Some of the more thoughtful companies I work with have asked what changes they should make to their survey programs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Instead of surveys as usual, you need to show that you aren’t tone-deaf to the unprecedented situation your customers face. And you need to help stakeholders who use your data and have a lot on their minds to navigate this situation. To do that:

  1. Pare surveys back to the bone.
  2. Set customers’ expectations on whether (or not) you’ll respond.
  3. Explain to stakeholders that Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer experience (CX) scores will dip during this crisis (and why).*
  4. Plant the seed in your organization for moving beyond surveys.

Below, I’ll expand on the first piece of advice. To read more about my other three recommendations, see Don’t Conduct CX Surveys As Usual During The COVID 19 Crisis.

Pare Down Surveys To The Bone

You should pare surveys back to the bone because customers will have even less patience for surveys that feel self-serving, irrelevant, or annoying. Cut out:

  1. Questions that send signals to customers that you don’t know them. For example, “What did you come to this website to do?” (You can get this information from web data analysis.)
  2. Questions about CX drivers in transactional surveys. Especially if they correlate highly with each other (meaning they basically measure the same thing) or if stakeholders aren’t using them other than to put the numbers in a report.
  3. Transactional NPS. It can be awkward under normal circumstances to start a “feedback” survey with “How likely would you be to recommend us?” Now, it’s downright insensitive.
  4. Demographic questions about age, gender, and income. Those can feel intrusive even in normal times. What’s more, they rarely add enough insights to make the intrusion worthwhile. Instead, tag each survey with a unique identifier so you can link feedback to the customer data you have in your customer relationship management system.

Ideally, limit your surveys to a single, simple question about the experience. For example: “How was your experience with ___?” Offer customers the option to add a comment, but don’t force an answer.

To read more about the other three recommendations above, see Don’t Conduct CX Surveys As Usual During The COVID 19 Crisis. And if you are going beyond surveys and want to talk to me about it, please reach out:


* Net Promoter and NPS are registered service marks, and Net Promoter Score is a service mark, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.