How to Increase Survey Response Rates

by Outcry July 27, 2021
increase survey response rates

Did you know that more than half of customers don’t fill out feedback surveys? That’s right, they just walk away. This is a huge problem, because the feedback you get from these surveys is vital to your business’ growth.

Luckily, there are some ways to encourage them to give their feedback and ensure it will be useful:

1. Make sure your survey is short and easy to answer

Customers are only willing to spend a few minutes on feedback surveys, so make sure that yours is short and covers the important points. It should ideally take no longer than 5-7 minutes to complete, or they won’t bother filling it out.

How do you know if yours are too long or difficult to read? Try the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test.  This test uses a series of formulas to determine how difficult or easy it is for people to read your survey. The score should be between 30 and 40, with a higher score being easier to read.

increase survey response rates


If your responses mean nothing to non-businesspeople, either shorten them up or consider rewriting some of them so that they’re easier to understand.

2. Ask open-ended questions

Closed-ended questions make it too easy for customers. For example, if you ask why they chose a specific product from your store instead of another, they will simply choose the first logical answer that comes to mind. Instead, ask open-ended questions like:

“What was important to you when choosing this product?”

Customers will actually think about their choices and respond with answers that are much more valuable than stock responses.

When creating feedback surveys, be careful not to use closed-ended questions too often or else customers will get frustrated and abandon the survey in frustration.

3. Make your surveys fun!

Remember that people take online surveys because they want to help you out—not because they are being forced by an angry boss. Make your survey interesting and fun to increase participation rates and the quality of answers you get from customers.

You can do this by asking questions they find interesting, by only asking the information you really want, and by using a fun layout. For example, you could include funny images or graphics and turn your survey into a game or use social media to get quick feedback in a more intuitive environment, like Ikea did using Instagram stories:

increase survey response rates

4. Use graphics and images throughout your survey 

How many times have you read something boring because it was written poorly? If you want your customers to take a survey seriously, make sure to decorate it with relevant images and graphics to increase visual appeal.

For example, you can use happy/sad faces in lieu of words to get a customer to click faster: 

increase survey response rates


READ  How to Create a Customer Feedback Strategy (Step by Step)

5. Offer customers something in exchange for their feedback

If your survey takes more than a minute or two to complete, you might want to offer a small incentive for participating. Surveys tend to increase response rates by around 10% if you offer a coupon as an incentive. 

This increase is actually pretty large when you consider that the increase comes from only 10% of customers, and that most of these coupons will be redeemed. In reality, your increase in revenue from this should be much larger. On top of that, it’s vital to keep in mind that the increase applies only for new customers—the ones who have never taken one of your surveys before. Existing customers probably don’t care about the incentive they’re being offered!

6. Add feedback popups throughout your site

Conversion plugins allow you to add in-page feedback popups that increase the chances of someone filling out a survey. When a customer takes action on your site, such as purchasing an item or signing up for something, create a popup window that asks them if they’d like to answer some questions about their experience on site. For example, you can use a tool like Survicate to add intuitive feedback popups throughout your site.

increase survey response ratesWith this type of survey, customers are more motivated because it’s not just another random email asking them to take their survey. Instead, customers are getting messages in real time as they are browsing your site and interacting with your product. This will not only increase your response rate, but it could actually increase the accuracy of their responses since they are interacting with your product in real time and not receiving a survey days after they used the product.

7. Make sure to ask customers for feedback at every step of the process

It’s too easy for customers to forget about an experience they had on your site if you only send them one survey asking their thoughts on everything. Instead, make sure that you’re sending out surveys after each interaction with a customer. 

After purchasing a product on site, send customers an email asking for feedback about how the order went and the shipping options available to them (see point #8). After completing their order, sent a small thank-you note including a short survey collecting some basic information about what they bought or whether they have any recommendations for improving products/services. Sometimes people aren’t willing to spend their valuable time taking a survey but they will take the time to offer feedback on your site.

8. Add a survey to your “Thank You” page

You’ve done it! Your customer just made their first purchase on your site and the order is complete—but don’t forget to ask for feedback about their experience. Send them an email asking how they felt about each step of the purchasing process as well as what they thought about shipping options or any other questions you have in mind. 

This increase in response rates because customers are already warm with your company after making a purchase—they’re predisposed to help out by answering some follow-up questions!

Final Thoughts

There are lots of different ways to increase response rates so don’t be afraid to get creative and try new strategies.  Combining multiple strategies on this list is a great way to increase response rates even more. 

Give some of these ideas a try and let us know how they work for you! What other strategies have worked for you increase survey response rates? Do you use any of the same tactics that we’ve mentioned here at Outcry? Let us know in the comments.


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