what makes it worse. Somehow, these kinds of initiatives from some businesses don’t seem to work well. Little did they know that it’s not just the customer experience that is suffering, but the integrity of the business itself. The question is, what can a business do to turn things around?

We already know voice-of-customer is important, but without further knowledge on how to use and analyze it, this can either make or break its effectiveness. Here are three reasons why, and how you can prevent it.


Undefined goals

Are you asking the right questions? Many businesses are seeking answers. Knowing what makes your customers like or dislike your products/services is a game-changer. The problem is some businesses tend to just start taking initiatives without prior knowledge of what they want to achieve in the first place. Without a defined goal or objective, there will be no clear solutions. Before anything else, it is important to know what key performance indicators you plan to measure. This will give the data recording a logical result and will make the rest of the processing significantly easier.

There’s no technology that can be the answer to a better customer experience in the absence of effective strategy and planning.


Survey fatigue

Yes, there is a thing called survey fatigue and it is more common than you think. There are two kinds, survey response fatigue, and survey-taking fatigue.

Survey response fatigue happens when a customer gets asked to answer a feedback but because anyone can only do so much, at one point, the motivation for anyone to participate (even the employees) will drop and produces a ripple effect such as low response rates.

Survey-taking fatigue, on the other hand, happens when customers leave halfway through the survey process, or when surveys are too long, the user starts to lose interest in answering properly which results in surveys getting poor and inaccurate results.

Email spamming or even popping surveys on a page every time a user interacts on something is not a way to solve it and will trigger survey fatigue. One way to avoid this from happening to customers or even employees is to properly time when and where this should be delivered. Set a way that surveys are done regularly (not daily). There are ways to which a business can adapt a style of sending out non-intrusive survey requests, using tools that can integrate rules when to deliver requests (e.g. follow-up survey after 6 months).

Companies want to understand how they are doing, but when you ask over and over, people get numb and stop paying attention


Untailored customer journey mapping

Creating a good customer experience also means meeting the goals at every stage of the customer journey. Otherwise, a customer will just feel lost. Miller’s blog has a solid point where, unfortunately, this is happening in the opposite direction. Asking a customer feedback every step of the way for every stage in a customer journey is not how a business should be doing it and will only cause survey fatigue. The intent gets foggy when you suddenly notice the same questions are being asked every time you make an interaction which makes you think, does this company care what you tell them?

Map the journey. This is one way to make sure that your business has a customer-centric mindset. Align your operational data with journey maps to discover opportunities and perhaps see through what is not working. Often, businesses give freedom to consumers to tell what they think without filling up a survey through product reviews and or ratings where the public can openly tell something about their experiences. Businesses should be able to analyze and assign this information at a certain stage of the journey. By doing so, it will avoid asking customers questions that have already been answered. Another option to make this simpler for everybody is to ask one open-ended question. Open-ended feedback has an increased chance of authentic response. This is because respondents freely state memorable events during their interaction with a business.


7 ways to increase response rates of NPS surveys


When a business says “we value your thoughts”, I would like to assume that they mean what they say because otherwise, what is the point of all these? As a consumer myself, when asked for a customer feedback, I’d like to believe that it is meant for our benefit too, and not just for the company to use as a marketing tool because I think that there’s always room for improvement in creating a good customer experience.