4 Tips To Improve Your Survey Response Rates



Management expert, Ken Blanchard, once said that “feedback is the breakfast of champions” and I agree. Any company interested in improving its CX will always want to understand its customers thoughts and feelings.

More and more companies are surveying their customers – which is great! – but the increase in surveys has led to the cultural phenomenon known as “survey fatigue”. People are tired of answering the same old questions from almost every company they deal with.

Think back over the last week. How many times were you asked to provide feedback? I’d hazard a guess that it was at least five times. And how many times did you actually complete the survey?

As a CX professional, I used to diligently respond to every survey I received – not so much because I wanted to have my say but I guess because I wanted to personally “reward” the company for striving to get better in the first place.

These days, though, I’m suffering from the same survey fatigue as the rest of you and unless I really care about a company or have something I want to say, I’ll delete the request without even opening it.

So how do you avoid this happening to your surveys? Here’s a few tips.

Respect your customers’ time

Your customers have a ton of better things to do than answer your questions about whether their request was answered, how much effort they expended getting their issue resolved, or whether they’d recommend you to their friends and family. Feedback is a gift – design your survey with that in mind. Define exactly what you’re trying to understand/measure with your survey, don’t ask questions you should know the answer to, limit the number of qualitative questions you ask (open ended questions that require your customers to type a response), and keep your survey to a maximum of five questions (I usually go with three).

Set respondents’ expectations

Everybody likes to know what they’re committing themselves to before starting a survey so before you ask one question, tell respondents how many questions there are and how much of their precious time you intend taking up. Then number your questions and if your survey runs over more than one web page, use a progress bar at the bottom of the page so respondents can see where they’re up to.

Thank respondents

So many companies neglect to thank respondents for completing their surveys. This goes back to respecting your customers’ time. They’ve just taken five or ten minutes out of their day to help you get better. Surely that’s worth thanking them for!

Close the loop

One of the reasons I stopped doing as many surveys was because I never felt like my opinion really mattered. Everybody wants to  know that they’ve been listened to. As a surveying company, the best way you can do that is to tell respondents what you’re doing as a result of their feedback. And you know what? Hardly anyone does this! It amazes me because not only will your customers feel valued but they’ll also be more likely to respond to your next survey because they know their opinion counts for something.


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