Fighting Survey Fatigue: Types, Examples & Best Practices

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    Home / Product / Fighting Survey Fatigue: Types, Examples & Best Practices

    Data's key these days. It's what keeps businesses rolling, especially with how fast everything's changing.

    One common method of gathering data is through surveys.

    Surveys would reveal information about the customers’ choices, their level of satisfaction with the products, and any changes happening in the market.

    But here's a hitch in this data-driven world: people are getting tired of surveys - aka - survey fatigue.

    In this comprehensive guide, I am going to describe what a survey fatigue is, why this phenomenon takes place, and most importantly, share best practices and tips to combat it.


    • In a nutshell, survey fatigue boils down to a few things like: questionnaire fatigue, frequency fatigue, repetition fatigue, design fatigue, and incentive fatigue.
    • Survey fatigue happens due to over-surveying, lengthy and complicated surveys, repetitive questions, lack of engagement, and irrelevant surveys.
    • Survey fatigue can really hit SaaS businesses hard. You're looking at fewer people answering, skewed results, not-so-great data quality, users getting a bad impression of your brand, and customers bouncing out.
    • Best practices to combat survey fatigue include segmenting the audience, optimizing survey length, using appropriate tools, offering incentives thoughtfully, personalizing survey requests, and more.

    What is Survey Fatigue?

    Survey fatigue is a pervasive issue that emerges when individuals become overwhelmed, disinterested, or irritated by the sheer volume or nature of survey requests they receive.It’s like having a cluttered inbox full of requests for feedback and opinions. As a result, this means that respondents may cease participating in surveys thereby jeopardizing your data collection process.

    Imagine this scenario: You are about to use a brand new SaaS tool that has just been subscribed.

    Nevertheless, in less than seven days you are getting floods of questionnaires from them that look as if they never end.

    Or perhaps you open a survey only to find it filled with confusing questions and vague answer choices.

    These situations are common manifestations of survey fatigue.

    Types of Survey Fatigue

    Survey fatigue can manifest in various ways, each with its own set of challenges. Here are some common types of survey fatigue:

    1. Questionnaire Fatigue

    This hits when users get bogged down by too-long or too-complex surveys. Long questionnaires with intricate questions can discourage participation.

    2. Frequency Fatigue

    When respondents are bombarded with surveys too frequently, they can become fatigued. It's essential to strike a balance between collecting data and respecting your audience's time.

    3. Repetition Fatigue

    Asking the same old questions over and over? That's a fast track to boring your audience. Users may feel like their previous responses were not considered.

    4. Design Fatigue

    Poorly designed surveys with confusing layouts and unclear instructions can be frustrating, leading to respondents abandoning the survey.

    5. Incentive Fatigue

    Sure, discounts and rewards can pull people in, but you might just end up with users who are here for the freebies, not to give real feedback. This can result in biased data.

    Now that we understand the different types of survey fatigue, let's delve into why it happens.

    Why Does Survey Fatigue Happen?

    Survey fatigue doesn't occur in a vacuum. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon. Understanding these factors is crucial for mitigating survey fatigue effectively.

    1. Over-surveying

    Hit people with too many surveys, and you're asking for them to get fed up. People have limited time and patience, so be mindful of how often you reach out.

    2. Lengthy and Complicated Surveys

    Nobody likes a marathon survey. Keep it short and sweet, or users might just give up halfway if it's too long or too puzzling.

    3. Repetitive Questions

    Asking the same stuff again and again? People might start thinking you're not really listening to what they've already told you. They may wonder why you aren't using the information they've already provided.

    4.Lack of Engagement

    No engaging bits or fun interactions in your survey? Expect yawns and drop-offs. Visual ques, interactive questions, and progress bars can help them feel the engagement.

    5. Irrelevant Surveys

    If your survey's not about something they care about or something they've dealt with in your business, expect them to tune out.

    Now that we've identified the causes of survey fatigue, let's explore its impact on SaaS businesses:

    The Impact of Survey Fatigue on SaaS Businesses

    Survey fatigue can have far-reaching consequences for SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses. Here are some of the most significant impacts:

    Lowered Response Rates 📉

    One big problem with survey fatigue? Fewer people bother to answer.

    Keep pestering users with surveys, and don't be surprised if they start ignoring your future calls for feedback.

    So, it lowers the amount of information that can be collected and analyzed.

    Survey Bias 🤨

    Survey fatigue can lead to survey bias, where only a specific subset of your audience continues to participate.

    And if the same kind of people keep answering, you're not getting the full picture, which means your insights and decisions might be off track.

    Diminished Data Quality 📊

    Tired of your surveys? People might just rush through them, or worse, give you answers that aren't even right.

    This can compromise the quality of the data you collect and hinder your ability to make informed decisions based on that data.

    Negative Brand Perception 👎

    Bombard users with too many surveys, and they might start seeing your brand in a bad light. People may view your business as intrusive or uncaring about their time and preferences.

    Increased Churn 🚨

    Too many surveys might just push your customers to walk away, in other words, cause customer churn. If customers feel overwhelmed by constant survey requests, they may decide to discontinue their engagement with your SaaS product or service.

    To dodge these downsides, you've got to smartly tackle survey fatigue head-on. Let's explore some examples of survey fatigue and learn from them.

    Examples of Survey Fatigue

    Example 1

    Customer Feedback Survey

    Please respond using these questions for us to provide better customer service.

    1- How do you rate our products?

    2- How satisfied are you with our services?

    3- On a scale of one to ten, how do you feel about the average customer satisfaction we have?

    4- On a scale of 0-10, how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend or someone?


    This survey is brief and concise; however, it can still cause the so-called “survey fatigue” when conducted frequently or inappropriately.

    Like, if you hit a customer with a survey right after every purchase, don't be surprised if they get annoyed and stop responding.

    And if you're asking users who've just had a bad experience, they might not be in the mood to give you the kind of honest feedback you need.

    Example 2

    Employee Engagement Survey

    Could you kindly respond to these questions so that we can boost employee engagement?

    1- Did you really enjoy your work recently?

    2- How would you rate your manager?

    3- Do you like what your fellow workers are doing?

    4- How satisfied are you with the company’s culture?

    5- Are you satisfied with your growth opportunities or not?

    6- Scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this organisation as an ideal workplace?

    7- If anything, more comments or recommendations regarding this are welcomed.

    You can also check out our article titled How to Create an Engaging Employee Engagement Survey!


    This survey's even longer and more in-depth than the last one.

    On the other hand, several questions are too open-ended, making a lengthy response to an average respondent’s question necessary.

    Some of the respondents may decide to drop out of the questionnaire before completing it.

    Example 3

    Customer Feedback Survey

    Kindly provide answers to the questions below in order to enhance the quality of our service.

    1- Are you happy with our products?

    2- How do you rate us as a service provider?

    3- On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with our overall customer experience?

    4- On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to refer us to anyone else?

    5- Please check the customer service aspects listed below that you are satisfied with:

    • Friendliness and helpfulness of staff
    • Speed of service
    • Accuracy of service
    • Resolution of problems
    • Overall satisfaction

    6- Is there anything else that you might include?


    In this case, there is a Likert scale question included.

    Likert scales can cover a lot of ground, but they can get pretty dreary, especially when you've got a bunch of them.

    How to Fight Survey Fatigue - Best Practices & Tips

    Don't be afraid of the bad examples listed above!

    Luckily, it is possible to develop strategies and best practices that help counter survey fatigue.

    Let's delve into these strategies in more detail:

    1. Segment Your Audience

    First things first, split your audience into groups, or "segments" as you may call it, to deal with survey fatigue better.

    You should segment the audience into groups of demographic, behavioral, or psychographic criteria and design a survey for each group.

    This way, you make sure people get surveys that actually matter to them and line up with how they use your product.

    2. Optimize Survey Length

    Long and complex surveys are a common trigger for survey fatigue. To counteract this, keep your surveys concise and focused.

    Avoid including unnecessary questions and prioritize the most critical feedback you need.

    Shorter surveys are more likely to be completed, and respondents are more likely to provide thoughtful responses.

    3. Use Appropriate Tools When Needed

    Using the right tools is key in this battle against survey overload.

    And that's where UserGuiding comes into play... ⬇️

    UserGuiding is an in-app experiences platform where you can create this👇 in minutes.

    Some key UserGuiding features include:

    👉 Product tours, interactive guides, app walkthroughs,

    👉 Gamification with user onboarding checklists,

    👉 In-app messaging, hotspots, tooltips,

    👉 Resource centers for self-serve support,

    And of course...

    👉 In-app surveys with different templates and customization.

    UserGuiding's in-app surveys offer a solution that minimizes the disruption to the user experience. Instead of bombarding your users with external survey requests, you can gather feedback from them within your application.

    This approach is seamless and can lead to higher response rates as users are already engaged with your product.

    4. Offer Incentives Thoughtfully

    While incentives can encourage participation, they must be offered thoughtfully.

    Ensure that the incentives align with your audience's preferences and that they don't attract respondents who aren't genuinely interested in providing feedback.

    The goal is to motivate your audience while maintaining the integrity of the responses.

    5. Personalize Survey Requests

    Craft personalized survey invitations that explain why the respondent's input is valuable and how it will benefit them or improve their experience with your SaaS product.

    When people understand the significance of their feedback, they are more likely to participate willingly.

    6. Provide Feedback Loop

    Show respondents that their feedback matters by closing the feedback loop.

    After collecting and analyzing survey data, share insights and actions taken based on their input.

    This demonstrates that you value their opinions and fosters a sense of collaboration between your business and your audience.

    7. Test Survey Design

    Prioritize user-friendly survey designs with clear instructions and intuitive navigation.

    A/B testing can help identify the most effective survey formats.

    Ensure that your surveys are visually appealing and easy to understand, minimizing any potential confusion.

    8. Monitor Survey Frequency

    Put some checks in place to keep a lid on how often you're sending out surveys.

    Limit the number of surveys sent to the same individual within a specific time frame.

    This prevents your audience from feeling overwhelmed and ensures that surveys are spaced out appropriately.

    9. Utilize Automation

    Automation can be a powerful tool for delivering surveys at the right time.

    Set your surveys to pop up automatically at certain points or after specific actions in your product.

    This ensures that surveys are sent when they are most relevant to the user's experience.

    10. Regularly Review and Revise

    Finally, it's crucial to adopt a continuous improvement mindset.

    Keep a regular eye on how well your survey tactics are working.

    Analyze feedback, look at what people are telling you, and figure out where you can do better. Be ready to switch things up to keep your surveys interesting and useful.

    To Sum Up

    Survey fatigue is a real concern in the world of data collection. It can lead to lowered response rates, biased data, and negative perceptions of your brand.

    However, with thoughtful strategies and best practices, you can combat survey fatigue effectively and continue to gather valuable insights from your audience.

    Remember to segment your audience, optimize survey length, use appropriate tools, offer incentives thoughtfully, personalize survey requests, provide a feedback loop, test survey design, monitor survey frequency, utilize automation, and regularly review and revise your survey strategies.

    This way, your surveys become interactive and practical so that they can produce good results.

    Let not survey fatigue impede data-driven decisions. Follow these tips, and you’re well underway to obtaining practical intelligence from your crowd.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is an example of survey fatigue?

    An example of survey fatigue is when a SaaS company bombards its customers with frequent, lengthy surveys that are not relevant to their interests or experiences. This can lead to customers ignoring or abandoning survey requests.

    How do you deal with survey fatigue?

    To deal with survey fatigue, you can segment your audience, optimize survey length, use in-app survey tools when appropriate, offer incentives thoughtfully, personalize survey requests, provide a feedback loop, test survey design, monitor survey frequency, utilize automation, and regularly review and revise your survey strategies.

    What contributes to survey fatigue?

    Survey fatigue can be caused by factors such as over-surveying, lengthy and complicated surveys, repetitive questions, lack of engagement, and irrelevant survey requests. These factors can overwhelm respondents and lead to disinterest in participating in surveys.

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