Your business needs feedback, whether you think you do or not.

Don’t think that’s the case? Check out these stats from a presentation by Esteban Kolsky titled “CX (Customer Experience) for Executives”:

  • 70% of companies known for exceptional customer experience use the feedback customers give them
  • 50% of average companies make use of feedback
  • Only 29% of “laggards” put feedback to use

While some customers will give you feedback whether you ask for it or not, most of your customers probably aren’t like that. Instead, administer simple surveys to ask for their information directly.

How can you avoid those rock bottom participation you hear about?

We’ve got 5 simple survey tips to help you out.

1. Offer something free.

You have a super-powerful mind trick at your disposal that could make response rates rocket.

You can trigger something in people’s brains by offering something for free in return for filling out your survey. It’s a well-documented fact that incentives help improve survey response rates, as much as 20 times compared to surveys where no incentive is offered.

Why? Because people love free things. (You know how popular free sample day is at your local Costco, but did you also know those free samples can increase sales by 2,000 percent?) According to a paper from Dan Ariely, free things are somehow viewed as having greater value even than low-cost items that are actually better in quality than the free item.

How should you apply this knowledge? Round up your best swag, invest in several gift cards, and promote these with your survey.

2. Time yourself filling out the survey.

Across multiple studies and best practice roundups, there’s a key theme: reduce the burden on the user. One clear way to do this is make shorter surveys. Create surveys that your customers can fill out in minutes and time yourself filling one out so you know exactly how long it’ll take.

Most people would agree that “Fill out our 90-second survey” sounds a lot more inviting than just “Fill out our survey.”

Even if you have to do multiple short surveys instead of one long, all-encompassing questionnaire, it’ll be worth it for the greater response rate.

3. Don’t ask for identifying information.

It’s a fact that people are a lot less careful with their words and thoughts when their identities are hidden, such as in an online message board or comments section. This phenomenon is known as “online disinhibition effect.”

As it relates to forms, people may be more willing to share their real thoughts and opinions in your survey if they know that their responses will be completely anonymous. That’s the outcome Modernize found through their customers surveys.

4. Offer a way out.

Ok, let’s be honest. We live in the real world, and even if you try all the best practices you can find, not everyone is going to fill out your survey.

To account for that, take a tip from Nielsen Norman Group and put the questions you care about most first. Also, make it possible for even partially completed surveys to record users’ answers. That way, even if people don’t fill out every question, you still get some insight.

5. Toss out your long, wordy questions.

Pop quiz: If a customer doesn’t understand a question on your survey will they (A) contact you for clarification or (B) leave the survey all together.

Unless they’re likely to get some huge benefit from completing the survey, the answer is probably (B). According to a white paper from Oracle, confusing or overly wordy questions make it less likely that your users will respond.

There you have it. Keep questions brief and easy to understand, and your users will be a lot more likely to answer them.

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Try these survey tips on your own FormAssembly account or sign up for a new plan today.

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