Survey Fatigue

Survey fatigue definition

Survey fatigue (often used interchangeably with respondent fatigue) is a problem that occurs when survey respondents become bored or tired during the survey and begin to perform at a substandard level and start providing less or incorrect data.

In general, we can identify two types of survey fatigue:

  1. Survey Response Fatigue - This occurs before the survey begins. Overwhelmed by the growing number of surveys, respondents will be less inclined to participate in your survey. As a result, you’ll suffer from a low response rate.
  2. Survey Taking Fatigue - This type of respondent fatigue happens during the survey. It’s the result of surveys that are perceived as too long and include questions irrelevant to the respondent. An indicator of survey-taking fatigue can be found in a low completion rate.

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Read more about Survey Fatigue on our blog to learn what it is and how to avoid it

How can survey fatigue be reduced?

Different strategies are needed to combat the two common types of survey fatigue just outlined. Let’s look at each one individually.

Reducing survey response fatigue

  • Survey frequency - Your respondents may be so bombarded with survey requests that they’re not even interested or the slightest bit motivated to open your survey. Think carefully about how frequently you really need to be sending out surveys. You may just find that less is more, and sending out a carefully designed survey less frequently may elicit a better response rate than churning out surveys too often that are less carefully planned. Additionally, consider segmenting your audience and surveying each segment less frequently, rather than sending out a survey to your entire audience too often.
  • Alternative data collection methods - There may be times when you can use other methods of data collection rather than sending surveys.
  • Timing of surveys - Another point to consider is sending surveys at the right time, both in terms of the time of day and day of the week, as well as a specific amount of time after there has been some interaction between the survey recipient and yourself. It is advisable to send out a survey following a purchase or conversation between you and your customer rather than sending a survey out of the blue to a whole list of customers just because now is a convenient time for you to run a survey.

Reducing survey taking fatigue

  • Keep the survey as simple as possible – only ask necessary questions
  • Use skip logic – you can reduce the number of questions that respondents need to answer by creating rules so that they are only shown the questions relevant to them.
  • Make sure the layout is clear, user-friendly, and intuitive
  • Add some fun to the survey – check out our slot machine and scratch card questions to spice up the survey and keep respondents interested!
  • Consider running a pilot study where respondents will go through your questionnaire and can give you feedback about the questions at the end. You could find out, for example, at which point they felt that the survey was getting too long, any questions that were worded in an unclear way, or that they felt were too taxing.
  • Communicate to respondents about the purpose of their participation, what the data will be used for, and why their answers are important to you.

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Vincent is the author of this solution article.

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