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Survey Fatigue? Why Crowdsourcing Is a Smart Solution

Few voices are as important—and loud—as consumers. They are, after all, the lifeblood of any brand or retailer. Nearly every decision you make affects your customers, from changes to your supply chain to front-of-store displays and promotions.  

Therefore, it’s a must that you fully understand what your shoppers are thinking. Their feedback can help you make the right decisions for your business and ensure that you’re growing and evolving in a sustainable, profitable way.  

For many in retail, the answer to understanding the voice of the consumer is through customer feedback surveys. However, there’s a catch. 

Are Customer Feedback Surveys Not Working? 

A lot has been said about how Americans these days have short attention spans. Even so, there is some data to back it up, at least when it comes to customer surveys. 

A report compiled by Medallia of more than 3,000 consumers across the U.S., U.K., and Australia found that customer feedback surveys aren’t effective, in part because they’re just too long. According to the study, 44 percent of shoppers have abandoned a survey before completion. The main reason why was length.  

Bottom line: Customer feedback surveys can be too long and not worth shoppers’ time and effort. 

Beyond length, the Medallia survey also uncovered another key issue with these surveys: Brands and retailers aren’t listening. Roughly half of the 3,000 respondents said they didn’t take another survey because the company had previously ignored their feedback. In addition, 52 percent said that a negative interaction in the past could have been quickly resolved if they were able to provide real-time feedback. 

Overall, there are improvements to be made regarding customer feedback surveys. 

Customer feedback surveys can be too long and not worth shoppers’ time and effort.

Enter Crowdsourcing as a Solution 

Thankfully, you have another option beyond the customer feedback survey: crowdsourcing. By crowdsourcing data collection, you can uncover inefficiencies and opportunities on a national scale with a reduced impact on your budget.  

Modern crowdsourcing—once in the form of mystery shoppers—can today be completed via smartphones and mobile applications. This strategy connects you with thousands of shoppers quickly and easily. You can ask questions about in-store merchandising, shelf health, promotions, and more.  

Crowdsourcing can be a more efficient solution than customer feedback surveys because it is a quicker and less of a burden on shoppers. Given that the Medallia study found that most consumers abandon their surveys due to length, shorter, more engaging crowdsourced data collection could yield better results. Plus, the abundance of smartphone-enabled shoppers can connect you to more shoppers than previously possible, improving the accuracy and scale of your data. 

Why Crowdsourcing Is a Viable Alternative 

Modern, app-based crowdsourcing can be an ideal solution because of how the data is collected. For example, Wiser’s smartphone-enabled shoppers are prompted to answer questions while inside stores. They have opportunities to take pictures, complete challenges, and provide feedback at the same time they’re completing their everyday shopping.  

This method is less intrusive on shoppers than traditional customer feedback surveys, as they already have smartphones and were headed to the store anyway. Furthermore, the Medallia study noted that consumers want to share feedback via surveys that are more engaging. Of the 3,000 respondents, 66 percent said they wanted to include photos with their feedback. This is a key part of Wiser’s crowdsourced data collection.  

In addition, 42 percent want to include screenshots of their feedback, 28 percent want to leave voice messages, and 19 percent want to include videos. Simple text-only customer feedback surveys aren’t as desirable among consumers anymore. 

Crowdsourcing data collection with a female shopper holding a smartphone.

Change Up Your Approach to Feedback 

The Medallia study illustrates that brands and retailers should be looking for new and innovative ways to collect customer feedback. 

For starters, make sure your approach to feedback is constant—don’t wait for something to go wrong before you try to fix problems. Be more proactive, not reactive. Naturally, shoppers would prefer to never encounter an issue with your company instead of working with you to fix it after the fact. 

Consider an approach to customer feedback that looks something like this: 

  1. Always Be Asking – Provide opportunities for feedback at every step of the customer journey. Combine traditional methods, like surveys, with modern crowdsourcing to keep a finger on the pulse of your shoppers at all times. Guide shoppers to online surveys on their receipts. Send emails asking for feedback. Prompt shoppers to share their experiences after they complete an online order. Mobilize smartphone-enabled shoppers to survey your brick-and-mortar stores at regular intervals. 
  2. Customize Your Surveys – Shoppers want to matter, and a customized, personal touch to customer feedback can help. Simple steps include personalized emails, loyalty programs, and the like to communicate that you know who your shoppers are. Better yet, customize your communications to reference past feedback from that shopper. Show them that you’re listening.  
  3. Be Transparent – Finally, make sure your shoppers know that you’re doing something with their feedback. As the Medallia study showed, many customers will stop sharing feedback if they feel like you’re not listening. So, be transparent with your improvement efforts. Even if changes take time, send out emails, post signs in store, or update your website with a custom message that you’ve heard what your shoppers are saying. 

Find Your Ideal Data Partner

Remember, you’re not alone on your quest to grow your business and provide the best possible service to your customers. Wiser is here to help. Our smartphone-enabled shoppers can be the crowdsourcing solution you need to optimize your stores, make positive changes, and get the customer feedback you need. 

Let us know if you’d like to schedule a meeting—we’d love to chat! 

Matt Ellsworth

Matt is the Content Marketing Manager at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions. He holds a BA from Salem State University.

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