Survey FatigueRegardless of whether an organization surveys all its customers (ie a census)  or only a sampling of them, if it is possible for a customer to receive multiple surveys in a short period of time, then survey fatigue can become a factor.

Why is Eliminating Survey Fatigue Important?

If is it possible that a customer’s activities with your organization might trigger multiple surveys in a short period of time, they may become annoyed at being asked to provide feedback over and over again. They may  refuse to provide feedback or provide lower than usual scores, not because the engagement was unsatisfactory but because they are tired of being asked.

There are some customers who have a corporate policy of not being surveyed or there may be individuals within an organization who do not want to be surveyed.

What is Eliminating Survey Fatigue entail?

A process needs to be created to review which clients are candidates to be surveyed and remove those customers that have provided feedback within  the survey fatigue window or prefer not to be surveyed.

How to create a Survey Fatigue process.

1. Determine the minimum time between surveys. At IBM, we chose 6 months between surveys, unless there were mitigating circumstances and the customer agreed in advance to be surveyed. Some of the complexities that should be considered here.

a. Does the survey fatigue extend to a single person with an organization or for the entire organization.

b. If multiple departments within an organization perform or commission their own surveys, will survey fatigue be done at the company level or at the department level?

2. Before sending out survey requests, check a data base of existing surveys, completed or in progress. Determine which prospective customers would be within the survey fatigue window. Remove them from the survey process.

3. Provide for an override for extenuating circumstances, where a customer is agreeable to being surveyed within the survey fatigue window. Perhaps they agree to be surveyed for different parts of the organization or product line.

4. Provide a process for customers who never want to be surveyed to be removed from all survey requests, either at the corporation level, or at an individual level. Provide for the regular review of these exceptions as organizational policies can change and as can people.

Where to start

1. Analyze survey responses. Are you getting fewer results than you expect? Are you surveying the same people over and over again. Determine if you have a problem.

2. Interview a subset of your customers to learn how they react to your surveys.

3. Set a policy in place and communicate it to appropriate management and staff.

4. Implement a Survey Fatigue Process.

5. Continuously monitor results to determine if your fatigue process is working and if customers are agreeing to provide feedback.

6. Adjust if necessary.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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