Customer Survey Fatigue

Rochelle Shearlds
Rochelle Shearlds Member Posts: 4 Navigator
Greetings everyone,

First post :-) Excited to connect!

I would like to get feedback on customer survey best practices. I am expanding our VoC program for 2022 and would like to roll out an effective program that doesnt cause survey fatigue and encourages responses. We currently send NPS, CSAT at the end of each support transaction, and Post implementation CSAT. I would like to add CES but am thinking that could be too much. 

1. Any best practices on the number of surveys and frequency of each survey?
2. Favorite platforms?
3. Tips on how to increase response rates?

I will also review historical threads for more info 

Thanks so much!


  • Jodi Millen
    Jodi Millen Member Posts: 14 Contributor
    edited December 2021
    Great question Rochelle!
    Survey fatigue is indeed a thing.  Couple of thoughts I can offer:

    -don't just use surveys, try out different types of feedback approaches like graphical rating polls (thumbs up/down, emoji responses), mix up text-based surveys with image-based surveys, Video pulses (video ratings), Hotspots for images, long-form text responses (analyzed with wordclouds).  All of these work really well for capturing emotional sentiment, which, when combined with numerical stat data presents a really fulsome customer picture.  And all work really well for evaluating NPS and CSAT.

    -increasing response rates is always a challenge.  The most effective tools are, of course, incentives.  If budget is an issue then you don't need to (nor should you) provide an incentive to everyone who responds.  Instead, you can offer a chance at winning through a random draw of all respondents.  This adds the increased value of collecting contact information.  If you use a random draw or any other contest-type incentive, just be sure to include contest rules.
    -if you are running regular VoC initiatives, I might recommend looking at an online VoC community that can incorporate incentives through gamification with reward levels.  The more customers engage, the higher their level, the higher their level the better the rewards they can receive.

    -as for platforms, I think you should explore what type of feedback you will be focusing on and have that determine what type of app or platform you require.  Many community platforms have survey and poll integrations.  When you combine that with discussions and gamification you can get a pretty robust 360 view of your customer.  There are many many many options and you may not need to invest in a complete platform.   My only advice is to explore as thoroughly as possible upfront as transferring and migrating data is a royal pain in the you-know-what.

    I hope that helps!
  • Steve Bernstein
    Steve Bernstein Member Posts: 132 Expert
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited December 2021
    Hi @Rochelle Shearlds -- Great questions! My experience differs quite a bit from @Jodi Millen in that B2B VoC is radically different from consumer/B2C. Here are a few thoughts and I'm happy to continue the discussion:
    1. You mention "customer" but not clear who you mean.  If it were my program, I'd probably want to prioritize getting feedback from the stakeholder team (the people who influence purchase and renewal decisions for your products and services). Many companies suffer from poor data and not even knowing who the right "stakeholder" contacts are for any given account, so I'd suggest first to determine what your program objectives are: Do you want end-user feedback to give to the product team Do you want stakeholder feedback to determine potential to renew and expand?  Do you want to understand advocacy?  Etc... 

    2. According to McKinsey & Company (and our experience reflects this completely), "A common belief is that survey fatigue is driven by the number and length of surveys deployed. That turns out to be a myth. While survey fatigue is real and deserves leaders' attention, there are many misconceptions around what drives it and how to overcome it. ... the number one driver of survey fatigue was the perception that the organization wouldn't act on the results."

    3. Response rate is indeed one of the most important KPIs in B2B. The research shows (happy to provide it) that SILENT accounts -- those not providing feedback / responding to your "help me help you" message -- are up to 14x more likely to churn than accounts responding.  So, if you want high responses then you need to put something good into for the customer. Just saying, "Your feedback is important" will not work -- everyone says that!  If you really want high engagement then you'll want to work out the process to effectively communicate what you plan to do with their feedback. The more direct the commitment is, and the more directly you communicate that commitment to your customer, then the better your response rates will be. We see response rates of 80%+ all the time, providing a key indicator of the strength of the relationship(s) with the right people in the account.

    4. Along with working out objectives of what you want to learn, questionnaire design will be important to uncover those learnings. Remember that NPS, CES, and CSAT were all built with CONSUMERS as the target, and since B2B is so different you will want to explore the questions that make sense for your audience. Do they see value? Do they feel you care about their success? Is the product and service you are delivering meeting their expectations?  Do they want more out of the relationship then what they are getting?  Etc... work out from the "customer's" perspective (remember persona from point #1, e.g. many stakeholders never log on or interact with your support so don't ask them irrelevant questions) what they would want to tell you, with their expectation that the feedback will not go unanswered.

    One of the things that I love about this line of work is that there are so many edges to it!  I've been in the VoC world for over 20 years and would be delighted to share more. Feel free to DM me as well if a live discussion could help or if there are other resources and templates I can share. I am working on a new whitepaper (currently in draft) that goes into these discussions in more detail... I'd love some feedback on as well if you're up for it!
  • Jodi Millen
    Jodi Millen Member Posts: 14 Contributor
    edited December 2021
    100% Steve!  The perspective of client versus customer is super important and drives the research approach.  B2B and B2C are not the same.  And thank you for including the great point about articulating what you will be doing with the research.  That is a key driver.
  • Rochelle Shearlds
    Rochelle Shearlds Member Posts: 4 Navigator
    edited December 2021
    Thanks so much for taking the time to provide your perspective, Jodi! I just started testing incentives so excited to see the results. I will put these suggestions in front of my engineering team to see if some of these are possible. I love the idea of graphical rating polls and would like to build in-platform engagement.
  • Rochelle Shearlds
    Rochelle Shearlds Member Posts: 4 Navigator
    edited December 2021
    Steve thank you for the thoughtful response. I think a live discussion maybe beneficial for sure-so much to consider! I am in the healthcare industry, specifically eClinical so the term customer is very layered. The end user has heavy influence on the decision maker and can often make or break a relationship. Our objectives are focused around both but ultimately we'd love to create a reference program from the decision maker promoters. 

    I completely agree with the theory behind survey fatigue and that sentiment is real for some customers. Particularly around feature requests that go undelivered. That's a topic for another day! Ha!

    I would love to continue this discussion with you as I am learning.

    Talk soon!
  • Anita Toth
    Anita Toth Member Posts: 246 Expert
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments Photogenic
    edited December 2021

    @Rochelle Shearlds

    Wow! You've received a lot of great responses so far ?

    I'd like to add that increased participation in your VOC can be achieved by filling in gaps in your program.

    Survey fatigue, low response rate, low engagement, as Steve Bernstein pointed out, can all be overcome.

    It's a matter of building the proper processes that encourage your customers to participate.

    And that's what a well-rounded VOC program can do.

    This matrix shows you all the elements of a properly run and effective VOC. 

    There are 2 ways to look at this:

    1) what elements are missing in your current VOC program that leading to poor response rates?

    2) what processes need to be created to increase customer response rates between these VOC elements?

    The more these gaps are filled, the easier it becomes to make strategic and tactical decisions with respect to your customers. 

    The great thing is that the better defined your VOC program is, the more you can use it in all areas of decision-making.

    Happy to chat further with you about where your current VOC program is and where you'd like to see it. ?

  • Rochelle Shearlds
    Rochelle Shearlds Member Posts: 4 Navigator
    edited December 2021
    Thanks so much, Anita! Very helpful resource!