A survey about surveys, really?

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

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I love surveys (in fact, I have a pin on my laptop bag that says as much!).  As a market researcher by trade, surveys are - unsurprisingly - one of my most used and most treasured tools for answering business questions, generating insights and getting a read on the health of our business. By my count, my team at Khoros has run at least a dozen surveys in the last 18 months. And I’m not the only team running surveys; our Voice of Customer team pings our customers for NPS feedback, our Support team sends surveys after tickets are resolved, our Product team sends surveys to get feedback on new capabilities… and the list goes on. 

Which is precisely why it felt a little awkward when I suggested we run a (you guessed it) survey to uncover the dark, ugly truth about what people think of surveys and how honest they really are when responding to them. The research industry has been abuzz about survey fatigue for over a decade, so I knew going into this that the feedback would be worrisome.  And I was right. Consider just a few of the following stats: 

  • People get a lot of surveys but respond to few: 86% of consumers have received at least one request for survey feedback, but only 7% respond to all of them
  • Survey takers might not always be honest: 23% say they speed through surveys haphazardly just to get the prize, and 35% have been coached by an employee to give a positive rating on a survey they’re about to receive
  • Consumers don’t like your surveys, so they abandon ship mid-way: 57% of consumers have abandoned a survey before finishing, with 73% saying it was too long.

Now, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The majority of consumers (64%) say they appreciate when a brand seeks out their feedback or opinion in a survey - even if they don’t end up responding. And 79% of consumers genuinely feel like the feedback they give in surveys is helpful to brands. So don’t put a halt to sending out surveys just yet. Instead, work to do two things: Improve your current survey program (make ‘em shorter!), and stop relying on surveys alone to tell you how your customers really feel about their experiences with you. 

Why look beyond just surveys?  Nearly half (47%) of consumers say the things they tell a brand or company during their interactions with their employees is so much more meaningful than anything they can tell them in a survey.  And 76% think a brand should care about their overall experience with them, not just their feedback on a single interaction or purchase.  Your customers are voicing their opinions everywhere - in their chat exchanges, on the phone with your contact center, in the reviews they write, in the comments they leave on social - and so many more places.  If you’re not listening to that feedback, and relying only on the small sliver of feedback you get in surveys, you’re never going to fully understand what the landscape of your customer experience looks like. 

To read more about what we heard in our survey about surveys, and to get some tips for how to make your feedback program more effective beyond just surveys, head on over to the Khoros blog to read our full article.  And of course, feel free to ping me directly if you need advice on how to improve surveys or want to chat about how our CX Insights solution can help broaden your understanding of your customers’ experiences.