74% Of Consumers Prefer Surveys With 5 Questions Or Less

If you really want to know what your customer thinks, you’d be smart to give them a survey with an amount of questions they care to answer.  You’ll get more to opt-in to the feedback process and most of those to complete it.  I wondered myself how many questions consumers prefer to respond to when a business gives them a survey, so I conducted a Google Survey of 500 respondents to find out.

The results are pretty straightforward, 74% of consumers prefer surveys with 5 questions or less.

consumer survey on surveys

59% Prefer Surveys Of 2-5 Questions

I was bit surprised that 16% of our survey respondents selected just one question, I honestly thought that response would be higher.  You could assume the large majority responded at 2 to 5 survey questions because it gave the business a decent sample of their opinion and experience without taking up too much of their time.

I’m not mad that our GetFiveStars platform allows you to ask a maximum of 5 questions, with the Net Promoter Score question and then 4 survey questions.  We’re right in line with what consumers want and that is VERY important.

Getting Lost On Business Goals Over Customer Experience & Feedback

A short and sweet survey can be far from the minds of business marketing and operations departments unfortunately.  As consumers, we’ve all probably started a survey and at some point after the 10th, 15th or 20th question wondered “when will this end!?!”.

I’ve had 2 of those experiences lately.  Both Arby’s and Quiznos Subs have customer feedback surveys that were bloated, lengthy and left me feeling less cared for as a customer.  They wanted mass data, not my opinion.

1 Roast Beef Sandwich, 27 Questions

A month ago out of curiosity I decided to give my local Arby’s feedback after eating lunch there.  The short version is I had to hunt for how to do this on their website, eventually using the site map to find their feedback survey!  Wow.  What other customers are willing to do that?


The start of the feedback process was clunky.  I didn’t have my receipt so I had to look up all of the information like the location number.

After answering a few screens with just one or 2 questions on the screen, I hit the jackpot. 13 questions jammed into 1 screen.  Best of all, the progress bar lets me know it’s not the end by any means.

arbys customer survey

Next came question after question, only one of which truly wanted my opinion.  The rest were junk questions trying to find out if marketing for their latest Italian Sandwich promotion was working.  Here is a collage of these questions.

arbys survey questions

In the end, I ate my lunch in half the time it took me to take their survey and it lowered my opinion of the brand at the same time.

Quiznos Put’s My Time To The Test

When eating at a Quiznos recently I noticed they were promoting a customer feedback survey on their receipt while eating there.

Two things from this experience qualified as poor.  The first was the mobile experience of taking the survey is terrible … like 1998 Internet terrible.  Small fonts and tap targets (the answer choices) were well below the recommended size of 44 pixels.  Quiznos should tell their survey provider to fix that ASAP or get lost.

Next and even more important than the terrible user experience on mobile was, just like Arby’s, they want everything, 30+ questions in total.

long mobile survey

You Want Customer Feedback?  Then Care About The Customer

This is a pretty easy list to make happen if you want feedback from your customers.  Don’t overthink it and more specifically don’t let your business goals, data obsession and marketing desires get in the way.

  1.  Make it easy – Allow customers easy access to give feedback, skip entering 10 fields just to get started.  I know it’s great to understand so much on time, gender, how often they visit you, etc, but that’s your needs, not theirs.
  2. Make it short – Our survey data shows the vast majority want 5 questions or less, don’t try to find out everything, find out what’s important and respect their time!
  3. Make it mobile – It’s 2016 and sad I have to mention this but I do. Giving feedback from a customer’s smartphone should be drop dead simple.


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