Tipps & Tricks
All you need to know about survey respondents!
Selections of respondents
Those answering the survey are called respondents. They are selected from a so-called “basic population”, such as all the company’s customers. If you don’t plan to invite everyone in the population to participate in the survey, you have to select a sample from the population. By selecting as random a sample as possible you will ensure that the results are as representative of the entire population as possible, while at the same time avoiding systematic biases.
These biases can still arise if respondents with certain qualities (for example male vs. female) are over represented in the responses, compared to those who do not respond to the survey.
Largest possible number of responses to the survey
It is very rare that every person invited to participate actually responds to the survey. The response rate is a percentage that says how large a proportion has responded. You should therefore attempt to get as many as possible to answer the survey. The response rate varies depending on the target group you have chosen. Unannounced customer surveys and pop-up surveys usually achieve a low response rate. The response rate is influenced by the relationship between the party conducting the survey and the respondents. A close relationship and relevant questions generally lead to a better response rate. Interest is greater if the respondents see that responding will be of direct benefit to themselves. Personnel and supplier surveys often have a high response rate. Sometimes different forms of gifts and benefits are given to motivate more respondents to participate. Another option is to donate a certain amount of money to charity for each response. Something that can negatively influence responses over time is if you, for example, conduct annual customer surveys, and do not implement changes or give feedback to respondents on changes implemented as a result of the previous surveys. There is no direct measure of how high the response rate must be for the survey to be regarded as representative. If you are uneasy because of a low response rate you can conduct a drop-out analysis. The purpose of a drop-out analysis is to identify if those who have answered the survey have the same characteristics as those who did not answer, and in this way, more or less eliminate systematic biases between the two groups. Characteristics could be age, customer type, region, etc. Drop-out and systematic biases depend entirely on the type of survey you have conducted.
Selecting the method of invitation
If you have the email addresses of all those you want to respond, emailing an invitation to participate is recommended. A link to the survey should be contained in the email.
Some advantages of using this invitation method:
- You have full control over who can respond to the survey
- You have the opportunity to send target-oriented reminders to respond to the survey
- You can upload information on the respondents beforehand, along with the email addresses
Another frequently used method of data collection is the URL link. A link to the survey is put onto an Internet site, and the desired participants are informed of this by SMS, letter, QR-Code etc. If you don’t have the email addresses of the desired participants, this might be the way to go. The responses can also be completed on hard copies of the questionnaire, and you can after capture the responses via a URL link. Using a web-based survey tool means that you can replace a number of traditional survey methods, such as telephone surveys or surveys sent by post.