Opinion: Don't bludgeon your customers with surveys

For better or worse, I spend a lot of time in hotels, airline flights, dealing with many suppliers, etc. What's become really common now, is that a few days later, they're sending me a survey asking me how they did.

Now I'm sure that they're just trying to follow some best practice to make sure they're delivering what was expected, but lately, I'm finding many of the surveys really quite annoying. I'd like to suggest some simple rules to avoid that.

First Rule: Don't pester or nag

If I don't complete your survey in the time that you'd hoped, please don't keep chasing me for it. If I decide to complete it, I'll do it when I have the time and inclination. And if I decide not to complete it at all, don't bug me about it.

Second Rule: Keep it short

If I do decide to click into your survey, I'm happy for you to ask four or five questions on a single page. That's it. No more.

If I open your survey, and on page one it says that it should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes to complete, sorry, I'm not completing it. What exactly do you assume your customers spend their days doing? I've seen surveys for flights waste more of my billable time than the flight cost. Don't do this.

Third Rule: Survey site must be fast

Make really, really sure your survey website works and is fast. Can't tell you how often I've gone to complete a survey and abandoned it because I'm tired of waiting for the survey engine to get to the point.

Fourth Rule: Get the survey tested

Get someone who speaks clear English to proof-read your survey. It needs to have questions that are straightforward to answer. And the tooling needs to work. Don't ask me a question with four answers unless they are the only answers that could possibly exist. Don't ask me to select all that apply, and then just give me a radio button, etc. etc.

If you keep to these simple rules, you'll probably get a much higher completion rate on your surveys.

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