Survey fatigue is a serious condition. And it always begins the same way.
First comes the rash of emails asking for feedback about a brand encounter that happened days earlier. Over time, consumers become desensitized to survey requests and less inclined to respond, except in extreme cases (they want to rave about a five-star experience, or they’re irate and ready to unleash hell).
Now here’s the rub for brands: they’re both the source of survey fatigue and the hardest hit by it. In their desperate attempts to capture the voice of the customer, they try offering discounts or chances to win prizes. But the response rates never change. So brands gather up their meager response rates and make do.
This is no way to live!
Rest assured, there is a better way. If customer loyalty matters to you, you need to understand the damage survey fatigue causes and how you can beat it for good.
Survey Fatigue Drains Customer Relationships
Over the past two decades, many brands have seen survey response rates drop from about 20% to as low as 2%. So what accounts for these dismal numbers?
- Many surveys aren’t easy to access, they take too long to complete, and they’re no fun. Who wouldn’t dread the thought of filling out another lame, soul-crushing survey?
- Then there’s the cost/benefit question. What’s in it for customers? What will they get in return for expressing their opinions? They have no idea who will see the survey, and they doubt they’ll see a change in the company’s service practices or quality. In truth, no tangible “reward” for filling out the survey can compensate for wasted time.
As bad as 2-3% response rates are, they’re only part of the problem. Survey fatigue can actually damage customer relationships. When companies push surveys that are brand-centered and don’t offer any emotional reward, they deplete the brand equity built up during the customer’s most recent interaction.
None of this is to suggest you should stop asking for feedback. (Let’s be real: you can’t compete without it.) In fact, your goal should be to capture more customer data in ways that actually build brand equity and loyalty.
Voice of the Customer and Customer Loyalty: 4 Tips for Acquiring Both
A well-designed survey that originates from the front-line can deliver far more valuable business intelligence by way of a 40-60% response rate. It’s also a powerful relationship-building tool that makes customers feel essential to the brand.
Here’s how you can achieve similar results.
1. Issue survey requests immediately
Asking customers for input right after a service contact ends makes the survey part of the experience. Satisfied customers still feel the “high” from connecting with a brand representative, and dissatisfied customers can easily recall the small details that left a bad impression. Both groups are likely to give a timely survey their full attention and effort.
2. Humanize them
Brands often send survey requests on behalf of . . . the brand. But customers are much more receptive to a survey request from the actual agent who handled their interaction. If the feedback request includes a photo and brief bio of the agent, it helps to further humanize the brand and deepen the customer connection.
3. Keep them brief
The longer your survey, the likelier your customers are to abandon it (and regret wasting time on it). Don’t pack the survey with questions for the sake of asking; ask fewer questions, and make sure every question you include has a specific purpose.
4. Make them fun
Gamified surveys are visually appealing and fun to complete. At the touch of a button, customers can easily rate agents’ performance (1-5 stars), provide comments, and recommend a variety of rewards. All of these elements work together to make gamified surveys hard to resist.
Beating Survey Fatigue: What Happens Next?
Maybe you’re not convinced survey fatigue is a serious problem. Or you’re okay with a 3% response rate. If so, consider what a permanent cure can do for your brand.
1. Higher response rates = greater ROI
When it comes to corporate strategy, we’ve written about the dangers of flying blind. You need a much fuller picture of the customer experience to compete effectively and avoid costly mistakes. After your response rates go up 10 times or more, you’ll get more actionable insights and a much greater return on your data collection program.
2. Greater influence on the customer relationship
Customers who receive immediate, personalized feedback requests feel heard and valued. This is important to all customers, but particularly to those who’ve had negative service experiences. Giving these customers a timely say makes it less likely they’ll vent their frustrations on social media.
3. Opportunities to build awareness and sales
Front-line surveys aren’t just for collecting data. With customizable brand-building tools, you can use your survey requests to promote special offers or ask customers to share their positive experiences across social media.
How You Survey Customers Makes a World of Difference
In a world where survey fatigue is rampant, a great survey can quickly distinguish your brand and build brand equity with existing customers. By maximizing the opportunity in front of you, you can increase brand awareness, attract new customers, and generate new sales revenue.
Travelzoo has discovered for itself all the brand-, relationship-, and revenue-building benefits of front-line feedback requests. Click here to learn how the company used its survey program to achieve a 56% response rate, acquire new members, and generate a 6x ROI on its investment.