Prevent Survey Fatigue with these 8 Strategies

Survey fatigueSurveys are a great way for businesses and researchers can gather insights from a target audience, but if done wrongly can have negative results.
Think about this scenario: Your marketing team wants to ask people about what media they like, and the customer service team wants to ask about their shopping experience. If your system sends a survey to customers every time they buy something, it can be too many surveys. This is called survey fatigue.
This post will explain what survey fatigue is, how it can make people not want to do surveys, and how to avoid it.


What is Survey Fatigue?

Survey fatigue happens when people get bored or tired of getting too many survey requests or when the surveys are too long and take too much effort to finish. When this happens, people might not want to answer the surveys properly, or they might just ignore them. This can result in fewer people responding, quick and careless answers, or people giving up on the survey altogether, and that can mess up your survey results.
After thorough research conducted by Hubspot, it was discovered that if your survey takes more than three minutes, you'll lose nearly 15% of those that start (3.8% make it less than a minute).
By the nine-minute mark, you'll lose more than 40% of your respondents.


Causes of Survey Fatigue

According to the HubSpot research, here are the major reasons people quit before finishing surveys.

1. Too many questions
2. Weren't motivated to answer questions about the survey topic(s)
3. Unsure what impact the survey responses would have
4. Questions required them to think too deeply
5. The survey was taking more time than they expected.
6. The questions were about sensitive or unrelated topics.
7. How the survey was set up or the buttons to click were confusing.
8. The survey asked for videos or follow-up interviews.
9. They were tired of looking at screens for too long (screen fatigue).

The Negative Impact of Survey Fatigue

Even though it might not seem like one survey request can cause problems, getting too many surveys over time can lead to issues.
Here are the problems that come from survey fatigue.

Low Response Rates:

When people get too many survey requests, they may not even start or finish the surveys. This makes it hard for you to get helpful feedback.

Respondent Fatigue:

If you ask too many questions or questions that don't matter to a specific customer, the responses you get might not be accurate or well-thought-out. It is important to understand the right survey lengths that is fitting for the audience and topic you are researching about.

Survey Bias:

Your data might be biased. People who are happy or unhappy are more likely to respond, while those with less extreme feelings may not. This can make your data lopsided, missing the opinions of the average customers in the middle.

Brand Erosion:

Customers might start seeing your brand in a negative way and lose trust. Instead of thinking of your brand as providing a good product and great service, they might find you annoying and intrusive. This can lead to them unsubscribing from your communications.

Remember, your goal is to build trust and a positive relationship with your customers. Thoughtful surveying can help achieve this, rather than making them feel bothered or disconnected.

8 Ways to Avoid Survey Fatigue

While surveys remain one of the best ways to learn from your customers, it's important to prevent them from getting tired of too many surveys. Here are some steps to make sure your surveys are effective:

1. Consider Survey Frequency:

Check if other parts of your organization are also sending surveys. Think about how often customers interact with you and how often your competitors send surveys. For businesses working with other businesses (B2B), consider sending surveys quarterly or based on customer interaction frequency.

2. Watch the Number of Questions:

Keep your surveys straightforward and concise. Consider the Net Promoter Score (NPS) model, which asks customers just one question. This helps you know how many questions to ask in your survey. Put yourself in your customer's shoes – if the survey feels long or has unnecessary questions, your customers will likely feel the same.

3. Be Mindful of Completion Time:

Besides the number of questions, consider how long it takes to complete the survey. Multiple-choice questions are quicker than open-ended ones. Aim for surveys that take less than five minutes, and let respondents know how long it'll take.

4. Communicate Survey Purpose:

Clearly state why you're asking for feedback. Avoid survey dropouts by explaining the impact of their responses. For instance, mention how their feedback will help enhance their experience.

5. Ask the Right Questions:

This might seem obvious, but writing good survey questions can take a little time to perfect.
Here are a few tips:

Craft questions carefully to avoid confusion or ambiguity.

Choose question types that are fitting and relevant to the research topic.

Keep questions relevant, and tailor the survey to each respondent.

Ensure your questions are clear and specific to get meaningful feedback.

6. Avoid Asking for Too Much Personal Information:

People may drop out if asked for too much personal information. If such details are necessary, make them optional and explain their relevance. Be mindful of survey length and build trust by assuring anonymity.

7. Include Visuals:

Incorporate images or videos to make surveys more engaging. Respondents often find surveys with visual elements more energizing than plain text. Use visuals like images or emoji faces to enhance the survey experience.

8. Test Your Survey:

Before sending out surveys, have people outside your team test them. Get feedback on clarity, question understanding, and the time it takes to complete. This helps ensure a smoother survey experience for your customers.


In conclusion, while surveys remain a valuable tool for gaining insights from your community, it's essential to be mindful of survey fatigue and its various forms. Whether it's over-surveying, question fatigue, long surveys, or disingenuous engagement, each type presents unique challenges that can compromise the quality of your data and damage community relationships.

To navigate these challenges, adopt a strategic approach to survey implementation. Consider survey frequency, question design, survey length, and the overall sincerity of engagement. By being selective in when and how you deploy surveys, ensuring clarity and relevance in questions, and respecting the time and input of your community, you can harness the power of surveys without succumbing to fatigue.

Remember, the goal is not just to collect data but to foster genuine and meaningful connections with your community. By prioritizing thoughtful survey practices, you can maintain the trust of your audience, avoid survey fatigue, and continue to derive valuable insights to enhance your projects and decision-making processes.

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