5 ways to make survey respondents want to help you
Do you want to collect data from survey respondents? It might help you to know about ‘survey fatigue’. That is a situation where people are less likely to respond to surveys, because they are asked for too much information. On the one hand, people are tired of doing surveys. And on the other, they get tired (read: bored) while taking them.
This is why many surveys have high abandonment rates. If your abandonment rates peak half-way through the survey, then this is your indication that you need to change them.
There are some simple ways, however, to avoid this situation and get good survey response rates.
1. Be clear about the value to the survey respondents
When people understand how their survey responses will be used, they are more likely to give up their time to help. Communicating this is very important. It is also very important to be clear about any survey incentives that could be attached to a response.
- Why someone should take your survey
- How long it really takes to complete: Test it!
- The number of questions in it
- What happens to the data. Is it anonymous? And if not, how is their data stored safely?
There are ways you can do this in-survey, too. Make sure the survey aims are clear in the invitation, instructions and welcome. Keep them updated with progress; share the collective results at the end; and keep in touch about how the survey is used.
2. Make life easy for the survey respondents
The fastest way to disengage people is to make things hard, boring, or irrelevant. When people have to skip over lots of questions that don’t fit them, they’re more likely to abandon your survey.
The experience on every device is also critical. Test your surveys on different platforms, screen sizes and devices. That’s the best way to ensure everyone has a great experience (and not a bad one).
3. Ask the right questions
Go back to the purpose of your survey, and only ask questions that are directly relevant to your purpose. If gender isn’t relevant, don’t ask! If location isn’t relevant, don’t ask! It’s tempting to collect extra information just because you can. But your survey respondents will thank you for sticking to the point.
4. Put yourself in the shoes of survey respondents
How would you feel if you received your survey and its communications? Would you feel that it’s easy to complete? Simple to use? A good experience? Is it enjoyable, even? Survey invitations need to be inviting.
It’s hard to stay on top of this kind of empathy, especially when there are many hands in the pie. Ultimately it’s in your best interest: It gives you better data. The more your people feel like you understand them, the better the responses you’ll get.
5. Make sure your audience isn’t getting too many surveys
The easiest way to avoid this is to make sure you don’t overload people. Keep an eye on how many surveys you send in a small period of time. And check how many requests for feedback your audience is getting.
Try to find a way to set a limit on the number of requests any one person will get from you. In a large business this can be difficult, especially if different parts of the organisation send surveys separately. So, consider processes to ensure that people aren’t getting multiple survey invitations all at once.
Great design helps everyone
Good, well designed surveys with great questions help everyone involved. This goes for your respondents, but also for those analysing data. As they say, bad surveys will get you data; it’s whether you can truly benefit from it that is the question.
By putting in place the five steps above, you’ll be well on your way to getting the survey response rate you need. And you will help people sigh a little less when they complete your surveys.