Customer Feedback

8 Customer Survey Red Flags

AskNicely Team

Customer feedback is the backbone of any successful service business. It provides valuable insight into what your customers think, feel, and want, allowing you to make improvements that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

However, the way that you collect and use customer feedback makes a huge impact on its effectiveness, and not all customer surveys do the trick. From questionable send-out times to a lack of accessibility, there are several red flags that could indicate that your customer survey is not as effective as it could be. 

🚩 1. Over 5 Questions Long 

If our customers can barely get through a 60 second TikTok video without getting distracted, how can we expect them to fill out a 20-question survey? The short answer? We can’t. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the days of long, tedious customer surveys are over. 

Long (that’s over 5 questions in 2023) surveys have/are: 

  • Low completion rates: Long surveys scare customers away! The longer the survey, the less likely customers are to participate.

  • Poor accuracy: The longer the survey, the less time respondents take answering each question, which can make answers less accurate.

  • Hard to analyze and act on : When you ask too many questions, the data becomes dense, difficult to draw conclusions from and take meaningful action on. 

A great rule of thumb? Keep your surveys short. One to three questions is the sweet spot. 

🚩 2. Infrequent Surveys

It's crucial to stay in touch with your customers and understand their ever-changing needs. Sending out infrequent surveys results in: 

Outdated feedback: Your customers’ needs and opinions change rapidly, and a quarterly survey might not reflect the current state of their desires, wants and needs. By the time you receive the results and act on them, the customer feedback could already be outdated and obsolete. 

Only a snapshot in time: Infrequent surveys provide a limited view of your customers’ experience. They represent a moment in time rather than a holistic view of the customer. Frequent surveys, on the other hand, give you a more comprehensive and constantly fuelled view of your customer and what matters to them the most.

🚩 3. Survey Results Aren’t Shared with Your Frontline Teams

Considering that your frontline teams are the face of your brand and are responsible for delivering the customer experience, not sharing survey feedback with your teams is a major red flag. Without access to survey results, your frontline teams won't know what they're doing well and what they need to improve, which will get everyone nowhere. 

When you withhold survey results from the frontline: 

Negative feedback is rarely acted on: Your feedback is only as good as your ability to act on it. If feedback is gathered and never meets the eyes of your frontline employees or managers, they’ll never be able to take action on that feedback, causing unhappy customers, poor reviews and negative word of mouth.

Lack of Recognition: When positive customer feedback comes through, your teams should be able to see the fruits of their labor! Without feedback, your employees miss out on the regular heart-beat of a job well done. 

🚩 4. No Standardized CX Metric 

A standardized customer experience metric like Net Promoter Score (NPS) provides a consistent way to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty over time. Without it, it's difficult to draw meaningful conclusions for how you’re really doing in your cx program. 

Asking arbitrary questions makes it difficult to:

  • Analyze data of long periods of time: With NPS, you can see what your scores are over any period of time, with a clear relativity point.

  • Compare results between various individuals, teams, branches and locations: NPS allows you to see scores on both a team and individual basis across limitless locations.

  • Draw meaningful conclusions and take action: NPS helps you see who your biggest promoters and detractors are, and most importantly the reasons behind those scores. These trends help you create experiences that deliver on the things that matter most to your customers. 

🚩 5. Sent Too Late 

Tick tock, tick tock… Timing is everything when it comes to customer surveys. If you're sending out surveys weeks or even days after a meaningful customer experience, the chance of receiving meaningful feedback is slim to none. 

Sending out surveys too late can significantly reduce their effectiveness. Here’s why:

  • Lost window of opportunity: The most genuine and useful feedback is usually given immediately after the customer experiences your product or service (or when a customer has had time to experience the results).

  • Lower engagement: Customers are less likely to complete surveys if it’s been too long. They’re onto the next thing in their lives!

  • Hard to follow up on: What if it's negative feedback? If you want too long to ask customers about their experience, they can easily spread negative word of mouth before you have time to make things right. 

🚩 6. Unavailable on Mobile 

Let's be real, we live in a mobile-first world. In fact, research shows that 65% of participants complete surveys on their mobiles, while only 35% prefer doing it on a desktop. Your customer surveys should reflect this. 

It's all about accessibility. Have you ever tried to fill out a survey on your phone only to be frustrated by its clunky design or slowness to load? Or worse, you don't even have the option to complete it on your phone? Chances are you give up and move right along. 

🚩 7. Feedback Goes Unused 

Sending out a customer survey is one thing, but acting on that feedback is a whole other ball game. If you’re gathering feedback, but don’t have clear workflows set up to make sure that feedback gets properly analyzed and acted upon, you may as well not be sending out surveys at all. 

To make sure you survey results get used in an impactful way, be sure to: 

  • Make sure your survey results are accessible and readily available to your frontline teams, preferably in real-time.

  • Coach your frontline teams on how to follow up on both negative and positive survey results.

  • Get your customer feedback everywhere! We’re talking on the walls, in meetings and as the basis of ongoing coaching conversations.

🚩 8. Lack of Automation 

The most effective surveys are ones that use automation to optimize workflows and make following up on feedback scalable. Without it, your frontline teams get bogged down with monotonous tasks that take away from their focus of delivering 5-star experiences. 

Use automation to: 

  • Send out your customer surveys at the right time.

  • Send follow up emails to the happiest customers asking for a public online review or referral.

  • Alert frontline teams when negative feedback comes through so they can see to it in a timely manner.

  • Clearly categorize survey data so you can spot trends as they’re happening.

What Next?

Do your customer surveys have any red flags? Fixing them ASAP will help you create customer experiences that set you apart from your competitors. 

Now that you know what not to do, turn your red flags into green flags by checking out our survey best practice guide here!

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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