Customers Tire from Surveys

“It’s crucial to not only listen to customers, but also to understand the motivation for their feedback.”- Josh Pigford

Businesses and companies, irrespective of their stature and size desperately need customers to remain with them and surveys seem to be the best form of building a connection. Feedback surveys are viewed as insights into the customer’s world and tools that will help understand how best to keep them pleased and loyal. However, customers tire from surveys especially if they are too many, complex and have too many questions. Besides, all the companies that they would have ever purchased goods or services would hanker behind them to receive feedback, making your company’s survey one in the melee. Customers tire from surveys given that they have a million business imperatives and these surveys often seem like a business transaction that would further the cause of the company and not that of the customer.

Customers realize that businesses need and want their opinion and would request for feedback. However, customers tire from surveys when they seem relentless, accompany every purchase or even after a simple query that a person may pose by either calling or some other means of communication. As a customer you would know that these incessant ‘requests’ can be quite irritating and seem like an imposition on one’s time. Customers tire from surveys because they are everywhere – via the phone, email, smart devices, social media sites and they feel bombarded by requests to ‘express their feelings’ on a range of products and on a plethora of parameters. A friend once, fed up of surveys, wrote in bold letters on the top of one such survey – “My feedback is to stop sending me so many surveys”. It may seem funny, but she was at her nerves’ end – representative of how other customers may feel being under the onslaught of the feedback surveys. Customers tire from surveys because they give the impression of badgering and coercing customers into providing feedback. Over time, the resultant exasperation is possibly one of the main reasons why response rates decline.

In addition, customers tire from surveys also because there are often no incentives attached to completing them. “What’s in it for us” remains unanswered. Surveys have become so commonplace, so focused on the company and tough that customers simply ignore them. Would you as a customer want to feel as though you are reappearing for the hardest examination you ever took? If you did feel this way, would it not be easier to leave it unanswered since you have a choice? Despite these signals and drops in responses, companies still seem to be unable to stop themselves from constantly asking customers to complete feedback surveys. Customers tire from surveys also because the ‘promise’ of they being a 5-minute exercise is never kept – most stop after being at it for around 10-12 minutes.

Even though companies have many more ways to gather information and opinions, – social media as an example – they still seem to favour customer feedback surveys. There are a number of reasons – customer surveys are more detailed provide more depth of feelings as they allow the customers to express more in comparison and hence are preferred as a means. In addition, the responses received from customers (especially the good comments), about a particular part of the company and the company as a whole, often link back to the increments and bonuses that people within the company get. To top these reasons is the one where companies believe that surveys are about creating relationships and exchanging information with customers. However, these are all reasons that benefit the company hence provide no reason for customers to be interested and make customers tire from surveys.

We are not suggesting that surveys are not powerful or a great medium to gain customer insights. What we do mean is that given their potential companies must meticulously draft them, space them out and use them wisely in order to gain from them. Companies need these surveys to fashion their business and offerings around what customers want but if customers tire from surveys, companies would not be able to achieve their long and short-term goals. It is in the best interest of a company to receive maximum responses from the surveys they send out and hence must ensure that these feedback questionnaires be constructed properly, are easy to negotiate, are not too long and add value to the customers as well. If customers tire from surveys all the effort and resources invested in preparing them would be a sordid waste. In order for these surveys to help a company gauge the amount of customer satisfaction and predict the rate of customer retention, they must remain interesting and engaging for customers.

Before sending out a survey, remember that customers tire from surveys and so when you do send it out, it should reflect specific goals. Every business has a set of goals and while sending out the survey, it would be beneficial to share these goals with your customers to enable them to see how achieving those goals would benefit them. The understanding that they stand to gain from providing feedback will make them more willing and amenable to complete the survey with the utmost diligence. However, even despite the benefits, customers tire from surveys if they are too frequent and appear to pop up each time they interact with your company. The age-old truism – ‘too much of a good thing is also bad’ – holds true for feedback surveys as well, irrespective of how great and well articulated they may be.

The length of the feedback surveys matters as much as the frequency. Experts recommend that they be limited to about 15-20 questions at best and should be easy enough to get over with in a maximum of about 10 minutes. The questions should be easily understood else, they could confuse the respondents leading them to either incorrectly answer or not at all. In both cases, the results of the survey would not be accurate. Customers tire from surveys that bewilder them or on which they have to spend too much effort or time.

It would be prudent to get the survey questionnaires designed by professionals in the field. They would know exactly how to frame the questions – the language used, the phrases that would catch the attention of the respondents and overall present an extremely professional and courteous image of the company. The survey questions must match the overall culture and branding strategies of the company and be such that customers remain interested in answering them right to the end. The attempt is to further the bond that a company may have formed with the customer or create a new one.

Customers tire from surveys if they are unable to perceive some kind of value for themselves. Offering a ‘completion incentive or freebie’ would help to increase responses and gain the required data. The incentives do not need to be very expensive but could be anything that encourages the respondents to not only complete the survey but also want to buy from the company in the future.

Deciding how many surveys and of what length is a tricky prospect for any company. It would be prudent to send out surveys based on the customer segmentation and at stalled intervals. In doing so, your company receives feedback from one group and has time to process the feedback before sending out another survey to a different segment. In addition, each customer segment has enough time before the next survey reaches them. Breaking up the feedback surveys into groups will provide timely information to your company and allow it to improve where required.

The aim of a customer feedback surveys is for the company to improve and for the customers to know that they are valued and important. Customers tire from surveys that are poorly framed, too frequent and so tough that they come across as tough exams. Take a good hard look at the results of the last feedback survey and the responses before sending out the next one so that the mistakes and annoyances of the last one eliminated and customers are happy to respond this time round.

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