How to reduce insincere responses for your next customer survey

Here are simple measures you can take to address insincere responses and ensure better data quality for your next customer survey.

How to reduce insincere responses for your next customer survey

Analyzing the feedback from a customer satisfaction survey, you might encounter responses that feel insincere— copy-and-pasted dummy text, or a series of consecutive multiple-choice selections that are the same. Despite decent survey response rate, once you start sifting through, you might find few that truly reflect your customer’s voice. With budgets and resources already committed to the survey, starting from scratch isn't an option. Yet, you're still tasked with analyzing the responses and delivering meaningful results. It's undoubtedly a frustrating scenario.

But you are not the only one who has faced this dilemma - it’s something that has tormented everyone who has ever surveyed their customers. There are simple measures you can take to address insincere responses and ensure better data quality for your next customer survey. Here are some practical tips for you from Smore. 

How to easily identify insincere responses in customer surveys

You can't completely eliminate insincere survey responses; there will always be some. One way to win is to build in mechanisms that allow you to easily and quickly identify insincere responses, so that you can focus your resources on analyzing meaningful customer feedback. 

💡Add questions to check if a respondent is paying attention 

Adding attention-check questions to your customer surveys can help you quickly filter out insincere responses. Questions that ask respondents to carry out simple but specific action will do the job. For example, include questions such as ‘please choose the letter A.’ It’s impossible to choose the wrong answer unless you didn’t read the question.   

💡Include contrasting questions and compare for consistency. 

Checking for consistent responses can give you a sense of how reliable a respondent's answers are. Include survey questions that assess consistency from the outset. One way to do this is by including questions that oppose each other. For instance, one question might state “I am very satisfied with the quality of the service”, then another question may state “I am very dissatisfied with the quality of the service”. If someone chose ‘Strongly Agree’ with both statements, that’s an inconsistent answer. 

💡Review session duration

The duration of a respondent's session indirectly reflects their level of engagement. If it's unusually short compared to the survey's length, it could signal rushed or automated responses. Respondents may have used bots, or clicked through multiple choice questions without reading them thoroughly. Short session duration indicates potentially invalid responses and you can filter them out. 

Smore tracks respondent session duration for you. 

Creating a Survey Environment that Encourages Genuine Feedback

Surveys serve as vital channels for capturing the customer feedback, enabling us to gather opinions on what truly matters to our customers. It's crucial to prioritize quality over quantity in survey design - nudge respondents to give more in-depth feedback instead of getting more people to complete the survey by offering survey incentives. When fostering an environment in which your customers feel heard and appreciated, small things go a long way. 

💡Tailor Survey Length

A lengthy survey can overwhelm respondents, leading them to mindlessly click through questions to complete the survey quickly. Controlling the survey length is crucial for ensuring the quality of response data.

Of course, the optimal survey length will vary depending on the survey goal, nature of your service/product and the target audience. But on average, a customer satisfaction survey typically has 5 to 14 questions meaning it will take the respondents 5 to 10 minutes to complete. This is a good length that will keep the respondents engaged fully without feeling overwhelmed.

💡Optimize your open-ended questions

Open ended, long response questions are where your customers truly open up to you. Responses to these questions are invaluable. Unfortunately, it’s also where drop-off or low quality answers are the most frequent. So you must reserve this precious opportunity for your burning questions. Keep these questions to the minimum, below 10% of your entire survey. 

Where you place this question also affects how your customers respond. Open-ended question requires more reflection, time and effort to answer. If placed too early in the survey, it will drain the respondents too much and increase churn. Positioning them later in the survey will give respondents an opportunity to wrap-up their feedback and thoughts before submitting their response. 

💡How to keep reward-seekers at bay 

While rewards can boost survey participation, they may also attract insincere responses from reward-seekers, compromising data accuracy and consistency. Offering prizes that align with your brand and only your loyal customers and advocates will find beneficial, can incentivize people without sacrificing data quality. An extended free trial or store credit is a great example. 

These rewards enhance the customer experience, reducing the barrier to initial brand engagement for newcomers. It also fosters loyalty among existing customers, thereby prolonging their engagement with your brand.

You can also make the rewards selective. Specify that survey prizes will only be awarded to sincere respondents, discouraging participation solely for the prize. This approach maintains the integrity of responses and addresses any complaints from insincere participants in the future.

Fostering authenticity in customer surveys is paramount for gathering valuable insights into your customers. By implementing strategies to identify and mitigate insincere responses, and by creating a survey environment that prioritizes quality feedback over quantity, you can filter out the noise. Only then will you be able to experience the full potential of surveys, and leverage them as powerful tools for understanding and meeting customer expectations, ultimately driving growth and building customer loyalty.