Surveys are an exceptional way for your company or organization to remain in touch with your customers’ or clients’ needs. In this increasingly mobile and digital world, delivering surveys to thousands of people at once has become easy.
With all of the value surveys can offer and the ease with which they can be delivered to consumers, you’d imagine they would be one of the most important tools a company can have to improve customer retention. The reality, unfortunately, is that this isn’t the case at all. Many companies don’t bother with surveys because their response rates are small—only 2-5% on average. It’s a shame that such a powerful tool isn’t being used to its full potential. Surveys can still be a powerful tool for business—the organization just needs to put forth some effort to increase consumer response rates and consequently improve customer engagement and satisfaction.
Use Shorter Surveys
“There is no axiom that applies in all cases, such as ‘surveys that require more than 20 minutes result in poor respondent engagement’.” - Research Live
Surveys kept at ten questions or less will improve response rates dramatically. Make sure you stress to participants the survey is very brief, and will only take two or three minutes to complete. Organizations which favor short surveys find not only do they have better response rates, but they have better repeat response rates. That is, the same consumers respond to multiple surveys over time. Build your short survey around a cohesive theme and save other questions for a different survey if need be.
Longer surveys also negatively impact the accuracy of surveys, which is ultimately what survey conductors should care about. If there's a definite need for detailed surveys, there are a few ways to maintain the survey engagement level even while conducting long surveys. This can be done by using a mobile survey app or providing incentives to survey takers.
Use Mobile Survey Apps
When surveys first started, people would stand around street corners and pass out questionnaires. The authenticity and accuracy of the responses were relatively high. However, there's an obvious shortcoming of this method - the number of responses.
Many solutions are being provided in the digital age, in the form of online and/or mobile apps. There are free solutions like Google Form (or online desktop survey forms alike) to help companies launch surveys to a targeted group. It's a cheaper (in this case free) solution for a "will-do-for-now" kind of strategy. It, in general, provides what you need, however, it's similar to a traditional "labor heavy" survey method, and the response rates are usually low. Therefore although some companies still use it for their customer engagement strategies, it might not prove to be the most efficient or helpful.
More advanced solutions like mobile apps have emerged over the past years as well. These survey apps take advantage of the fact that more and more people (e.g. 77% in the US) are using cell phones as part of their lifestyle.
Launching a survey through a popular survey app guarantees delivery to a much larger pool, and hence a high response number. Survey takers don't have to open an online form, register, and then take the survey, etc. The user interface is usually easier, hence the improved completion rate. There are also built-in features to offer rewards to incentives survey takers as well.
Minimize the use of text boxes
There’s a significant link between the number of text boxes in a survey and customer response rates. Text boxes intimidate and ask a lot out of the participant. While you might find it difficult to phrase some questions in a multi-choice format, you’ll discover that you don’t lose much when you cut text boxes, because consumers frequently won’t answer them or will answer in as few words as possible.
Assuming a responsible and meaningful text response will take 3 minutes, you will need to limit your text boxes to 4, provided you don't include any multiple choice questions in your survey. Otherwise, your survey will be longer than 20 minutes and you'll experience a dramatic response rate drop.
Provide an incentive for responding
Let your customers know that they’ll receive a coupon, discount or free item if they respond to the survey. A small incentive does two things. First, it compensates the customer for spending their own time on your survey and sharing their thoughts with you. Second, it shows your appreciation for that effort, and that you value their time as well as their opinions. Surveys with rewards seriously outperform those without in terms of response rate.
A few examples of such rewards can be
- Digital coupons - these are relatively cheap and easy to redeem options
- In-store discounts - similar to digital coupons, but redeemed on location, great for restaurants, hairdressers, etc.
- Contests - take the survey for a chance to win XXX
- Mandated by the company - sometimes it works but only for employees
Surveys can be an exceptional tool for gathering data to strategize effectively when they’re being used intelligently.