What are you doing to boost your survey response rate? Nearly every day, I get at least one request to take a survey. I bet you do too.

Particularly after a trip, I am deluged with surveys from the hotel, airline, rental car, and more. I rarely take any of them. If your customers ignore most of these requests as I do, this can lead to a poor survey response rate. Here are three tips to get that fixed.

Tip 1: Use Compliance Techniques

Simply asking customers to take your survey won’t achieve a high response rate—there’s a lot more to it.

Social proof, as in “other customers have already provided their feedback,” can help. So can appeals to authority and using power words. A few techniques we use to achieve a consistently high survey response rate are these:

    • To break through email clutter, consider email subject lines carefully. Make sure they follow an arc of increasing importance throughout your survey campaign.
    • Only use the word “reminder” in the subject line once—and that is for the very last reminder.
    • Use engaging, strong verbs in the survey links, like “tell us here.”
    • Let the email signature line reinforce the action you want your customer to take. For example, “looking forward to your input.”
    • Emphasize your survey request with judicious use of bold and italics.

If you’re not already familiar with Robert Cialdini, he has a lot to say about persuasion and how to bring customers into compliance with your goals.

Tip 2: Quid Pro Quo

“Rewarding your customers for their effort shows goodwill and that you’re truly invested in hearing what they have to say.”

If you want customers to do something for you, give them something in return—that can be a priority code for faster customer support, a donation to a charity, or a gift card to Amazon.

Rewarding your customers for their effort shows goodwill and that you’re truly invested in hearing what they have to say. This survey shows a priority code in action.


Tip 3: Use a PS

This last tip is straight from the bible of direct marketing. While this doesn’t work for SMS survey links, if you are sending your survey request by email, always include a PS that, in just a few words, reiterates why you want your customer (or employee) to take your survey. Even though your entire email should be concise and to the point, the PS still helps.

Survey Response Rate—It Matters!

“In just a few words, reiterate why you want your customer to take your survey.”

The problem with a low response rate is that the less feedback you get from customers, the less representative your survey data is. In other words, the less you’ll know about your customers at large.

But does representativeness matter? Absolutely! Representative data is data you can count on. It’s objective and replicable.

Representative data ensures that the opinions of some groups aren’t ignored while others are magnified. Learn how you can create more objective surveys with customer experience science.


Interaction Metrics builds scientific surveys that result in decisive outputs and actions. Want to see examples of our customer surveys? Interested in more detail about how to boost your survey response rate? Get in touch!



Categories: Customer Satisfaction Surveys
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