Contact Less, Receive More
Surveys are a part and parcel of an MBA grad’s life, be it marketing, operations, finance or any other specialization. Each and every Subject, at one time or the other requires the grad to delve deep into his environment, and, come out with a finding that is free from errors or biases, and what better than primary data for the survey.
Collecting primary data can be quite a daunting task and it can be pretty expensive too. This, makes it almost impossible for the B grad to collect any primary data. Thus, he has to depend upon secondary data. But thanks to the internet which has chalked out the path for online surveys -an easy, inexpensive and highly convenient method to collect primary data. However, online surveys with all of its advantages does have the shortcoming of Low response rate.
Studies show that, the response rate i.e. the Number of Completed Surveys / Number of Participants Contacted x 100% for an online survey can be as low as 20%.
There can be a number of reasons for a poor response rate, however, the primary reasons that have been identified with a viable solution are:
a) Poor Survey Design.
b) Communication with the respondent.
Poor Survey Design: Not understanding the need and objectives of one’s research can lead to a bad survey design. To ensure that the survey fulfils its purpose, it is important to ensure that the following are done:
a) Understand the purpose of the research – This helps in making a relevant questionnaire. The answers that are received are insightful.
b) The Questionnaire must be clean, precise, logical and short – this motivates the respondent to answer the questionnaire and thus helps in increasing the response rate.
c) Studies show that surveys perceived important by the respondent have a higher response rate. Thus, outlining the intent of the survey in the beginning helps the respondent to assimilate the importance of the survey.
Communication with the respondent: A lack of interest is generally noticed among the respondents. One of the major causes identified for this problem, is that a survey email is considered as a spam email by many and hence, receives the same treatment as a spam – trash box. Then, how does one ensure the commitment of a respondent?
One can contact the respondents before the survey. The e-mail must inform the respondent about the sender of the e-mail, the objective of the e-mail, the source from which the e-mail address of the respondent has been received, the objective and the duration of the survey.
The Contact details of the sender must also be shared. The contact details can be used by the responder to ratify his doubts or simply to verify the credibility of the survey. Personalised e-mails further reduce the appearance of the e-mail as a spam message. This can be simply be done by including the name of the respondent at the beginning of the message.
It is a good idea to give the respondent an option to opt out from the survey. The respondents who do not opt out are more likely to respond, thus increasing the response rate.
Sending & Receiving Responses – There is always a good time and there is always a bad time for all things. Similarly, surveys must be sent keeping in mid the availability of the respondent. Further, one must also provide adequate time to the respondent to respond to the survey.
Following up by sending reminder mails only to the non-respondents helps in increasing the response rate. The reminder mails must be sent after maintaining an optimum time interval.
Thus, following such simple steps can ensure a higher response rate for an online survey. Studies conducted in Georgia using such simple steps have shown to increase the response rate up to 70%. This will help the B grads to collect primary data in faster time frame.