I’m a big of customer surveys. I like designing them. I like seeing responses come in. I like how well they can uncover key CX issues. I like reading the free-form comments – a hilarious one in every bunch, guaranteed.
Another guarantee is that your users, in their unintentional wisdom, will expose the flaws in your brilliant survey design. And there will be flaws, trust me. Fortunately, most major ones are easy to avoid, leaving me wondering if the people who design some of the surveys I’ve taken bother to take it themselves before thrusting it upon their customers.
Example: I recently received a survey from a dance studio where I’ve taken classes. One of the questions had us rate the instructors (all 25+ of them), including an option to say that we’d never taken a class with them. I went through and rated the ones I felt positively or negatively about, leaving the rest blank. ERROR! I couldn’t proceed without clicking the no-opinion option for each of the rest of them. I was still shaking my head over that one when, on the next page, I saw the same question, only for private lessons. Again, all 25+. By the time I got to the free responses, my only thoughts were that I want to (a) be done already and (b) ask if their survey was designed by the instructor who made me cry (major CX issue!!).
Lesson 1: If responses are mandatory, say so*. People hate to click Next and then be scolded for not having answering a question completely – especially when you didn’t tell them they had to.
Lesson 2: Don’t make responses mandatory when doing so annoys your customers and adds little value to you. In a case like this, you could default the no-opinion option and spare people the ERROR!
Lesson 3: If your survey is tedious or otherwise annoying, the quality of responses will go down. Survey fatigue seriously undermines your efforts to get thoughtful, useful feedback (why you sent the survey in the first place, remember?).
Ultimately, when you send me a survey, you are asking me to do you a favor. Please, make it easy for me to help you.
* See, all it takes is a little star.