Is Survey Fatigue Killing Your Response Rates?

Are you guilty of over-surveying? You might be driving people away. Survey fatigue is a real problem for companies. Here are 4 simple ways to avoid it.


Jeremiah Chua

January 22, 2018

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If you’ve ever abandoned a survey halfway through or avoided taking one altogether, then you may be suffering from survey fatigue. It’s not uncommon. Ask someone to complete a generic, 20-question survey without offering an incentive, and chances are, they won’t do it. Time is precious, and people just aren’t willing to devote theirs to mundane tasks with no reward.

As logical as that may seem, many companies still send impersonal surveys to customers on a regular basis and expect results. This spammy surveying is dangerous. It can decrease response rates, damage customer relationships, and reflect poorly on a brand. So how do you avoid exhausting your survey respondents? We’ll cover the basics below.

4 Ways to Avoid Survey Fatigue

1. Focus on relevancy and personalization.

Context is super important when sending surveys. If your survey is generic, then you should expect sparse, generic results. On the other hand, if you send personalized surveys about specific experiences, then you can expect more thoughtful feedback. Here are a few ways to keep your survey asks hyper-relevant:

  • Send transactional surveys right after an interaction or experience, when it’s still fresh in people’s minds. If you integrate surveys with your CRM, you can easily automate this process.

  • Include specific details in your survey questions and answers, like names, locations, products, and services.

  • Use survey logic to automatically skip irrelevant questions and/or personalize follow-up questions based on the respondents’ answers.

2. Time survey delivery strategically.

So, asking for feedback after an experience is a good way to boost response quality, but how else can you maximize your responses and minimize survey fatigue? Timing isn’t just about the recency of an experience. You can put demographics and engagement data to work in order to optimize your survey timing. Here are a few ways:

  • If you’re sending surveys via your email provider, take a look at historical data to see when recipients typically open your emails. If your data is deep enough, you can also look at clickthrough rates, unsubscribes, and other engagement metrics based on day, time, and region.

  • Sync up with other departments and team members to find out when other company communications are going out. If possible, pick a day and time when customers won’t be inundated with other requests.

  • Avoid sending more than one survey to the same person within a short time frame. Sending multiple survey requests is a quick way to drive customers toward the unsubscribe button. Again, it’s important to touch base with other departments that may be distributing surveys.

3. Limit the number of questions you ask.

It’s easy to go overboard drafting survey questions, but try to stick to the essentials. Remember that each additional question adds extra time to your survey and decreases your completion rates. As a rule of thumb, stick to 5 questions or fewer. If that’s impossible, then you may need to reevaluate the purpose of your survey (see #1). Here are a few ways to hone in on key questions and cut the fluff:

  • Start with a quantitative question that you can measure over time, like Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) or Customer Effort Score (CES), then frame other questions around your central purpose.

  • Eliminate questions you can answer yourself by referencing your CRM data. If you’re sending your survey to a customer list, then you probably have demographic and contact info on file. (This also makes for a better respondent experience, because you’re not asking for repeat info.)

  • As we mentioned above, you can also add survey logic to intelligently cut irrelevant questions.

4. Optimize your survey design and delivery.

Presentation is important as ever. If you send mediocre-looking surveys, it reflects poorly on your brand and sets people up for a so-so experience. That not only reduces engagement, but it can impact the quality of the responses you do get. This applies to your survey design as well as your survey invitation. Here are a few ways to optimize the experience:

  • Make sure your surveys are modern and mobile-friendlyNot optimizing for mobile is no longer an option, now that over half of emails are opened on smartphones and consumers spend 69% of their media-consuming time on their phones. If you want to engage people, you have to create a positive mobile experience across all your digital channels.

  • Infuse your surveys with imagery and colors that align with your brand. If you’re using GetFeedback, it’s easy to design a beautiful, on-brand survey—you can choose from an array of predesigned survey templates or start from scratch.

  • Embed a survey question into your email invitation to make it easy for recipients to respond straight from their inboxes. This is proven to boost engagement and reduce unsubscribes.


Survey fatigue is a serious issue for brands that care about quality feedback. It’s not just about low response rates or data quality—impersonal, repetitive requests create a negative user experience and damage your relationships. The next time you’re prepping a survey, put yourself in the respondent’s shoes. Would you click ahead to the next question?

On top of all these tips, don’t forget to start any survey project by thinking hard about your goals. Are you looking for insights on a specific branch of your business? Do you want to measure the quality of your products or services? When you’re clear on exactly what you want to accomplish, then it’s easier to frame your survey around those goals and create something great.

Survey on!

Want to learn more about survey best practices? Check out our resources hub for the latest tips & tricks.

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