Quick Post: How long should a phone survey be?

I’m going to start a something called a “Quick post.” It’s quite simple – a post shorter than my average 500 or so word post. I’m not sure how often I’ll do them, but for simple questions and posts, they work.

Today’s topic is how long should a phone survey be?

My quick answer would be 2 – 5 minutes. Anything less and you aren’t getting too much from the survey. Anything more and customers will start to get frustrated or looking at their watch.

When calling to do a survey, state how long it’ll take. Don’t lie or the customer won’t trust your company if you call again. Make sure at least 70 – 80% of the calls get done in the amount of time you say. If you say they average 2 minutes, and only 52% of calls are around 2 minutes, it isn’t good.

I have a whole category on surveys. There are some great tips/suggestions in it – go check them out.

2 Responses to “Quick Post: How long should a phone survey be?”

  1. Bill Gammell said:

    May 03, 07 at 3:55 pm

    I guess my quick answer is “it depends”. 2-5 minutes is ideal – it works for the interviewee and it works for the interviewer. However, sometimes you need more time in order to drill down to the heart of the reason(s) for the survey.

    At times, depending on the customer’s relationship with the sponsor of the survey or a monetary or some other incentive that is involved, a longer survey may still be appropriate.

    I would caution anyone to conduct a survey over 12 minutes. After this time, the interviewee’s answers can be skewed because they just want to get off the phone. Also, the people conducting the interview hate these long surveys as well and it is a strain on them.

  2. Service Untitled said:

    May 03, 07 at 8:43 pm


    Thanks for your comment!

    I agree with you. 12 minutes is way too long – no one wants to be on the phone that long unless they have something they want to specifically complain about. It’s a waste of everyone’s time for an average survey to drag on that long.