When you’re trying to gather information using online or offline surveys, it can be very difficult to get a good rate of response. You get a few respondents who finish the survey, but otherwise, have a lackluster response to requests or abandoned processes part way through the survey. So how do you improve your response rate?
Here are ten great techniques to get you started.
1. Offer incentives in proportion to the perceived cost of providing survey response. Everyone likes feeling like they’re getting something for nothing or that what you’re offering is good compensation for the amount of time you’re requiring of them. Make sure that the incentive is adequate for the information you’re requesting.
2. Create cognitive dissonance to gain valued response data. Word your survey request in such as way that the respondent feels they must respond or would otherwise be seen as unreasonable. People don’t like feeling as though they are falling outside of socially acceptable norms.
3. Build self-perception to encourage a response. Start by asking for help, as most people consider themselves to be helpful and want to retain that perception of themselves. Don’t be afraid to be a little humble and own up to why you need their help with your latest market research survey.
4. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Silly!). Though it may be nice to know some answers, stick only to the ones that are actually needed for your research to avoid burnout from longer surveys. Nobody likes to answer endless lists of questions that don’t seem to have any relevance to the participant.
5. Keep your participants in the know. How long will the survey take? What is the aim of the research? How will your company benefit from the research? Will you follow up later? Knowing the details keeps your respondents engaged and interested in providing the details that will grow your business.
6. Have a human available for clarification. There’s nothing as frustrating to a respondent who wants to provide you with information than a dead-end survey that doesn’t allow for feedback and clarification.
7. Make it personal. People are much more likely to respond positively to a survey invitation that addresses them by name or brings up details of a prior order or service to create a personal connection with the company.
8. Stick with your target demographic. Plan on sampling only a certain number of individuals from that demographic to give the respondents a sense of standing out from the crowd. You don’t need information from all your clients, only a particular sample from the whole.
9. Use surveys as part of your daily business. By providing them after customer service transactions, orders, contact requests and similar occurrences, you’re creating an expectation that the customer will respond to improve their experience with your company.
10. Use the information and tell respondents what you’ve discovered. If you’ve sent out a half a dozen survey requests in the past and never did anything with the information, your respondents may not see the point of spending their time answering your questions.
By keeping these ten tips in mind, you can vastly improve your online survey response rates and make your research go much more smoothly.
Also published on Medium.