Customer feedback

How to increase survey response rates | 20+ proven tips

AskNicely Team

20+ tips to increase survey response rates

Surveys are invaluable tools for gathering customer feedback for making informed business decisions and improving customer experience. However, getting a high number of responses can be challenging. If you’ve been struggling with low response rates, you’re not alone. Many businesses face this issue and it can be a frustrating hurdle to gaining true customer sentiment and improving your customer experience. However, with the right strategies in place, you can significantly boost your survey response rates and gain more meaningful insights from your customers. Read on to discover how. 

What is a survey response rate? 

A survey response rate is the percentage of people who respond to a survey out of the total number of people who were invited or targeted to participate. It is a key metric used to measure the effectiveness of a survey campaign and the quality of the data collected.

Calculation example:

Response rate = (number of responses / number of initiatives) x 100 

Response rate = (200 / 1000) x 100 

Response rate = 0.2 x 100 

Response rate = 20%

Understanding your survey response rate is crucial for evaluating the effectiveness of your survey efforts and making informed decisions based on the collected data. For example, if only 5% of your customers responded to your survey, you may question the sufficiency of the data. 

How to increase your survey response rate

Improving your survey response rate requires a thoughtful approach. Here are some proven tips to increasing your survey response rates. 

Keep surveys short and focused

Shorter surveys with 1-3 questions have an average completion rate of 83%, while surveys with 4-8 questions have a completion rate of 65%. The completion rate drops again for surveys with 9-14 questions, with an average rate of 56.28%. As you can see, keeping surveys concise increases the likelihood of respondents completing them.

Start with easy questions

Begin your survey with straightforward and easy-to-answer questions. This helps to ease respondents into the survey and encourages them to continue. You can use simple questions that provide powerful insights, such as NPS and CSAT. 

Personalize survey invitations

Personalized survey invitations are more likely to grab the attention of your audience. Use your customers’ name, reference past interactions, or tailor the invitation based on their preferences or history with your brand.

Offer incentives

Consider offering incentives to respondents to increase participation. This could be a discount, a gift, or entry into a prize draw. Incentives can significantly boost response rates.

Choose the right time

Send surveys at a time when your audience is most likely to respond. Consider factors like time zone differences and the typical schedule of your target audience. Instead of getting too caught up on the number of days or hours, ask yourself this key question: At what point in the journey can the customer ultimately decide what they think of your service? Collecting feedback as soon as customers make up their minds is vital. 

Utilize multiple channels

Reach out to your audience through various channels such as email, social media, and your website. This increases the chances of reaching them where they are most active.

Ensure mobile compatibility

Given the increasing use of smartphones, ensure your surveys are mobile-friendly. This allows respondents to easily complete surveys on their mobile devices. Research shows that surveys optimized for mobile devices are completed 30-40% faster than those optimized for desktops.

Use engaging visuals

Incorporate visuals like images, videos, or infographics into your surveys to make them more engaging and appealing to respondents. 

Carefully craft your subject lines

Craft compelling subject lines for your survey invitations to increase open rates. A strong subject line can make the difference between your survey being opened or ignored.

Provide progress indicators

Include progress indicators in your survey to show respondents how far along they are. This helps manage expectations and encourages completion.

Assure confidentiality

Assure respondents that their responses will remain confidential. This can help alleviate concerns about privacy and encourage honest feedback.

Communicate survey importance

Clearly communicate why the survey is important and how the feedback will be used. This can motivate respondents to participate knowing their input will make a difference.

Follow up strategically

Send a follow-up reminder to those who haven't responded. Keep the message polite and concise, and consider offering a gentle nudge or a reminder of the incentive.

Thank respondents

Show appreciation to respondents for taking the time to complete your survey. Here at AskNicely, we never underestimate the power of a simple thank you, and the long way it can go in building goodwill.

Segment your audience

Segment your audience based on relevant criteria such as demographics or past interactions. Tailoring surveys to specific segments can increase relevance and response rates.

A/B survey designs

Test different survey designs to see which performs better. A/B testing can help you identify the most effective layout, format, and wording for your surveys.

Simplify response options

Make it easy for respondents to select their answers by providing clear and concise response options. Avoid complex or ambiguous choices, and go with simple scales and multi choices and short answers. 

Allow respondents to skip questions

Give respondents the option to skip questions if they are unsure or uncomfortable answering. This can prevent survey abandonment due to difficult or sensitive questions.

Provide a preview

Offer a preview of the survey to give respondents an idea of what to expect. This can help them prepare and feel more comfortable before starting.

Share results and insights

Share the results of your survey with respondents and stakeholders. This demonstrates transparency and shows that their feedback is valued.

Continuous improvement

Regularly review and refine your survey process based on feedback and results. Continuous improvement ensures your surveys remain effective and relevant.

Bonus: make them easy to analyze and act on

Utilize AI tools to analyze and derive insights from your survey data efficiently. AI can help identify trends, sentiment, and actionable insights, enabling you to act on feedback more effectively.

What factors affect survey response rates?

Several factors influence a survey’s response rate, each playing a crucial role in determining whether respondents will engage with and complete your survey. Here are some key factors to consider:

Survey length

The length of your survey is a significant factor. As previously mentioned, longer surveys tend to have lower completion rates as respondents may lose interest or feel that the survey is too time-consuming. Keeping surveys short and focused can help maintain engagement.

Survey design

The design of your survey impacts how user-friendly and appealing it is to respondents. Tools like AskNicely make it easy to create well-designed surveys that are visually appealing and easy to navigate. For more information on designing effective surveys, check out this article: Survey Template: Design Your Email on the "Survey Start" Page.

Clarity of questions

Clear and concise questions are essential for obtaining accurate and meaningful responses. Ambiguous or complex questions can confuse respondents, leading to inaccurate answers or survey abandonment. Ensuring clarity in your questions enhances the quality of the feedback you receive. We recommend using key streamlined CX metrics like NPS and CSAT. 

Relevance of participants

Selecting the right participants for your survey is crucial. If the survey is not relevant to the participants, they are less likely to respond. Targeting the appropriate audience increases the likelihood of receiving meaningful and actionable feedback.

Incentives

Whether it’s a discount, a gift card, or entry into a prize draw, incentives provide an additional motivation for respondents to complete the survey. Make sure the incentives are attractive and relevant to your audience.

Understanding and optimizing these factors can help you improve your survey response rates and gather more valuable insights from your audience.

What’s considered a “good” survey response rate?

Determining what constitutes a "good" survey response rate can be relative and depends on several factors, including the complexity of the survey and the target audience. Additionally, response rates can vary significantly across different industries.

Industry benchmarks: 

  • Education: Response rates often range between 30-40%.
  • Healthcare: Generally sees response rates between 40-60%.
  • Retail: Typically has response rates around 20-30%.
  • B2B: Response rates tend to be lower, often between 10-20%.

In general, a 30% response rate is considered average, while response rates above 40% are considered good. However, rather than fixating on these benchmarks, it's more important to focus on continuous improvement. By regularly measuring and analyzing your survey response rates, you can identify trends and make informed adjustments to your survey strategies over time. This approach ensures that your survey efforts are consistently effective and aligned with your goals.

Why is a high survey response rate important? 

A high survey response rate is crucial because it ensures a representative sample, leading to more accurate and actionable insights for improving customer experience and making informed business decisions. Achieving a high response rate allows you to confidently make data-driven decisions that reflect the views of your entire customer base rather than a biased subset. For more insights on optimizing customer experience, download the Return on Customer Experience Model.

Here are the key benefits of a high survey response rate:

  • Accurate representation: Ensures that the survey results reflect the views of your entire audience. More on this here. 
  • Reduced bias
  • Statistical significance
  • Clearer voice of the customer
  • Actionable feedback
  • Cost-effectiveness

These benefits collectively contribute to a more precise understanding of your customers' needs and preferences, enabling you to enhance customer satisfaction and drive business success.

How can AskNicely help? 

AskNicely is an easy-to-use platform trusted by world-class organizations across various industries. Improving survey response rates is crucial, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Teams also need to analyze feedback and turn it into actionable insights. AskNicely can help with all three aspects: collecting, assessing, and responding to feedback, as well as transforming your customer service approach.

Collect

AskNicely allows users to send customizable email, web, or SMS surveys. This flexibility ensures that you can reach your customers where they are most likely to respond, increasing your overall response rate. The platform’s easy-to-use interface ensures that creating and distributing surveys is efficient and effective.

Assess

AskNicely offers a comprehensive mission control to measure and improve satisfaction and loyalty. Users can compare performance across different locations and branches to spot trends. The new AI theme analysis feature helps in quickly identifying common themes in feedback, making it easier to understand and act on customer insights.

Respond

With AskNicely’s built-in response, escalation, and workflow management tools, teams can efficiently address customer feedback. These tools ensure that no customer concern goes unnoticed and that issues are resolved promptly, which in turn can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Transform

AskNicely makes it easy to gamify customer service and support for frontline teams by providing a real-time view of their CSAT scores. This feature helps employees stay motivated and aware of their performance, with tactical suggestions for improving their services based on customer feedback.

To see how AskNicely can transform your customer feedback processes, book a demo today.

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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