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Customer Experience

7 Reasons Why Nobody Is Replying to Your Surveys (and How to Make Sure They Do)

Feb 18, 2020

7 mins read

Tanuj Diwan

You send the surveys and you may have even put some serious effort into writing the survey questions. But you fail to get the response you wanted or sometimes a response at all. What went wrong?

Well, below are seven reasons why nobody is responding to your surveys, and how to make sure they do.

Though this article was written with an email survey response rate in mind as email is one of the most popular channels for distributing a survey. But it applies to any survey – in-app survey, website survey, telephone survey, etc.

Let’s dig into the reasons why you are getting a low survey response rate:

1. Your survey is too long and you’re asking too much.

Now, we all know that everyone in this world is busy, I mean super busy, and your recipients are no exception.

Somehow, you are still creating giant surveys that no one wants to reply to.

Or they start to reply to them, get lost in all those questions, and at one point just turn it off.

Most people’s jobs are not just reading and responding to surveys, they have a lot more to do. And if you are asking for way too much, people will simply ignore that.

What you can do about it:

Before you start crafting your surveys’ consider how much time is valuable for every individual. If you want people to respond to your surveys – make them short.

The true virtue is to be concise. Always minimize the time and effort that the person on the receiving end needs to spend if they decide to fill your survey.

2. You don’t A/B test delivery time.

The biggest mistake most businesses make — especially when sending a survey email — is neglecting to recognize that timing plays a huge role in getting a response.

Maybe it won’t if your survey email subject line is super boring or if your survey emails are the length of 12 installments of Crime and Punishment.

But otherwise, it will — and probably will affect your open rates, which in turn will determine your response rate.

What you can do about it:

Well, you can A/B test and analyze the best delivery time for your survey emails, and then you can send your emails at that time to increase your open rates. But, don’t just test once and decide; test, test, and then test again before picking a send time.

Also when choosing a perfect time to send your survey emails to pay attention to the time zone your subscribers are located in.

If your email list contains people from all over the globe, you should test the best timing for each zone separately.

Picking one time for every time zone won’t work – you need to pick different times for different zones if you want a good survey response rate.

If you are new to surveys and don’t have enough data to pick the best time of day– you can use these day & timings to start with:

Image Source: Hubspot

3. You don’t give them a reason to fill your survey

Let’s face it: surveys are boring – nobody is interested in filling them unless you give them a reason to. But most businesses don’t give their customers a reason to take up their surveys – they just make it all about themselves instead of the customers. Don’t make this mistake.

What you can do about it:

If improving your survey response rates is your goal don’t tell people to share their feedback – give them a reason to do that too.

If you are not sure how to do that take a look at this email from OLA:

Subject line: Please help us serve you better by sharing your valuable feedback!

OLA surely knows how to boost their survey participation by just using the right words in the copy. From their subject line to the email copy they have given me a reason to open and respond.

4. Your surveys are not personalized

You have undoubtedly heard that personalization is the key to achieve success in the digital world, but when it comes to surveys’ most people forget this rule. If you want a great response rate, don’t dismiss this crucial aspect.

What you can do about it:

There are many ways to include personalization in your surveys’. Let’s talk about the easiest way here…

If you know the name of the person you’re asking to fill your survey, you can use the first name personalization. For example, if you’re running an NPS survey you can personalize it by adding your customer’s first name to it.



If you are conducting an email survey you can add the recipient’s first name in the subject line.

Do you know just by including the recipient’s name in the subject line you can increase your open rate by 22.2 %? ( Source: Adestra)

5. You forget to double-check your surveys

This is going to be a short but necessary point. I get it – we’re all super busy. Misspellings and grammar mistakes happen, but you can’t afford one in your surveys.

Why? Because it can turn people off and will make your business look sloppy and unprofessional. It shows a lack of effort.

If you’re asking customers to take out time to give you feedback, having typos is not a good thing. They’ll assume that you don’t value their time and will not take it seriously.

What you can do about it:

Once you crafted your surveys check them for typos and recheck in again. If you want your respondents to fill your surveys, you need to make sure that there are no typos in your surveys.

6. You don’t give your respondents an option to skip a question

Unless it is a small survey, please don’t make it mandatory for your survey-takers to answer every question.

Why? Because sometimes people don’t know the answer to a question if you will force them to take up every question, they’ll either leave the survey or will give false answers.

What you can do about it:

Well, the solution is very simple – give your respondents an opportunity to skip questions they are not comfortable in answering.

7. Your surveys aren’t powered by conversational AI

Personalization is everywhere, but when it comes to surveys, we are still stuck in the age of asking the same predetermined questions. And that’s why the response rates of the surveys are so low.

What you can do about it:

Use conversational surveys! This way you can make your surveys super engaging as with AI your surveys will be customized for every survey-taker. The more personalized your surveys are, the better the chances that your respondents will fill them.


Now that you know the reasons that are decreasing your survey response rate – address these issues completely, to improve the ROI of your surveys. To make it even easier for you to boost your survey response rate here are the key points from this post:

  • Make your survey as short as possible.
  • Use A/B testing — not your guesswork — to pick the best time to send your survey.
  • Give them a strong reason to take your survey.
  • Add tokens of personalization in your surveys.
  • Always double-check your surveys before you hit the publish button.
  • Give your survey-takers an option to skip questions’.
  • Create AI-powered surveys to improve your response rate.

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