How can over-surveying (too many surveys) customers ever be bad?
We all know that regular surveying of customers is a great way to find out what you’re doing well, and what needs improving. The insight is especially valuable if the feedback is from your most passionate customers. These are the ones who not only buy from you, but are willing to spend their valuable time giving you feedback. This information is valuable. Gold dust valuable. You will discover aspects of your service that lead to a better customer experience, improve customer satisfaction and higher profits. Surveying too much has unfortunate consequences for the business.
So, What’s the Problem with Too Many Surveys?
The problem comes when you request your customers to fill out the same types of surveys after every purchase or after service transaction, whether they’ve responded to you recently or not. Some industries are worse than others, but hotel feedback and auto dealer feedback seem to be the worst culprits. Moreover, it does not matter the feedback mechanism. Email surveys are as bad as online surveys.
Loyal customers are exactly what we want. They are repeat buyers that spend more money with us. Moreover, they recommend us to others – of course we want their opinion. But, when you bombard them with customer surveys, their loyalty erodes and response rates decline. This is “survey fatigue”. We have highlighted this before. An resource, The Wall Street Journal just published a great article that adds more insight:
It’s time to face up to feedback fatigue
There are FOUR big issues:
1) You’re Numbing Your Customers
Over-surveying is like kicking along a horse that’s already walking. It is a waste of time. You are numbing customers who are already willing to do as you ask. From this sample, there will be a decline in responses, new key findings, and they will delay buying or avoid buying from you altogether. At best, they continue to shop with you, but with a sigh and an eye-roll every time they see the same survey questions. Survey fatigue leading to numbness and low response rates.
2) Bad Blood Between You and Loyal Customers
Loyal customers may begin to dread or resent your constant pestering. Many businesses believe more customer communication leads to improve customer relationships. For surveys, this is false. Over-surveying from poor survey design will drive your customers away as they begin to feel harassed. Future surveys will see a decline in response rates or simply not be answered. Your brand will become damaged as your loyal customers start to leave. Moreover they will tell others why. Ultimately your brand will be perceived as a nuisance.
3) You Break Their Trust
Your customers gave you their contact information so you could keep them informed on big news, new products and sales promotions. As soon as you start messaging them with things they do not want, you break any trust you had built. Trust takes many months to obtain but is destroyed with over-surveying.
4) Customers Will Stop Buying from You
Customers Will Stop Buying from You What will happen when a business over-surveys and produces survey fatigue? If your customers feel that every time they make a purchase, or visit your business they will receive repeated feedback requests, they will defect to your competition. Contacting them over and over (including transactional surveys) is ruining the customer experience and they will find what they’re looking for somewhere else.
If you want to calculate the financial impact of this – use our defection calculator – here.
What’s the Solution to Over-Surveying?
Many ask this question: “How often should you send out surveys?”
This is the wrong question – as it implies the business determines the schedule for feedback for the person. Safeguards must be installed that prevent customers from being essentially punished for buying from you. You also need to limit your survey requests and review the time periods before requests go out. You must also consider the option to allow customers to give on location feedback without a request coming from you. This means they give feedback when they want, and only if they want to. The survey invitation is clear and the survey taker knows the expectations.
How to avoid Over-Surveying your Customers?
There is a better opportunity to put these into place and improve the experience. Opiniator is a customer feedback platform for out of home businesses to collect on-the-spot ratings, comments, and feedback from real consumers using their mobile phone. It uses requests for feedback via signage. Moreover, it is not an online survey, there are no outbound phone surveys, there is no push for automatic information and no survey interval. This means the feedback process is determined by the customer – not the business. Exit surveys, annual surveys and survey frequency no longer feature in the discussion.
This can be done at any time throughout their experience. Our survey logic delivers the right content – perhaps including a single question (like NPS). Companies can respond and connect with the person before they lose them. Opiniator reduces unexpected online complaints and bad reviews when it is too late for you to do anything about them. Consumers can choose how they provide feedback, i.e. web, QR code, SMS, by phone, or email, and only happy Consumers will be prompted to recommend the services or business on social media. The survey process is simple and the goals are clear. Actionable insights are presented and appropriate action is taken. The respondent delivers in minutes, in a survey form they choose. This means experiences are improved without errors in the survey.
Frequent surveying is no longer necessary as essential feedback is delivered by willing customers. Now that is a welcome change and positive message.
Avoiding Survey Fatigue in FOUR Steps
Survey fatigue from over-surveying has a big impact, but is avoided using these 4 steps.