Your Surveys Aren’t Effective Anymore: 5 Ways to Change That

Customer Experience is the key to understanding your audience, responding to their experiences, and growing your business. And just about every CX strategy is fueled by surveys.  

How was the website experience? Did the product delivery meet customer expectations? Are your customers satisfied? What are the experience gaps in your CX strategy? There is a survey for everything! 

Marketers believe – and rightly so – that the more information you have, the more effectively you can identify pain points and respond to them. However, too much information can also be a problem.  

Have you heard about the theory of peak effectiveness?  

For example, stress, to a certain extent, is effective in increasing productivity, but too much of it and productivity begins to decline. This is the case across the board. But how does it pertain to surveys? 

Surveys in CX programs have hit their peak – and now they are everywhere. As a consequence, they aren’t as effective as they once were. 

There was a time when gathering clear customer feedback was unheard of, and surveys helped change that. They helped businesses get clear, actionable insights from customers that in turn fueled marketing and experience strategies. Today, they can hamper exactly that. 

While customers were once more than happy to fill out a survey and voice their opinion, today surveys have become an annoyance. Instead of being a gateway into customer insights, CustomerInsights has stated that today the average response rate for customer surveys varies between 10-30% – that’s not even half! Those that fill you’re a survey are usually extremely satisfied or dissatisfied by your product, leaving businesses and stakeholders to wonder – what about the rest of the customers? 

But if surveys are an annoyance, how do you find out what your customers think? Of all methods businesses employ, surveys are by far the most popular and effective means of collecting and decoding customer insights. 

And, let’s face it, having no surveys is a lot worse than having too many of them.  

But there is a way out. In fact, here are 5 ways to continue collective feedback while also enabling surveys regain their effectiveness: 

Cut Back

If too many surveys are doing exactly the opposite of their intent, this one is a no-brainer. Go through your CX program, and ask yourself this, ‘is that survey absolutely necessary?’ 

Forego all the surveys you’ve created for the lesser concerns and reserve the surveys for key touch-points in your CX journey.  

Maybe your customers don’t need to fill out a survey after adding something to cart, after payment checkout, or even when exiting the website. Instead, maybe it can just be a quick rating scale, if anything. 

After all, when you’re demanding too much of your customers’ time, it can often backfire.  

Instead, wherever possible, make the surveys quick and effortless, or remove them altogether. 

This reduces the survey fatigue often experienced by customers, and instead ensures that surveys – when asked – receive accurate responses. 

Analyze Behavior 

Customer Experience is only effective so long as it’s ever evolving. Now that you’ve cut back on surveys, you need to find other ways to get insights – and here’s how! 

Observing behavior can tell you a lot about customers without even asking – and I’m not just talking about how customers behave in a store. Online behavior can tell you a lot too.  

Take a look at website behavior, bounce rates, conversion rates, and more. By simply observing their patterns, the time they spend on a page, or even the email click through rate, you can get to know a lot about how effective your current strategies are.  

For example, if customers spend far too long on a page without taking the next action step, it’s safe to assume that the website experience isn’t as intuitive as it should be. It’s more likely that they didn’t notice the next action for a while.  

On the other hand, if you have a high bounce rate, maybe your marketing efforts need to be retargeted instead. 

Stand Out from the Crowd 

Just because everyone is doing something doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do things.  

This is especially so with surveys. In fact, businesses often justify the need for one long survey by getting maximum customer insights. Except, here’s the thing – long surveys are very easily an annoyance for your customer.  

They take time to fill out – time they may not otherwise want to give you. Instead, make the process effortless by cutting the surveys short. What’s more – one question surveys are the magic solution you need.  

Realizing the downside of extensive, in-depth surveys, businesses started implementing these and realized just how easy they are. As surveys go, these are virtually effortless, and have a much higher response rate. Moreover, they often target your customers in the moment, and therefore are more likely to get authentic answers. 

Follow-up questions can be optional and interactive in design. After all, if you must ask more questions, make it captivating at least to keep your customers engaged and honest.  

What’s the Incentive? 

Your customers’ time has a tangible monetary value attached to it. So, when you ask them to fill out a survey for you, what are they getting in return? 

Survey incentives don’t automatically mean a 100% response rate, but who doesn’t love getting rewards? It can be as little as a discount code or a free gift, and you’ll notice your response rates shoot up.  

Even then, it’s important to note that an incentive isn’t the golden ticket to getting a higher response rate on all surveys. If your survey ends up being a little too long, customers might just think that the reward isn’t worth the effort.  

So even when offering an incentive, always keep your customer in mind. Remove unnecessary questions, and don’t make anything mandatory unless essential to your survey. 

Anticipate Feedback Channels 

Surveys can be an annoyance, especially when they reach customers through a channel they don’t love.  

Imagine getting a coupon for 25% off upon completing the survey, but the survey itself needs to be accessed via a website – for which you may need to enter your ID.  

It just doesn’t work. Even when you’re offering your customers something in return, a survey is essential to grow your business and as such, your customers are the ones doing you a favor. So, make it easier for them by understanding and anticipating their mode of participation.  

Send out the survey by email so that you may pre-fill data and make the entire process more seamless. Or take a quick poll on social media, asking customers quick questions.  

Today, surveys don’t need to look like an endless questionnaire. It can be as easy as an Instagram story poll or asking customers open-ended questions.  

Final Thoughts

Surveys as we know them are changing. That is not to say that long surveys, focus group research, and extensive interviews are out the window – these are still highly effective ways of understanding and anticipating market needs and wants and are the best source of information in certain situation. However, extensive surveys are definitely not ideal to gauge audience sentiment quickly, and it’s time we realize that. 

The best means of gathering information quick are effortless, and it’s time businesses start implementing that.