Is Surveying Your Customers a Bad Idea?

customer survey

As a business owner, you want to provide the best service or product possible, and you rely on your customer’s feedback to improve. So, it might seem counterintuitive to hear someone say that surveying your customers is a bad idea. However, before you get defensive, let me elaborate. Regularly asking for feedback is an excellent practice, but solely relying on your customer’s opinions can be misleading. Let me explain why you should take a step back and reconsider surveying your customers.

Customers Don’t Always Know What They Want

Yes, customers can tell you if something is off or not to their liking, but they’re not marketing experts or product designers. If you limit your development to only what customers say they want, you’ll miss out on creating something revolutionary that they didn’t realize they wanted. Additionally, if you only cater to customer feedback, you’re likely to end up with a product or service that is overly specific and may alienate potential customers down the road.

The Vocal Minority

It’s often said, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” and the same principle applies to customer surveys. Those who have a bad experience or strong opinion are more likely to speak up and leave a review or fill out a survey. This feedback can skew your results, making it seem like you’re doing worse than you are. Conversely, those who had an average or good experience may not take the survey, making you think you’re doing better than you are.

Survey Fatigue

Let’s be real; most of us have gotten tired of filling out surveys for every little thing we buy or interact with. Even if you incentivize your surveys, customers may be hesitant to take the time to fill them out. Requiring too many surveys can also harm your customer experience and make them feel like you’re bothering them or not valuing their time.

Better Alternatives Exist

If you want to gain insight on how to improve or what your customers want, there are other methods that can be more effective and less intrusive. You can analyze customer behavior, conduct interviews or focus groups, or look at trends in the market. These alternatives will give you more well-rounded data that is less likely to be influenced by the vocal minority or skewed by a customer’s misunderstanding.

And sometimes you just have to “build it” and see if customers want it, and test it out.


In conclusion, customer feedback is an essential component of improving your business. Still, solely relying on surveys can be misleading and unproductive. Customers don’t always know what they want, survey fatigue can harm customer experience, and better alternatives exist. Instead, try utilizing other methods to gain a well-rounded perspective and improve your service or product. Don’t forget to prioritize your customer’s experience and time, and remember to listen to them, whether they choose to fill out a survey or not.

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