Surveys are one of the easiest ways to gain information and opinions from your customers, fellow employees or other audiences. Whether you send a survey out after an event, before the launch of a new product, to gauge employee satisfaction or to gather customer insights, surveys are only effective when they garner responses. So, how can you ensure your audience actually takes your next survey? We have compiled the top five tips to help you out.
1. Incentivize or explain participation. When you send out a survey, you’re asking someone to take time out of their day to help your company. They may be thinking, “What’s in it for me?” If you can offer an incentive, this greatly increases your chance of receiving responses. People are more likely to respond to monetary incentives like gift cards or product discounts. If you can’t offer an incentive, you need to emphasize to recipients why it will be worthwhile to take your survey. You can do this by providing background information on what your company will do with the collected responses, how the participant will benefit and why they should care. If your survey will have a positive benefit on your participants’ lives, make it clear how it will do so.
2. Set clear expectations. We have all experienced a frustrating survey that seemed like it went on forever. Fast forward 15 minutes and you are sitting there contemplating why you are still taking it. You can prevent this situation by setting accurate expectations at the beginning of your survey. Tell your participants up front how long the survey should take. This will ensure that they are adequately prepared and will not abandon the survey because of its length. To encourage your participants, add in written checkpoint phrases like, “You’re almost there” or “Only three questions left.” Or show a progress bar that visualizes how much they have left to complete. This can make the difference between participants giving up or finishing your survey to the end.
3. Close with a positive question. At the end of your survey, it is important to end on a high note. Thank your respondents for taking the time to answer all your questions and give them a chance to add anything else. This can look like, “Thank you again for completing this survey. Your responses mean a lot to us and will help us improve our services. Do you have any additional feedback for us?” This final question will demonstrate appreciation to your respondents, and you may receive some valuable comments.
4. Test your survey. Once you have completed your survey, take some time away from your computer and return to re-review it later. Go through each question and take your survey to ensure everything is running smoothly. Ask yourself, “Have I set accurate expectations for someone taking my survey? Are each of my survey questions relevant? Are they absolutely necessary to what I’m trying to accomplish? Is someone likely to complete this survey? If not, why?” If you can confidently answer “yes” to all these questions, then you are ready to proceed. It’s also a good idea to have a colleague review your survey before hitting the final send.
5. Complete next steps. Once you have made a sale, would you ignore your customer and move on? Of course not. The same principle follows with surveys. After a customer completes a survey, you should close the loop by following up with them. Let them know what you did with their responses, and how valuable they have been. By following up, you are ensuring that your participants’ voices have been heard. Since they are not expecting this gesture, it will likely come as positive surprise. After they have been delighted, they are much more likely to respond again to future asks from your company.