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Cynthia Clark | May 17, 2012

Five Tactics to Avoid Survey Fatigue

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survey.jpgOrganizations want to know what their customers think about them and what they can do to improve their customers' experience. This is even more important in a competitive environment and in the age of social media where customers are very quick to share their opinions.

But in their zeal to get information, some organizations are overloading their customers with numerous surveys that have an exhaustive list of questions, potentially alienating them from giving their insight. And with more customers providing their email address when purchasing a product or service, it's becoming easier for organizations to reach out to them and ask what they think.

However, according to Erich Dietz, vice president of business solutions at Mindshare Technologies, some companies are not being respectful of their customers' time and energy when it comes to gathering feedback. "The problem is that they're doing it in a non-customer friendly way," he notes.

Dietz says long surveys are contributing to survey fatigue among customers, who are more likely to give feedback when surveys are short and they think the company will take action on the information they're are providing. Here, he shares five tactics that businesses should include in their feedback-gathering strategy:

Keep surveys brief: Customers are busy and although they might want to share their thoughts with a company, they don't want to spend a long time answering tens of questions. Dietz says companies should keep their surveys as short as possible and make sure they're easy for customers to understand and respond to.

Make the process of doing business easy: Dietz says organizations should try to collect information immediately following an interaction, rather than send a survey a week later. For example, if a customer has made an online purchase, the company should ask for his feedback while he's still on the website.

Compensate customers for their time: Everyone likes getting something in return for their efforts. "You're asking customers to give you their time," Dietz says. One suggestion is to offer a discount on a future purchase.

Tell people en masse when you're making changes based on their feedback: Customers want to make sure they're not wasting time giving feedback, so organizations need to make it a point to highlight the action they've taken. Dietz says Dominos Pizza has done a good job of broadcasting its actions, using customer feedback for its ads.

Respond to individual surveys when a service lapse occurs: Dietz recommends responding to customers who refer to a bad experience individually. "Drive local accountability and remedy the problem to try and recover the customer," he says.

Additionally, Dietz recommends encouraging customers to give feedback in their own words rather than just tick boxes. "Create a dialogue," he says.

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