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What is Survey Fatigue and how to combat it?

Jane Treeza

27 August 2019

9 min read

When it comes to studying about an organization’s client base, there is hardly anything more effective and successful than a Customer Satisfaction Survey. Undeniably, for decades, these surveys have given customers quiet a lot of opportunities to elevate their anxieties and chant compliments about their companies to the public. What once commenced as the general store billing clerk asking, “You choose to have your one kilogram of sugar wrap up in a paper or do you prefer to carry it in a sack?” has advanced into online surveys assembling complicated marketing data.

A fair number of populations acknowledge surveys as a spectacle instrument toward open communication with the consumers and regard it as a key in predicting consumer behavior and feelings. On the other side, the minority argue against the efficacy and productiveness of the same on customers as well as on the business. However, the primary motive here is to discover the best approach to get concrete responses to the surveys and to the questions raised, without making the client tiresome or unvalued.

Explaining Survey Fatigue

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, any businessmen would opt for surveys, having understood the influence it generates on their customers. Yes, the opulence of evidence collected through client survey is absolutely powerful and convincing.

Nevertheless, at times, being thick with superlative stuff can make anyone sick just like consuming too much marshmallow makes a person queasy. Of course, surveys can at some time point tire your potential customers too.

Survey Fatigue eventuates when respondents get themselves submerged with the questions or the number of surveys they are asked to rate. Certainly, this situation can result in lower response rates or incomplete information.

Stanford University conducted a study that found Survey Fatigue in three of the four survey areas measured. Therefore, even though it sounds like a cloudy concept, Survey Fatigue is actual and authentic.

Classifying Survey Fatigue

There are two distinct types of Survey Fatigue, both of which can have vital aftermaths on your response rates and data:

  • Survey Response Fatigue 

Survey Response Fatigue occurs before the actual survey begins. Engulfed by the growing number of requests for feedback, respondents will withdraw from your surveys. And as a result, you will put up with low response rates.

  • Survey Taking Fatigue

Survey Taking Fatigue happens during the survey-taking process. Actually, it’s the outcome of much-stretched surveys that consist of questions which are not appropriate to the respondent. It is also the main reason for high rates of abandonment mid survey.

Survey Fatigue is the main reason for the high rates of survey abandonments.

Impacts on your Brand

Survey Fatigue has the hidden ability to fritter away a significant amount of your marketing bucks into the trash bin. Sadly, you will not only be paying for surveys that are upside down or filled out inaccurately, the sums you invested in establishing and marketing your surveys won’t come back to you. In addition, you have the value of the time you used up on this survey and the opportunity costs you forwent in the process.

Customers are highly getting annoyed by survey invitations regardless of being in an epoch where companies’ appetite for customer feedback is persistently on the increase. Remember, this, in turn, can spoil the trademark of your company or product which you have established so far. Also attacking your clients with too many online pop-up surveys is, for the most part, poisonous to your brand’s perception.

Despite the fact, you would like to collect as much information as you can, asking for more data can have an opposite and undesirable effect to what was actually intended. Definitely, if your survey does manage to magnetize your customers during the first few seconds, you will have to enclose it up at the earliest. You can’t rely on those answers your respondents choose or carve after that time.

However, Survey Fatigue seldom has an effect on individuals with extreme views as they undeniably would like their voices to be heard. And this can gradually pave the way towards a form of survey bias known as ‘Non-Response Bias.’ The survey data will not successfully replicate all customers’ views as those who don’t act in response to this possibly would have a totally different outlook.

What causes Survey Fatigue??  

Survey Fatigue signifies low response rates or incomplete/incorrect survey data. For tackling this issue, it’s essential to understand the root causes of Survey Fatigue and those particular reasons behind each of them.


Literally, there is no spell working amount of questions or length of time for the perfect survey. The length of your survey will be conditioned on the subject matter, demography, and the information you are trying to gather.

  • Keep questions clear and concise. Questions that call for a great deal of thinking or reasoning will bring in nervous tension on the survey taker.
  • Avoid open-ended and fill-in-the-blank questions. These types of questions need too much thought on the customer’s part, and they will drop interest.
  • Employ yes/no and multiple-choice questions. Assessment questions with a clear set of choices are easier to get through.
  •  Don’t rely on the rating matrix. It’s not only wearisome, but it’s hard to keep track of, and it’s a chief spot to lose your survey taker.
  • Use ‘skip logic.’ Bear in mind to cut down the duration of your survey by using logic to automatically skip the questions that don’t apply to the situation.


Examine your customers regularly enough to collect first-class data, but never overstrain them with continuous surveys. Always be strategic.

Examine your customers regularly enough to collect first-class data, but never overstrain them with continuous surveys

Delivering a common survey with blurred questions after each transaction in all probability will never get the feedback you are looking for. As an alternative, customize your way of dealing.

Over-surveying not only lessen the chance a customer will value your survey, but it will also damage your brand. Repeated survey invitations can be considered as troublesome and unprofessional.

Boring or Blurred Questions

When writing your survey, keep these tips in mind:

  • Demand a few smaller questions instead of one large complex question. Try to deconstruct a big matter into diminutive, easy-to-digest parts.
  • Craft your questions in a clear cut model. At all times, ask straight questions about specific topics.
  • Bring into play easy-to-understand language. Omit the usage of hyper-technical or industry-specific terms and apply the language an everyday customer uses.

Personal or Threatening Questions

You might be very curious, but you should not jump right into those sensitive questions. Asking private questions too early in the survey can make your customer feel uncomfortable and retiring.

If you think sensitive questions are an indispensable ingredient of your survey, consider including them towards the closing stages. Probably you have built a level of faith with your customer, and now there is more chance for them to answer.

Mitigating Survey Fatigue

Having the above user concerns in mind, here are few best practices you can implement to help improve survey response and completion rates, thus minimizing the annoyance people feel when they are presented with a survey:

  • Ask accurate Questions

That instance when you are framing your survey questions, obviously it’s easy to cast out extra ones here and there. No doubt, it’s always tempting to assemble as much data as possible in a single survey, but you should remember to focus exclusively on questions that will help you meet your survey goals.

Further, fetching too much irrelevant data can make the analysis as well as accomplishment more difficult, and including additional questions puts you in the threat of higher Survey Fatigue for your respondents. Retain questions focused on what you really need to learn from your survey, and be merciless about removing those that stand outside the scope.

  • Communicate the Value

It’s certain that if your prospective respondents can plainly see how their response will be utilized, they are much more likely to contribute their time to your survey. Therefore make that clear and understandable wherever possible.

Always communicate whatever plans/tactics you may have for your survey data in your email invitations. Also, if there are any incentives attached to responding, those should definitely be included as well.

These questions can, to an extent, assist you in bypassing Survey Response Fatigue:

^ Total how many questions are in the survey?

^ Why should someone take the survey?

^ How long will the survey take to complete?

^ What will happen to the data that a respondent submits?

Exchanging information during the survey itself can also improve your response rate and reduce Survey Taking Fatigue. Soon after you have collected data, you can explain to your respondents that they made an impact by depending on what actions you took based on your survey data.

  • Keep it Minimum

For the reason that surveys provide insight into customer behavior, desire, and intention, marketers love surveys. But if you ask your customers to complete surveys repeatedly, you are sure to generate Survey Fatigue.

To make certain that you get the best response rate for every survey, keep them to a minimum-perhaps monthly or even quarterly, thus setting a clear target for each survey prior to employing it. Actually, there is nothing incorrect with more people collecting data, but the occurrence of surveys presents itself as a challenge to preserve good response rates.

Before you even start designing your survey, be sure that you are:

^ Not burdening your potential respondents with too many survey requests in a short amount of time.

^ Never getting lost in an ocean of requests for feedback.

The best way to improve survey response rates and reduce the ‘annoyance factor’ from your customers and prospects is to offer an incentive such as a coupon, cash, or a voucher. Yes, ask for feedback and give something back in return.

The best thing you can do is to put yourself in your respondent’s shoes when you are not sure about your survey design

  • Make survey Simple

Of course, it can be alluring to ask for more information rather than less, complicated surveys are aggravating, and completion rates reveal this. Given that every spectator is unique and businesses have different requirements, the finest manner to find out what works for you is to examine the time-span of your questions.

Surely, one of the main reasons that people disregard a survey is because they are not particular about why they are being asked to provide feedback in the first place. Hence, when simplifying your questions, bear in mind that the primary motive of your survey has to be explained as understandable as possible.

  • Regard your Respondents

The best thing you can do is to put yourself in your respondent’s shoes when you are not sure about your survey design. Imagine how they will feel about a question, a response option, or a layout and see to it that whether you are really liking or enjoying doing the survey.

Maybe at times sustaining this level of empathy can be challenging, especially if you have got stakeholders demanding for extra data. Understand that maintaining your focus on the people who will be demanding additional information will, in due course, give you superior data.

The Denouement

Labeling online surveys and feedback requests as irritating and tiresome seems ruthless. Howbeit, from the perspective of a customer, the continuous solicitations for rating or response from vendors and companies can be inquisitive and intrusive. Actually, the truth is that consumer surveys assist a lot in powering superior products, providing wide-ranging services, and gives an organization the gift of enhanced customer experience. But, this can only come to pass if people promptly answer to those questions you ask them.

The first footstep any company can take to guarantee the security of customers doing a feedback form or survey is to understand the most common issues that cause people to abandon the same. Certainly, this knowledge helps to free them from those distractions they encounter filling it. As soon as companies merge this awareness with that understanding of what can cause Survey Fatigue, they will come up with surveys that people not only act in response to but answer completely with high-quality data. This can be utilized by organizations to formulate their products and services to a much-improved version.

Let’s wrap it up

Survey Fatigue is a significant subject for brands that are concerned about quality feedback. Always keep in mind that it’s not just about low response rates or less data quality. Even unfriendly or recurring requests can also form negative user experience, thus smashing up your relationships. So the next time you are creating a survey, see yourself through the respondent’s eyes.

Above and beyond these guidelines, never cease to think of doing a survey project by reflecting upon your goals. Do you wish to determine the quality of your products or services? Or are you hunting for some deep understanding of a specific branch of your business? Whatever, when you are obvious on exactly what you want to achieve, then it would be easier to frame your survey around those goals and create the best result.

Let’s take responsibility in dropping down the rate of Survey Fatigue. Design every survey keeping your respondents in mind and communicate to them in the most effective manner. Bring into play a small amount of logic to maintain the experience applicable as well as relevant. Yes, with a little cooperation and a lot of commitment, we can make the world not much tired of doing surveys.

Substitute Strategies

  • Add a Feedback Tab: Designing a trouble-free Feedback survey for your website is always the best option. Keep it simple and uncomplicated; perhaps just use a text question that says, “How can I help you?”
  • Create a Consumer Insight Community: Having a Consumer Insight Community helps to gather valuable opinions and to find out what your customer wants. Moreover, it is possible to extract exceptional insights in order to improve your items for consumption.
  • Engage on Twitter: Posting feedbacks or questions on Twitter gives an instant and unrestrained response. Don’t forget to save searches of your company or brand name as well as hashtags for the popular words that are used to describe your product or service.
  • Set up Google Alerts: Tracking any feedback on the web is possible with Google Alerts. It is always better to have them delivered as soon as they appear because you want to respond as quickly as possible.
  • Undergo Social Media Poll: Setting up a poll or survey and sharing it through Social Media can be easily done with ‘QuestionPro.’ This will acquire benefit of that 66 % of the people who want to give feedback directly.
  • Watch Review Sites: Engaging in Review Sites can be beneficial, especially if your company is into retail. Anywhere and anytime, your customer can leave a review on your company or on your product.

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Jane Treeza

Guest Blogger at Survey Sparrow

A Banker by Profession..A Blogger by Passion.! Smitten muchly with Content Concocting..Seen mostly with Daughter Darling.!

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