Survey Respondents: How to Engage Them and Get Rock Solid Data

When hosting a business conference or meeting, you have a specific goal or purpose for inviting each guest, but if all your guests are unhappy or bored, achieving your goal becomes difficult.  So what do you do?  Aside from bringing snacks, you try to keep them happy by staying on task and making your topics of conversation as engaging as possible.

When creating a survey, the same concept applies.  You want to gain valuable information from your survey respondents, but it’s important to keep them happy and interested.  There’s nothing worse for your research than creating a boring survey that will force your respondents to lose interest and give half-hearted answers.  To avoid this common pitfall, take the following steps to keep your survey respondents happy and engaged.

survey respondents

Take it easy on them

There’s nothing worse when starting a survey, than running into intrusive, complicated or boring questions right out of the gate.  You wouldn’t invite your colleagues into a meeting and immediately ask them to fill out a bunch of boring forms, would you?  Your first two or three questions of your survey set the tone for your entire survey, so if you lead with a bad foot, you’ll alienate your survey respondents before they even have a chance to start answering questions.

Don’t test them

Your survey is meant to benefit you and your company.  Your survey respondents are a necessary part of this process, so it’s important to avoid making them feel like they might be giving you the wrong answers.  Avoid phrasing questions like test questions.  You want your respondents to give truthful answers, so putting unnecessary pressure on them isn’t a good idea.

Ask their opinions

Your survey respondents have a lot of useful insights, and it’s important that they know you value their input.  Instead of asking questions in a row about products they’ve recently purchased, try mixing in some opinion-based questions that will make them feel valuable as well as gain some useful insights for your market research.

Put yourself in their shoes

Before sending out your survey, it’s important that you read it as if you are a survey respondent.  Think about what your answers might be and how you feel as you read through it.  Is your survey boring?  Are the questions too intrusive?  Did everything make sense?  Did you zone out after the first three questions? When reading through it, you might notice some ways to improve your questions or wording so as to engage your survey respondents even more.

By following these easy tips, you can keep your survey respondents interested and happy while gaining valuable insights for your company.  Now if you could only find a way to bring snacks to your next survey, they’d be even happier.

Photo Credit: Health Care Roundtable in Indianapolis from Flickr

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lev Mazin
Lev is the CEO and Co-founder of AYTM.com - Ask Your Target Market, the leading innovator in DIY online market research. Having a graphic design background, Lev is an expert in UI/UX with over 15 years of experience. Prior to AYTM, Lev worked with such clients as Oracle, Tiffany & Co, Maserati, Harry Winston, Whole Foods Market, and Jamba Juice helping them build their brands and multimedia/web applications.