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Surveys are one of the most popular ways for businesses and researchers to get detailed qualitative and quantitative data.

If you’re a product manager, surveys are one of the most elementary tools to help you make sure that the product you’re creating is on the right track. 

Gathering customer feedback and measuring customer satisfaction through surveys can further your goals, and today, it’s as easy as a few simple clicks.

However, surveys are most effective when there’s a wide pool of participants who provide considered responses and accurate data. In other words, not even the best surveys matter if there is no one to respond to them.

Keep reading to learn how to get people to take your survey and get more responses.

How to get people to take your survey

To make sure you get a high survey response rate, you structure your survey for success. Here are seven proven ways to encourage people to take a survey.

1. Explain the purpose of conducting the survey

How many times have you taken a survey without knowing its purpose? Let’s be real, completing a survey takes time, so if your customers are not sure what the purpose is, they are unlikely to do it. If you want more people to take your survey, make sure you explain why you’re asking them to do it.

For example, pointing out that it will ultimately result in a better customer service experience helps provide an automatic incentive for participants to fill in the survey and helps increase the response rate.

You can use the user experience survey template to unlock some powerful insights:

2. Choose the right medium

These days, it’s tough to keep the survey respondents’ attention for longer than a few seconds at a time. You need to grab their attention in the first 5-10 seconds with an interesting welcome message and the first question; otherwise, you’ve lost them. 

‍Importantly, not everyone loves emails or surveys embedded in emails. If you can make it a quick, text-based survey or use another format sent directly to a phone, this might help boost the response rate.

3. Don’t include too many questions

You know the feeling of starting a survey that you thought would be quick, but it ends up having 3, 4, 5, 6… pages, and counting. Finally, it gets so long that you click out of it. You didn’t sign up for a 10-page survey with 10 questions on each page.

Your customers are usually happy to give feedback, but the number of questions needs to be reasonable and not take too long.

According to Researchscape, the ideal survey length should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Anything longer than that may lead the respondents to lose focus or randomly choose answers just to complete the survey, which will give you inaccurate data.

4. Stick with closed-ended questions

While some of your survey questions might require open-ended questions, sticking with closed-ended questions requires much less effort from the respondents.

Instead of asking: “Explain which part of the service you liked best,” say: “Did you like the service?” and provide “Yes” and “No” answers with an option to elaborate on the answer.

You can also include a drop-down menu that can help jog their memory and make it easy for them to answer the questions with a couple of clicks.

Avoiding asking respondents to write a lot is a simple way to ensure that more people are willing to answer your survey questions, which results in better completion rates.

5. Use simple language

Taking a survey written using complicated language is frustrating for the respondent. If they wonder what a question means, they’ll often either offer random answers or click out of the survey, leaving you with no answer at all. 

Using simple language that is accessible to everyone is a surefire way to improve your survey response rate. It helps to make sure your respondents are confident about the questions and the answers and they actually complete the survey. 

6. Choose participants wisely

Identifying your target audience is crucial, and you need to do it before you send out your survey. For example, you can have two distinct audiences: men and women, or Millennials and Gen Z. Depending on the audience, you’ll choose a different survey type and a platform for sending out the survey.

Choosing your survey respondents wisely can ensure that you maximize your prospects of getting results.

7. Timing is everything

There is a reason surveys sent immediately after completing an action, be it receiving a package or having a medical appointment, work well. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to send it within 24 hours. 

This is when the service, product, or transaction in question is still fresh in your customers’ memory. 

Some days, and even times of the day, are better to send the surveys than others, so you might want to keep this research in mind, too. 

How to increase your survey response rate

A satisfactory survey response rate is crucial to ensuring that you can collect the information you need. 

Your research validity relies on your ability to generalize from your responses. The more opinions you’re able to integrate, the more accurate your conclusions.

If you are looking to increase your survey response rate, chances are that you have already reached that frustrating moment. This is when you realize most research on the matter is sketchy and sources usually list the same solutions without being too specific on the effects they may have.

Indeed, there are several factors to take into account when creating and planning a survey. 

When designing your survey, you have to remember that the first impression will matter greatly.

It is a good idea to state your intent from the start as this can incentivize your respondents. If you can afford it, you can also offer some financial or other tangible incentives, such as vouchers or discounts. 

Make sure the language you use is appropriate to the target audience. If you operate internationally, you can also make your survey multilingual to reach a wider audience—English-only questionnaires might isolate some respondents.

However, the first important step to take is to ask yourself the following questions before you send out your surveys. 

“What kind of survey am I making?”

The most successful companies believe customer satisfaction should not only be measured but deciphered and understood. If you are going for a Net Promoter Score survey or a Customer Satisfaction survey and you aim to increase your customer satisfaction or to measure the success of your well-established product, go for minimalistic but aesthetic design, no more than two questions and an unobtrusive way of displaying the survey.

Tip: you can use this survey template to easily measure the customer satisfaction:

On the other hand, if you are making an online questionnaire that has several questions and requires your respondents to take their time, your priorities shift.

‍You need the survey to be engaging, both visually and contextually.

This is not to say that design is not important in an NPS survey. However, it does mean that your focus is on ease of access and pleasing aesthetics rather than having a flashy and engaging survey. 

You need your NPS survey to be easy and quick to fill in for the respondent, so excess will work against you. Likewise, you can still gain from embedding the first part of your questionnaire in your emails as it almost guarantees a higher response rate to at least the first question.

If you’re not sure what it should look like, just use our free NPS survey template below:

“How do I distribute my survey?”

Placing a survey on your website, especially on the page it is about, can lead to a better response rate. In other words, a well-targeted survey can be used to collect well-targeted feedback.

However, this is most effective when your respondent is motivated by the content they are looking at and when your question is asked properly. For example, if you have a help or FAQ section on your website, you can include a survey about it, and ask if your users found the assistance they were looking for. There are some essential website survey questions that you should ask if you want to gather meaningful feedback. 

If you are sending your survey via email, then don’t include a link that would redirect your user somewhere else. Instead, place the first question of your survey right in the body of the email. This way you will receive a higher response rate to at least the first question.

‍Generally, short email surveys and customer satisfaction surveys work best when you remove friction in the first question. Therefore, sending the first question in an email is extremely likely to increase the overall survey response rate.

Here at Survicate, we have a case study to back this claim. A customer of ours was running NPS surveys through a service that offered beautifully designed questionnaires. The customer would distribute links in their emails asking the users to fill in the survey located on the service host page.

These questionnaires were marvelous: large format taking most of the respondent’s attention, well constructed with a font that played well with the background and colors. Transitions between questions were animated in a very minimalist fashion. They did a lot to keep the respondents engaged.

However, the customer was not getting the results they expected. The response rate was reaching 6% at best, leaving the customer frustrated and unable to trust the data they were receiving. 

The problem was that, despite being awesome, it was the wrong tool for the job. An NPS survey needs to be quick and easy, not flashy or slow.

Once the company switched to Survicate, they were able to get a much higher response rate. Our tool allowed them to embed the surveys within emails, which instantly got them more responses.

Secondly, Survicate’s surveys are designed to respect the respondents’ time, and this time it was no different. 

Generally, you need to structure and construct your survey according to its goal and choose the best survey tool for your use case. Then apply two shots of common sense and take it for a spin. 

Ideally, you should put yourself in the shoes of the least likely respondent to answer your survey. Better still, run it several times with different mindsets and see if you can improve it further. 

Keep in mind that a respondent will complete a survey if:

  • They have an incentive to do so, they care about the survey’s intent or the prize awaiting at the end;
  • They find it fun or engaging;
  • They have an emotionally charged opinion and see the survey as an opportunity to share it.

Here at Survicate, we provide an extensive library of templates, designed with efficiency and a high response rate in mind. You can customize the templates based on the product, brand, or goal. What all surveys should have in common, however, is that they should be engaging, pretty, and, if possible, fun

Best surveys for product managers to boost response rates

To build a truly customer-centric product, you need to connect with your users and gather their feedback. 

Using user surveys can provide you with a wealth of data to guide your product decisions. However, you need to be strategic about the kind of questions you want to ask to make sure you get enough responses and can rely on the data. Here are some surveys that can help you get the answers in. 

Product-testing survey

If you want to find out what your users think about the quality and usefulness of your product, this survey is bound to provide you with a lot of responses. 

Thanks to its unobtrusive form and easily recognizable questions, respondents tend to fill it in a breeze. The progress bar at the bottom in a nice bonus that clearly shows that it won’t take too long to complete it. 

The open-ended question at the end provides a space for the respondents to give you information on what they would like you to improve, but only if they want to. In short, it’s a perfect mix of speed, brevity, and context for a quick catch-up with your audience. 

Product-market fit survey template

This standardized template will help you check if your product satisfies your users’ needs and whether there is anything that could be improved. 

The answers will give you important information about your product’s viability. Is it replaceable? If it is, what should you do to make it one of a kind? 

Thanks to the last question, you’ll also find out who your direct competitors are. Very often, the answers to this questions are surprising, so pay close attention to them. 

User experience survey template

This short yet intuitive survey can be used as an alternative to NPS and CSAT surveys and provide you with even more insights. 

Depending on the respondent’s answers, they are provided with a space on elaborate on their choices. With 4 short questions, you’ll be able to gather basic yet fundamental information on the usefulness and ease of use of your product. The mix of closed and open-ended questions sets a rhythm that’s easy to follow and can guarantee satisfactory response rates. 

Web app user experience survey template

You can use the web app user experience survey if you want to get insights about customer satisfaction, customer effort, and the NPS score all at once, or if you’re not sure what you should be asking about first but don’t want to send too many surveys. 

The survey will provide you with data on the three key aspects of customer experience with your product so you can start tackling all of them.

3-point-scale Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey template

One of the biggest benefits of the CSAT survey is that its questions are very recognizable. It tends to have a high response rate as respondents don’t have to think too hard about the answers: they’re probably already clear to them. 

A good way to increase the response rate even further is to embed the first question in the body of the email. In our experience, this gives a boost of at least 30%. 

Lost customer survey template

What is the primary reason for canceling your subscription?

Customer acquisition is 5 times more expensive than customer retention. That is why reducing churn is a crucial ingredient of revenue growth. 

This short survey asks the right question to help you find out why your customer has left so you can prevent churn in the future. You can send it via email, trigger it on a website, or use your preferred customer communication channel, ideally right after cancellation. 

There could be many reasons a customer has churned, and some of them might take you by surprise. That’s why the survey leaves spaces for a clarification in the second question. 

User persona survey template 

Learning about your user personas can help your design team build better products or services. Besides providing insights into your customers’ demographics, personas also show you how your customers use your product or service. 

The questions you want to ask depend largely on where you are in the process of building your user personas. They could include job titles, pain points, goals, values, and emotional attitudes. 

If you plan to ask more than 2-3 questions, consider adding a status bar to help your respondents figure out how much time they will have to invest in filling in the survey. You can also add a welcome message at the beginning of the survey to let the participants know why you need the information and how it will benefit them.

Get more survey responses with Survicate

If you follow the tips in this article, increasing your survey response rate will become a piece of cake.  

The main thing to remember is that when designing a survey, it’s good to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and ask yourself if you’d be willing to spend time filling out the survey. “What’s in it for me? How much of my precious time will it take? Will it give me something in return?”—these are some of the questions you should ask yourself before you hit the “Send” button. 

All it takes to get great results is well-written survey questions, a relevant target audience group, and a great survey tool.

In fact, using an intuitive tool can do much of the work for you, so you can spend your time creating strategies and taking action based on the results. 

Survicate, a leading survey tool, comes with over 300 ready-to-use templates and integrates natively with a host of third-party tools, such as Slack, HubSpot, and Intercom. 

Now, with our 10-day free trial, you can test all Business plan features, including website, in-product, email, and links surveys, advanced attribute targeting, and automated recurring surveys. Just sign up and create your free account to get started!