the series: Improving
Survey Effectiveness -
And How To Avoid
Part: One Of Five
Written By: Paul Quinn, Managing
Director of Quinntessential Marketing. ©
some of the more common e-mailed survey invite mistakes
I see (and ways to avoid these) include:
Produced Survey Invites
many of the survey invites that land in our inbox
from various 3rd parties are very poorly constructed.
Often it appears that a disproportionate amount
of time has been spent developing the questionnaire,
with the survey invite seemingly more of a last
minute afterthought. To me this is akin to organising
a lavish wedding of 500 guests and then sending
the invites out on the back of an old newspaper.
of information given about data confidentiality.
Especially important when conducting sensitive staff
surveys. You must take the time to explain: (a) exactly
who will see the survey results, (b) whether participant's
responses will be linked to their name, and (c) whether
results will be reviewed in cumulative format, or
if individual results will be reviewed one-by-one.
No 'What's In It For Me?'
You need to take the time to explain, from the respondent's
the purpose of the survey is.
participants should bother taking 10 minutes of
their valuable time to complete the survey.
the survey impacts them and their job.
invite needs address these issues and make the participant
feel it's worth their while responding. And while
this tactic may not be appropriate for all survey
types, the offer of an incentive to a certain number
of people who complete your survey can also be an
effective way to significantly boost response rates.
Whilst sometimes surveys are co-ordinated by a marketing
assistant or HR executive, it's often not the best
idea to send the survey invite out under that person's
name. If you want to ensure maximum response rates
you need to ensure that your survey invite is sent
from someone who your target audience will recognise
as holding positional authority. Typically that's
someone at Director level. (Note - that doesn't mean
that this person will automatically receive any survey
bounce backs. PeoplePulse lets you send a survey invite
from Person 'X', but direct any bounce backs to e-mail
mention of next steps.
As an employee of a company if I receive 5 surveys
in a year from HR on various topics, and I diligently
complete them all as instructed, yet never once hear
back from HR with a summary of the data collected
and a list of some of the key action points and plans
that are in place to improve issues raised, do you
think I'm going to be as motivated to complete more
surveys in the year ahead? Of course not. As a general
rule, people love being given a platform to express
their views and opinions. But these same people also
need to know that you've actually listened, and have
plans in place to do something about the problems
identified. For example, I've seen companies receive
great survey response rates when they advise in their
invite that a 'Post Survey Action Plan' committee
has been established comprising representatives of
various areas of the business and will conduct their
first meeting the week after the survey closes.
do I start?
This may sound obvious, but I have seen survey invites
where the survey link is buried under the sender's
e-mail signature and legal disclaimer. Not a great
way of ensuring high response rates! You need to make
it as easy as possible for your invitees to identify
your survey link and start your survey immediately.
I have a preference for adding the survey link twice
- once at the very top of the page for those people
that quickly scan their e-mails and want to quickly
commence the survey, and once again below your key
messages in the body of the invite. Survey links should
always sit on a separate line and be easily identified
by the standard hyperlink format of blue underlined
ahead in this series:
an Australian-built online staff survey tool:
is an Australian built online feedback and survey
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and a wide range of customer-related surveys.
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