Hand Holding Mobile With Feedback Survey

Fed up with being asked to give feedback

Why pestering your customers about your performance is counter-productive 

Written by Professor Gary Martin FAIM
3 minute read
Hand Holding Mobile With Feedback Survey

In their eagerness to improve the customer experience, some companies are inadvertently doing the opposite by nagging consumers for feedback on how they are performing.

If you recently bought a car, signed up for insurance or shopped for pretty much anything, chances are that within seconds of your purchase you will have been asked to “take a few moments of your time to complete our survey” because “we’d love to know how we treated you today” while completing the survey will “help us to help you”.

The flood of feedback requests is starting to wear thin with consumers, with many suffering from survey fatigue and refusing to take time out to share their thoughts.

There is no doubt that surveying customers can assist an organisation to improve the experience provided to customers.

What was once an exceptionally slow exercise involving handwritten documents and postage stamps has become easier for the businesses seeking feedback as well as the customers whose feedback is sought.

Low-cost online and automated survey technologies have meant that more businesses than ever are able to jump on the bandwagon and chase their customers’ opinions.

But those technologies, combined with a pandemic-induced online “spendemic”, mean survey demands placed on consumers are at an all-time high.

Coming to us via our computers, smartphones, tablets and even landlines, we are being tugged on the sleeve like never before to give our views on car repairs, hand creams and coffee makers and visits to the dentist, vet and restaurants.

Are you satisfied with your purchase? How well did the salesperson treat you? How would you rate the support you received? Was the waiting room clean? Would you recommend our services to a friend? The list of questions seems endless.

Too many surveys, with too many questions, too often result in the beleaguered consumer turning their back on the feedback-gathering exercise.

Survey response rates will drop like flies and it is not hard to understand why.

Many consumers feel uncomfortable when approached for feedback because they prefer to speak up only when they are either exceptionally pleased or extremely disappointed.

Some become annoyed when companies continue to send surveys after every purchase or service transaction, even if previous requests have been ignored, while others feel companies are overstepping the mark by sending multiple reminders to respond to the same survey.

Increasingly, some consumers feel their contact details are being misused and even exploited when they are asked to complete customer experience surveys.

They provided their contact details in good faith so they could be kept informed of new products or sales – not to receive a barrage of surveys they had no interest in nor intention of completing.

There are also those customers who feel placed in an awkward situation when they are offered a form of reward to complete a survey, feeling undue pressure to rate experiences highly because of that incentive.

It is also the case that some customers walk away from surveys because there are too many questions or because they are regularly misled about the time required to complete the survey.

The impact of survey fatigue is serious, with many customers fed up with being asked to give too much feedback too often.

Not only can survey fatigue result in the recording of a bad customer experience because consumers feel frustrated, annoyed and harassed but it also can damage a company’s brand and drive buyers away altogether.

As our online spending onslaught continues and the number of surveys we are sent shows no sign of abating any time soon, perhaps what is really needed is a “survey about surveys” to find out how we really feel about being asked to provide our feedback.

Either that or we could all consider going on a prolonged survey strike.