12 Customer Experience Survey Problems You Need To Avoid

Using a customer experience survey is often necessary, but customers don’t really want to fill out questionnaires, so how do you make them more palatable?

Customer Experience Survey Problems

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Customer feedback is at the backbone of genuine improvement of a company in many different areas, and most of us get that feedback from a Customer Experience Survey.

These surveys help empower customers and get them to think of themselves as connected to the reality of a company. It gives information for the company to use to make improvements and it frequently leads to positive testimonials which can be used by the company for marketing and promotion.

Oddly enough, the only real downside to feedback is that it’s actually quite difficult to get your hands on. Customers are often not interested in spending their free time performing a task that has no tangible benefit to them. That’s where the feedback form or customer experience survey comes in handy. Still, a fair bit can go wrong if you aren’t prepared.

So let’s look at the mistakes you can avoid on your customer experience surveys.

1. Too Many Surveys

When you receive a complete survey from a customer, you need to consider yourself fortunate. Getting customers to fill out these sorts of forms is a privilege not a right. So one tactic that can really cause problems is bombarding your customers with forms all of the time. They’re more likely to disconnect that to engage. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shows when they get a request from you, asking them to fill in a survey. One they may be willing to do. If you keep sending more and more requests though, they’re going to get fatigued, and fast. Your customers are regular people, who only have limited time in the day. If you keep sending them requests, they’re going to find it very annoying, very quickly. 

As such, don’t send a survey request unless you have properly written and vetted it. Make sure that you’re asking everything that you want to ask in the survey, so you’re getting all the data you need. Ask for one survey, keep it simple.

2. Too Many Questions

Only one survey doesn’t mean that you then stuff every question imaginable on it and try to get customers to dedicate 20 minutes to the task. Again, they’re far more likely to take one look and decide that it simply isn’t worth the effort.

Again, consider the time that your customers have to dedicate to your survey. If they’ve only got a small amount of time to dedicate to it, they don’t want to see a huge list of questions that they have to answer. It’s overwhelming, and very soon they’re just going to give up and not answer.

The solution is to really whittle down what it is you want to know from your customers. “Many businesses think that the more data they have, the better” says Pauline Marston, a marketing writer at Gradeonfire. “However, that makes more work for you, and makes it less likely you’ll get the answers you’re looking for.”

Dedicate your survey to one particular topic, and keep the questions as minimal as possible to ensure more people complete it.

3. Leading With Personal Information

Though it can be useful for marketing purposes, getting customers to volunteer personal info is very difficult and can really put people off your survey if it is the first thing that they see. In this day and age, customers are more savvy about online safety. If they see a survey that’s asking for that data upfront, then that’s going to set off alarm bells for them. Your intentions are going to be on the level, but to them it could look as though you’re trying to collect their data to sell on. That’s a worst case scenario, but it’s more likely than you’d think. 

If you really want that information, leave it to the end. Even if they’re a bit uncertain about it they are more likely to give in if they’ve already done the whole survey. That way you’ll seem a lot more trustworthy and customers will feel safer with sharing that info with you. 

4. Asking Leading Questions

When writing your survey, you will of course be hoping for a certain result. For example, you want to hear that your current marketing campaigns are having an effect on customers, and encouraging them to buy from you. That’s of course something that you’d love to hear about on your surveys, but it won’t always be the case. In some instances, you’re going to get negative feedback, and you need to be ready for that. 

Customers want to feel that their real opinion is being heard and will react negatively to you framing questions with a desire to score positive feedback. You want to ask questions in a straightforward manner to avoid this issue. Remember, you want their negative feedback if they have it, so don’t try and warp the truth. Frame your questions neutrally, so customers will answer as honestly as possible. Remember that that negative feedback is also highly useful, so don’t discount it. 

5. Failing To Incentivize

The level of incentive that you need to offer your customers depends largely on how much you’re asking of them. If it’s 5 questions and takes a minute you might not bother incentivizing. If it will take them 3 minutes you might want to emphasize that they have a real opportunity to make a difference. If it’s 10 minutes or above, you’ll need practical incentives: a raffle for a free product, for example.

Keep all this in mind when you’re constructing your survey. Remember that customers will be giving up their own time in order to complete it, so you may need to give them something back in return. 

This is something you’ll need to consider when you’re thinking of what you can offer as an incentive. For example, if you’re a new or small business, you may not be able to offer a free product yet. As such, keeping the survey shorter allows you to save on these costs, as well as get more replies. 

6. Language Or Wording Is Too Complex

You need your survey results to be an accurate reflection of the thoughts of your customers. They can’t express their responses to questions that they themselves don’t understand. They may also misinterpret a question thanks complex wording, and so answer it incorrectly. 

It’s really important that you word questions simply, clearly and concisely to get a much higher chance that your survey takers understand what’s really being asked. The alternative is half-completed surveys and incorrect data, which annihilates the purpose of the survey in the first place.

There are several ways that you can ensure your language is simple enough that you’ll get the results you’re looking for. You can have the survey professionally proofread, and the proofreader will help you with this. There are also lots of tools online that help you by running the text of your survey through their software, and telling you how complex the language is. 

7. Your Questions Aren’t Inclusive

When you’re writing a customer experience survey make sure that you remember that you don’t picture yourself as the responder. You need to allow for the diversity of your customer base, in terms of race, disabilities, sexuality, gender and socio-economic background. You don’t want people to feel excluded by your questions or they’ll give up.

When you start putting together your survey, make sure that you have a good handle on who exactly your customers are. This is something you should have already done through market research, so you should have this data to hand. Have it in mind as you write, and make sure your questions are representative of the people who will be filling it out. Again, this will ensure that you’ll get more responses. It also gives customers a favorable impression of you as a business. 

8. Forgetting Mobile Friendly

A customer experience survey always should have mobile functionality. There’s never a great time to do a survey, but catching your customers when they’re on the bus or scrolling on their phone in a lunch break is as ideal as it will get. Many customers will be happy to answer a few questions if you can catch them during some down time, especially if they’re waiting and aren’t able to do anything else as they do so. 

Most web design sites should have an option to create mobile versions of your site, and this is typically quite easy to do. If you’re using a web design team, ask them about creating mobile functionality for the survey. Doing so will ensure that more people will answer if you ask them to. 

9. Your Survey Is Too Short

Earlier you saw how too long surveys will cause problems, as people are less likely to answer them. However, remember that if your survey is too short, it’s not going to be effective either. “If you only ask a couple of questions, are you going to get enough data from them?” asks Darren Piers, an email marketer from Huffpost. “You want to get enough information to give you enough detail on the next steps to take.” 

If you want to keep the survey on the short side, by all means cut out the questions you don’t think will give you what you’re looking for. However, have a good goal in mind so you’re asking all the questions that need to be asked. This should give you a good middle ground, and you’ll get as many responses as possible. 

10. You Don’t Have A Specific Goal In Mind

On the subject of a purpose for your survey, you need to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for when you send it out to customers. Many first time marketers will send a survey out with no specific goal. These end up being unfocused and overlong, and so many won’t end up completing it for you. The biggest problem, though, is that you won’t actually get any useful data from it. That means a lot of your time and effort will be wasted. 

Really think about what it is you want from that survey. If you want customer’s impressions of a recent advertising campaign for example, trying to find out if they liked it is too vague. Drill down into what you need to know. Did it encourage them to head to your store? Did they want the product in question? Was there anything that put them off the product? With all this info, you can then use it to improve your next marketing campaign. 

11. Forcing Customers To Take The Survey

When you first send out your survey, you’ll most likely send an email to tell them about it and ask them to complete it. This will also be where you let them know if there’s an incentive for doing so. A few days later, you may send them a reminder about the survey, so those who forgot about it will have a gentle nudge to do it. 

Some marketers will start sending more emails though, essentially forcing customers to do the survey to get them to stop. This isn’t good for your brand, as making them do the survey and sending out emails all the time is just going to annoy them. You also won’t get the best responses, as they may just fill it out quickly in order to stop the reminders. That means you won’t get the best data. 

Instead, send that initial email and then one reminder. You may not get everyone to fill it out, but that’s ok. Even the biggest brands often can’t get a 100% response rate, so make sure you do the best with the data you get. 

12. Not Using The Data You Get

This is the biggest mistake you can make, and yet so many people make it. When you get those survey results, you need to analyse them and see what needs to be done, based on those results. Many companies get the results and simply don’t use them to make meaningful change. 

That’s a waste for you, as you’ve put all that time and money in and you won’t get anything out of the results. Customers will find it annoying too, as they took the time to let you know what needs to be changed, and yet you didn’t make change. 


The data that you can draw from a customer experience survey can be extremely valuable. Getting it, and ensuring it isn’t tarnished is a more difficult job that you need to be prepared to be very careful about. Hopefully this list will help you avoid any major blunders.