Tired of customer surveys? Telia knows better!


You just hung up on their call centre or had a quick chat via their website. Downloaded their app or a brochure. Or just WhatsApped their contact centre. And BAM! there it is: the customer survey. We all suffer from them on a daily basis. And they're worse than unsolicited mails or spam because, out of sheer decency, we often feel inclined to open them and respond.

"Give us your feedback," they say. And if you’re lucky and have used several channels for the same question or complaint, then BAM! again: You get several surveys for the same issue. With different questions, of course, as omnichannel is still somewhere in the far future. And you had better not state that you’re not heavily thrilled by the product or service. No less than five stars or 10 out of 10 points or BAM!, you’re directly punished with more questions and follow-up surveys. More text fields for you, requiring more words!

Hidden Insights: Tired of customer surveys? Telia knows better! - SAS
Tired of customer surveys? Telia knows better!

Customer survey fatigue kicking in

Many of us modern customers are hit by this triple-BAM on a frequent basis. And looking at the rapidly declining response rates (Vesta Research), we’re increasingly fed up with these surveys. As survey fatigue kicks in, challenges in customer satisfaction and NPS scoring abound. Will data still be representative, or will it become increasingly biased?

Dissatisfied customers tired of surveys keep silent, become "silent complainers" and, ultimately, churners. Or is the tsunami of surveys actually the dissatisfaction with the tool measured instead of product, service or brand? Are customers giving five stars or 10 points just to get rid of more questions, requiring more of our precious time? Or is it that "everybody lies," as Seth Stephens-Davidowitz would argue – notably in surveys?

Telia showing the way

Telecommunications companies, already plagued by low NPS scores (Auris 2019), are suffering from this survey fatigue too. There are, however, ways of dealing with this. First of all, blasting out questionnaires without stratified sampling might already tilt data in a certain direction. You could reduce bias by using "rejected interference" techniques, as is done by banks with credit scoring. By analyzing how a rejected group (e.g., nonresponders) behaves (e.g., churns within a certain time frame), you can correct a model. You could even use A/B testing to analyze responses to different survey setups and questions. It becomes even more interesting if the telecom provider uses the power of analytics to forecast or predict an NPS score. This is exactly what Telia does.

In a presentation at the Communications Executive Experience organized by SAS, Riku Mäkeläinen explained how Telia Finland predicts the NPS scores of customers without continuous pestering surveys. By combining other data points (e.g., order/delivery data, network performance data and usage data) with powerful analytics, Telia can accurately forecast NPS scores. And take action to improve a product, refine a process or change an app to satisfy their customers – without using too many surveys.

Want to know more about it? Leave a comment or PM me. Also, for a good view of what SAS can offer in the communications industry, visit our eMWC page, where you can find six recent webinars and other useful information: sas.com/mwc20.

Customer experience is defined as your customers’ perceptions – both conscious and subconscious – of their relationship with your brand resulting from all their interactions with your brand during the customer life cycle.


About Author

Matthieu Joosten

After finishing my PhD in comms sciences at City University London I worked as a strategy consultant, wholesale director and later as an IT director at a European telecom operator. Advised operators in the US, Middle East and Europe on their B2B, wholesale and digital strategies before joining SAS being the global industry leader for telecom and media industries.

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