Surveys aren't a small investment. Marketing and customer service teams spend tons of time designing and creating them, and even more time perfecting them once they're released.

You might think that a survey is perfect once it's been shared with your customer base, but this is actually one of the best times to make final tweaks and improvements.

The best place to start is with your survey's response rate. This metric will give you an idea of how well your survey is performing and how many people have submitted feedback. The higher the response rate, the better your survey is doing. If it's low, you'll know you need to make some changes if you want to improve its effectiveness.

In this post, we'll explain everything you need to know about survey response rates, including what this metric is, how to calculate it, and some handy tips for improving it over time.

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What Is a Survey's Response Rate?

A survey's response rate is the percentage of people who completed the survey compared to the number of people who viewed or started it. It's a core metric in determining whether or not a survey was successful in engaging its target audience.

Survey response rates primarily depend on what your team considers to be a "view." For example, if you're distributing your survey to a preset sample size, then you'll know exactly the percentage of people who completed it.

But, websites have made surveys more diverse than your typical mail-in, multiple-choice form. They're now interactive elements that can be triggered based on customer behavior or data stored in your CRM. You can now get your survey in front of more eyes than ever before, so you'll need to track these interactions if you want to accurately calculate your response rate.

One option you can consider is customer feedback software as many of these tools will have tracking codes and analytics that can record visits to your survey, regardless of how you trigger it.

Nevertheless, once you have determined how you'll record views, you can calculate your survey's response rate.

Survey Response Rate Example

In this example, let's say 250 people viewed your survey and 150 people completed it. In this case, your survey's response rate would be 60% (150/250 = .6 x 100 = 60%).

Survey-response-time

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What Is a Good Survey Response Rate?

According to SurveyAnyplace, the average survey response rate is 33%. This number is a cumulative average taken from response rates recorded for different types of surveys. According to the chart below, the type of survey with the highest response rate is in-person surveys at 57%.

Average-survey-response-time

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It's important to note that these numbers represent an average response rate for each type of survey. This means that your team should be striving to exceed these numbers when creating and distributing your own feedback forms. Based on the data above, you should be aiming for around a 50% response with each type of survey you conduct.

If you're not meeting those benchmarks, take a look at the tips below for improving your survey's response rates.

Tips for Improving Your Survey's Response Rates

1. Reconsider Your Survey's Trigger.

Timing is one of the most important variables to consider when you're managing a survey. If you're trying to get customers to answer questions on the fly, you need to pick the right times where they'll be most likely to lend to a hand.

One of the best times to launch a survey is after a purchase. Sending a brief feedback form via email is a simple and easy way to engage customers after this key moment of delight. You can also send a survey after customer service interactions. Surveys like NPS and CSAT are great indicators of customer satisfaction and churn.

2. Shorten Your Survey.

Arguably the most common reason that surveys have low response rates is that they're too long. Research from SurveyMonkey shows that abandonment rates increase by up to 20% once your survey takes longer than seven minutes to complete. The graph below can give you an idea of how long it takes for customers to fill out a survey based on the number of questions included.

Survey-length

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3. Change Your Survey's Tone and Design.

Another variable to consider is the layout of your survey. If you're using the wrong tone, design, or type of survey, your content may not be resonating with your target audience.

You can test for the most effective survey design by incorporating multiple CTA's on your webpage. For example, this blog post has three different CTA's that link to the same piece of content (bonus points if you find all three). By linking multiple page elements to one survey, you can see which one is the most effective and use that layout moving forward.

For more tips to improve your response rates, read about the ideal survey length.

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Originally published Aug 3, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated June 15 2021

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