Businesses today are constantly looking for ways to improve declining survey response rates. It is important to identify ways that can increase the number of respondents to surveys which can save a lot of money and generate valuable data for the business. Additionally, with more surveys being completed, the margin of error is significantly reduced permitting businesses to access insightful data and come to reliable conclusions.
# Designing an Effective Survey
Businesses can create a survey with the assistance of an online survey maker. Keep the questions short, simple and relevant. Keep a target in mind and come up with a well-defined goal.
Armed with a perfect draft of the survey that can sync in with your target customer base ensures that your survey has been successfully designed. When it reaches your potential and existing clients, the chances of receiving completed surveys by respondents is exponentially increased.
But the question remains on how can survey response rates be maximised. For many businesses, offering incentives and rewards to customers have worked.
# Determining the Success of Your Surveys
Goodwill of customers cannot alone do the trick. Start by going through customer satisfaction survey examples. See what appeals to your target customer base and if the survey is aligned perfectly with your business goals. You can introduce incentives to encourage your respondents to complete surveys. The key questions that need to be answered here are:
- But does that in any way create an unconscious bias within the audience?
- Are the results of the surveys jeopardized by incentives then?
As a business, you can offer the survey incentives in two stages which can be either pre or post-survey completion or both. Pre-survey incentives have shown promise for those businesses that confine their surveys to traditional platforms such as mail. On the other hand, post-survey incentives go well with digital and any other new-age platforms. In both instances, the amount of the incentive has been directly proportional to the hike in the respondent numbers.
Timing your incentives right is of great essence. You need to clearly determine the type of incentive and the stage where you will offer it to your customers. You survey success also depends on another key parameter – confidentiality.
Your respondents will be apprehensive about the privacy and anonymity of their survey responses. Since you will offer incentives, you will need to collect customer information such as email, address, phone numbers. At this point, you need to ensure that your customers are aware that this data will not be shared with third parties or will be linked back to their personal accounts in any way. Providing this assurance will trigger better response rates to your surveys.
# Using and Not Using Survey Incentives
In spite of the demonstrated value of incentive addition to surveys, marketers still struggle to arrive at a decision on when to use or not use them. Why is that?
- Incentives May Create Bias:
Even though survey incentives have proven to be effective in raising response numbers, it is essential that you remember that the completed survey may not always be bias-free. For example, you may have a set of respondents who do not fit into your target audience parameters, but their surveys responses do not match their demographics in any way. This probably is a by-product of offering an incentive that has triggered this biased behaviour towards your business.
- When Not to Use Incentives:
In addition to that, you may want to consider if your survey needs any form of incentive at all. If you are circulating a customer satisfaction survey, any type of incentives may have a direct influence on the quality of customer feedback. Your customers may offer a positive response just to get the incentive in this instance. Moreover, incentives may also backfire if you are offering it in the pre-survey stage where the customer has already received the rewards which means that the inclination to complete the survey is put at risk.
In situations such as these respondents will have an unconscious tendency to offer positive feedback even if their experience was not anywhere near perfect. Skipping the incentive option may work in your favor here, and you can use them to create follow-up surveys instead. This will help in generating more insightful data for your business in the long-term.
- When to Use Incentives:
In situations where incentives are indeed effective is when a business needs insight into a rare target population who are less likely to be active respondents. For example, doctors or lawyers are difficult demographics to crack as participating respondents in surveys simply because of the compulsions of their professions. Here, offering an incentive may create the opportunity to garner better results in comparison to not offering anything at all.
If you have already sent out the survey to your target audience but have not received the desired response numbers, think about contacting them again. Offer add-on incentives to those who have not responded so that there is no platform to create a biased sample.
# Does offering Incentives & Rewards Make it More Expensive for Businesses?
There is reason enough to believe that investing in incentives in surveys offers a more balanced sample of customers. The name of the game is to be smart. By getting your rewards and data quality balance in tandem, it offsets any extra overheads on the business.