You may have heard that Barack Obama wears only grey or blue suits or that Mark Zuckerberg wears the same clothes every day. Why is this important? Well, both men believe it makes them more productive, giving them the energy to focus on making crucial choices, without risking decision fatigue.
Decision fatigue, caused when you are low on mental energy, is a real problem for business professionals - and their customers. It’s the reason that we reach for the biscuit tin in our mid-afternoon slump and why we’re tempted by ready meals on our way home. It affects our ability to weigh up options and make sensible decisions, resulting in us following our impulses instead.
But decision fatigue doesn’t just impact our buying decisions (or our diet), it can affect virtually anything and everything we do, including our willingness and ability to respond to surveys and feedback.
For our customers, decision and survey fatigue means that they’re less likely to respond to feedback requests or complete surveys. So how can you spot the early signs and what can you do to make it better? Here are three survey trends to watch out for in your customers:
#1 They're Avoiding Them
The first clue for detecting survey fatigue is that your customers simply don’t respond, they're avoiding feedback requests at all costs. Okay so this isn't exactly rocket science but with the overwhelming amount of decisions we already have to make every day, focusing on yet another survey can be the first thing that gives.
These customers will either ignore your request completely or start to respond to the survey, but quit before they’ve finished. This is all centres on the idea of asking for an unreasonable amount of attention from our customers.
What to do about this: Switch your long survey for a shorter (and more convenient) form of customer feedback. Instead of asking your customers to answer page and page of questions, ask them for a score and the reason behind it. Then, in your feedback request, make it clear to your customer that this isn’t going to be a 15 minute saga; it’s a quick, easy process that’s convenient for them.
#2 They're Not Completing Them
Is your customer leaving short or incomplete answers to questions? Although the survey asks them in depth about different aspects of their experience, are they skipping through it as quickly as possible? It’s possible that they’re experiencing survey fatigue.
This symptom of survey fatigue is often caused when customers start a survey but become bored halfway through the process. They feel obliged to finish, but they’re no longer focused on answering the questions in full and therefore provide remarkably less valuable feedback.
What to do about this: If you’re not getting high-quality and helpful verbatim from your surveys, then chances are you’re asking the wrong questions. Instead of trying to force your customers to discuss every part of their journey with you, allow them to discuss whatever they choose to. They might not comment on every aspect of their experience, but the answers they do give will be about the parts of the journey that are most important to them.
#3 They're Forgetful
This sign of survey fatigue is particularly common in cases when survey requests are sent out weeks after the customer’s interaction with you. It’s hard for them to remember the details of an interaction after this much time has passed and therefore key information is lost.
The impact of this kind of survey fatigue is that customers aren't able to communicate a full picture of their experience with you and therefore you don’t get the depth of insight you need to make significant and meaningful changes for your customers.
What to do about this: Send feedback requests to your customer in real-time. This means that experiences are fresh in customer's minds and they use complete and relevant details to give you a full and valuable response.
For further proof that surveys are an ineffective way to capture feedback look no further than Orbit. Their innovative approach to customer feedback has achieved up to 28% response rates and recorded a 20% saving on their feedback budget.