What is survey fatigue and how can you prevent it?


Last updated on January 4, 2023

“How likely would you be to recommend (insert business name) to someone?” – An endless question asked in multiple ways and several forms. Almost every day it feels like a deja vu moment since every company says, “Your opinion matters” or “You are important to use”.



I mean, we get it. In order to maintain customer loyalty, businesses must engage customers until the very end and treat every customer journey equally. Nowadays, many businesses apply voice-of-customer programs to their operations and treat them as valuable sources of information since it shows that they value what customers have to say.

Furthermore, this makes it easier to close the loop with 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 positive 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.

In Miller’s view, a customer feedback survey is intended to enhance the customer experience, but in reality it compromises the customer experience itself. What makes it more difficult is the lack of understanding of how to take customer feedback.

Businesses sometimes don’t seem to be able to succeed with these kinds of initiatives. They didn’t realize that the business’ integrity was also being compromised as well as the customer experience. The question is, what can a business do to turn things around?

We already know voice-of-customer is important, but without further knowledge of 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 that lead to nowhere

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 that 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.

Brad Cleveland quote


Survey fatigue will often occur

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.

In a survey response fatigue situation, a customer is asked for feedback, but because anyone can only do so much, at some point, motivation for anyone to participate (even employees) will drop and a ripple effect occurs.

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 with something is not a way to solve it and will trigger survey fatigue. One way to avoid this happening to customers or even employees is to properly time when and where this should be delivered. Set it up so surveys are done regularly (not daily).

Remember! There are ways in which a business can adopt a style of sending out non-intrusive survey requests, using tools that can integrate rules when delivering requests (e.g. follow-up survey after 6 months).


Ron Miller Quote


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 makes a very valid point, but unfortunately, this is happening in the opposite direction. Asking customer feedback every step of the way for every stage of a customer journey is not how a business should be doing it. This will only cause survey fatigue.

The intent gets clouded when you suddenly notice the same questions are being asked every time you engage in an interaction. This 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 consumers the opportunity to tell what they think without filling up a survey through product reviews and or ratings. This is where the public can openly share 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 an 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 this?

Customer feedback, when requested, should, in my opinion, be used for both the consumer and the company’s benefit. This is because I believe there is always room for improvement when it comes to creating a positive customer experience.


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