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Customer Experience

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

Dec 28, 2021

9 mins read

Manisha khandelwal

Many times when you send the surveys (and you may have even put some serious effort into creating the survey questionnaire), but you fail to get the survey responses you expected. Why?

What went wrong?

Well, this issue has been faced by many people. So we compiled a list of 7 reasons why you aren’t getting the desired number of survey responses. These reasons will explain why people are not responding to your survey and also assist you in making sure you get enough responses.

Though this article was written with an email survey response 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.

Why are you NOT getting enough survey responses: 7 solid reasons

Let’s dig into the 7 main reasons why customers don’t participate in a survey or reply to it, due to which you get 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 respond 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 respondent. 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.

Also, don’t promise a 2-minute survey in the email if you are going to ask a thousand questions in it. Deliver what you promise.

Value your customers’ time.

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 survey response rate.

Click here to know how you can improve your survey response rate by 80%.

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 time to send the survey emails.

Also when choosing a perfect time to send your survey emails, 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 days & timings to start with:

schedule and a/b test for better survey responses

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 replying to 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. This can really affect the survey response rate.

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.

Create easy surveys

4. Your surveys are not personalized

You have undoubtedly heard that personalization is the key to achieving success in the digital world, but when it comes to surveys, most people forget this rule. If you want a good number of survey responses, 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 the survey respondent aka your customer’s first name to it. Or if you are conducting an email survey you can add the recipient’s first name in the subject line.

personalize-surveys-for-better-responses

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 put off respondents 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 have crafted your surveys check them for typos and recheck them if possible. 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 survey respondents 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 answering.

7. You are not taking action on the customer feedback

Asking customers for their feedback is not enough. When you do that, they are making an effort to tell you how they feel about your brand, services, or products. They expect you to listen to them and take action on their issues. And when you don’t do that, they might share their feedback once or twice, but they’ll stop which will lead to low response rates.

Moreover,  what is the point of taking customer feedback if you are not going to do anything about it?

What you can do about it: Take action on the customer feedback. As soon as there is a negative review, reach out to the respondents. Understand their issues in detail. Observe if others are facing the same challenges. If yes, discuss it with the relevant teams and remove the issue from the core. And don’t forget to inform the respondents that they have been listened to, and certain actions have been taken on their feedback.

Points to Remember

Now that you know the reasons behind NOT getting the desired number of survey responses  – 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 to your surveys
  • Always double-check your surveys before you hit the publish button
  • Give your survey-takers an option to skip questions
  • You are not taking action on the customer feedback

Incorporate these points while creating your survey questionnaires and you are good to go. And of course, you will see the difference when the number of reliable survey responses shoots up. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a good response for a survey?

A good survey response depends on the survey response rate and the reliability of the response. Practically, the average survey response rate can be between 10% and 20%. Usually, a survey response rate of 50% or more is considered good. As for reliability, you can depend on AI-powered survey tools to get a better insight into what exactly each feedback is.

How do I get survey responses?

First and foremost, you need a capable survey tool. You can then distribute the survey and get responses via various survey channels like a web link, email, website, social media, and in-app surveys. Your survey tool will gather the responses and give you instant notifications, alerts, and even insights on these responses.

What are the 4 types of survey questions?

There are more than 4 types of survey questions. Some of the effective ones are:

  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Likert Scale Questions
  • Rating scale questions
  • Dropdown questions
  • Ranking questions

Create easy surveys

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