Two weeks ago, I made a reservation to stay at the Radisson Blu in Chicago. A couple days after making the reservation, I received an email survey. I chose not to answer it, and deleted the email. Three days later, they sent me another email, asking me to complete the same survey.
If you were knocking on doors in your neighborhood asking residents to take a survey, and Mrs. Jones told you that she didn't want to take the survey, would you go back a few days later and knock on Mrs. Jones' door again? Probably not. Most of us were brought up to respect people's privacy.
Why is it different with email surveys? Why is it that when we choose to not respond to the survey, some companies come back to our inbox a few days later and ask us again?
The actual answer is quite simple, but the actual impact is likely deeper. The reason companies come back a second time, as Carlson Rezidor (the parent company of Radisson Blu) did with me, is because they'll likely boost the overall number of survey responses; surely some recipients will open the email, and take the time to respond to the survey the second time around.
That's good for survey response rates, but is it good for the customer experience?
When a survey arrives in my inbox, I make a conscious decision to open and respond, or delete. If I choose "delete," then 2 days later the company sends me a second email, my impression is that they don't respect my time or my privacy; they care more about their response rates than they do about me. And that makes for a bad customer experience.
The issue is this:
The positive result of asking customers a second time to complete a survey is presented in hard, visible data. Marketing people are driven by data. But while many more customers may be offended by the second survey request, there's no data collected to reveal this.
It's like the tree falling in the forest when no one was there to see or hear it. Just because you have no evidence of the fallen tree doesn't mean that all the trees are standing tall.
And just because no customers complain about the bothersome second request doesn't mean that all customers are happy or indifferent about it.
What good is raising your survey response rate, if you're potentially lowering the quality of your customers' experience?