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Guide to Achieving Acceptable Survey Response Rate

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

11 June 2024

10 min read

Achieving an acceptable survey response rate can be quite challenging.

Is it even humanly possible to attain a 100% response rate? Probably not.

Aiming for 70%? This still seems ambitious unless there’s a significant incentive for the participants.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when defining what constitutes an acceptable rate; let’s get that straight. The outcomes are influenced by multiple factors, and what might be acceptable for one industry might differ significantly for another. But this blogpost covers some of the tried and tested ways in which you can achieve an acceptable survey response rate in your survey.

20 Proven Strategies to Achieve an Acceptable Survey Response Rate

#1 Craft the right invite

When you are sending someone an invitation over email, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. If you want to increase the number of opens for your survey email, then you need to think like a marketer. 

Here are a few pointers:

  1. Use a real person’s name when you send the survey email. Do not send it from @customersuccess or use any other department name. It is impersonal.
  2. Do not use sir/ma’am; ensure that you are using the name of the recipient.
  3. Write an interesting subject line. Otherwise, you might even get sent to spam or have the email deleted. 
  4. The body of the email should be direct and to the point. Tell the purpose of the survey and give them an estimate of how much time it will take to complete the survey. 

#2 Mobile-friendly:

More often than not, most people use their mobile phones to get things done. From booking a cab to buying a TV, although eCommerce websites have desktop access, people still prefer using mobile phones. It is imperative that your survey should also be mobile-friendly. If you make the mistake of not using a tool that offers a mobile-friendly survey option, don’t be surprised when you see that your conversion rates have been drastically lower than earlier. 

SurveySparrow’s mobile first surveys help you design surveys that look incredibly stunning on your mobile devices as well. Here’s a social media survey created using SurveySparrow..

To create similar online surveys, you can sign up for FREE on SurveySparrow..

#3 Use incentives: 

If you want to have acceptable survey response rates, you should know that your prospective respondent is not waiting to complete that survey you just sent. They are least interested in it. Unless they already have a relationship with you, it is going to be impossible to get a lot of responses for your survey. That’s why you usually send the surveys to those who have interacted with you. 

Let’s say you want to have acceptable survey response rates even from those who don’t have a great relationship with you, it is possible to do something to tilt it in your favor. 


By offering incentives. 

It doesn’t have to be a huge prize money or a larger-than-normal discount. Here are a few tips on how to offer incentives for survey respondents:

  1. Provide a small reward for everyone.
  2. Do not say that only one person will get the reward through a lucky draw unless it is too big not to take a chance on.
  3. If the respondents offer specialized knowledge, then you can sweeten the reward by offering something extra than normal.
  4. Make sure that the incentive is memorable and ensure that there is a frictionless process to receive the reward. 

#4 Personalize:

Customers prefer personalization. They are assertive about it, and rightly so. Businesses are trying their best to give them a solution that is personalized to their needs. Personalized email surveys are more likely to provide you with acceptable survey response rates. It creates a lot of difference to the intended recipient because they will believe that you have taken the time to make it special for them. 

Use custom variables that will allow the information of the user, like their name, company name, designation, etc., on the email, to send a highly personalized customer feedback survey.

#5 Send the survey in their language:

If you are planning to send surveys to your customers in Mexico, would it make sense to send them in Spanish? Of course.

Would that help in achieving acceptable survey response rates? Absolutely. 

Address your clients in their native language. It is a sign that you respect them for who they are. Do not stick to default options where you can use only English. Spend a little more time to see if it is possible for you to send surveys in the language of the recipient. It is an easy method to get acceptable survey response rates or even more. A tool like SurveySparrow allows you to send surveys in many languages

Get an acceptable response rate for a survey

#6 Keep the survey simple and short:

We cannot stress the importance of having a short survey that doesn’t ask too many questions nor would result in them getting confused. As we mentioned earlier in this article, your customers are not waiting to finish the survey link that you sent them. If they happen to complete your survey, it is only a favor to you. So you need to be mindful of the customer feedback surveys that you send. 

The survey should be easy to understand, has to be devoid of any jargon, and doesn’t use any ideas that the customer might not know about. Keeping the survey simple and short is one way to have acceptable survey response rates. 

#7 Email deliverability:

If your email client thinks that you have poor email deliverability, it will slow down your campaigns and even send some of these emails to your recipient’s spam folders. An excellent email reputation will itself help in getting acceptable survey response rates. Send surveys from your own domain and offer a dedicated email sending IP address. 

Here are some survey deliverability tips:

  1. Send the email from a real person’s account
  2. Send the customer feedback surveys from your business’ domain
  3. Keep cleaning your email list using bulk email verifier on a regular basis so that those who do not interact at all are removed
  4. Send the online surveys from a dedicated IP address

#8 Segment your email list:

The customers on your email list might be people who are different in many ways, starting from what they want from your business and how they would like it to be delivered. So if you are going to send a survey that is the same for everyone, you wouldn’t be able to get the most value from it. For your customer feedback surveys to get acceptable survey response rates, you should segment your customers. 

Before you send a customer a survey, you should understand that at which stage of the relationship they are with you. Try to gather as much information as possible from your customers before you send them online surveys. 

#9 Respect your customer’s privacy:

Even before the GDPR regulations came into effect, it was uncool to not respect the privacy of your customers. To achieve acceptable survey response rates, your respondents should be able to trust that you will keep their data and privacy sacrosanct. This is why you need to only collect information that is required, just because you can add more fields, do not indulge in asking too many questions that will reveal identifiable information. 

Make sure you have a clear Privacy and Disclaimer Policy mentioned on your website that will answer all the questions about your customer’s privacy. 

#10 Get your timing right:

There are many factors that result in you getting acceptable response rates, and making sure you time them right is important. If you are going to send work-related surveys to your respondents at 11 in the night, how do you think it will reflect in the response rates? Of course, the numbers will be bad. 

The best time to send online surveys is during the first few hours of the office. Schedule your surveys based on this time and if you think there is a time that perfectly works for you, then stick to that. 

#11 Close the feedback loop:

While closing the feedback loop is a process that happens after you get the responses, are you guilty of not doing them for your previous surveys? If yes, then your customers are more likely not to respond this time because you did not heed their requests last time. 

When you get results from a survey, send follow-up questions to your respondents if they have asked for a change in your offering or have complained about a particular thing. Follow-up on their request and make the change that they had asked for. If you do so, your customers are more likely to trust you. They will be more enthused to fill the online surveys next time, and it will make it easy for you to get acceptable survey response rates.

#12 Distribute surveys using various channels

The best thing about using an online survey tool is that you can send them through any channel- email, SMS, in-app, weblinks, etc. A simple way to have acceptable survey response rates is to survey customers using channels that they use frequently. Do not stick to just one channel because your customers are going to be on different ones. It is best if you find the ones that are most relevant to your business and use them. It will maximize the number of responses that you will get for your online surveys.

#13 Resend your surveys

Your customers are not going to fill the survey as soon as they get one. Even the ones who want to fill the survey will tell themselves that they will do it later but eventually forget it. There is nothing wrong with sending reminder emails to your customers. In fact, if you don’t do it, you are the one who stands to lose. Send at least 2-3 reminders over a period of 10-12 days, after which you should not disturb them again. 

Be nice in your reminders, do not let them feel as if you are forcing them to complete the survey. The reminders will only be successful when it is a nudge. 

#14 Brand your surveys:

The survey template that you use from Typeform alternative like SurveySparrow is customizable using your company’s brand identity. If you send a general survey template that does not incorporate any of your company’s brand identity, then it will look unprofessional and the customers might even think if the survey is from a genuine source. 

increase the acceptable response rate for a survey by branding right

These surveys represent your brand, just like any other interaction would. When your surveys are personalized to sound and look like your brand, it inspires trust in the minds of your customers. Also, you will be offering a consistent experience for your customers when they receive your survey emails in their inbox. 

#15 A/B testing subject lines:

Did you know that with the right kind of online survey tool like SurveySparrow, a Typeform alternative, you can even test your subject lines? If you want acceptable survey response rates, then using the best subject lines that prod the recipient to open the survey email and interact with you is important. 

To get the best out of your employee 360 feedback or customer feedback surveys, you should test a variety of email subject lines. Since people are bombarded with emails these days, they do not open each of them until it is sent by someone they are expecting. 

When you send out clever subject lines, you will be able to stand apart from others which might result in more people opening your emails and you achieving acceptable survey response rates.

#16 Announce your surveys in advance:

As a means to get acceptable survey response rates, here is one more thing that you can do to bump the numbers in your favor. Announce to your customers that you will be sending them the survey. Let the customers know why you will be sending them the survey, what they can expect from it and how it will affect you or them. When customers know in advance that they will be getting a survey and it will have certain effects on your business or them, they will be more motivated to complete it.

#17 Don’t survey grossly unhappy customers:

There are times when you cannot solve the issue of a customer. It is unfortunate, but it happens, and that’s part and parcel of running a business. Some customers might have genuine issues that will need redressal measures from you, but there will be certain issues that cannot be addressed. It could be because you do not have the resources, your customer’s expectation cannot be fulfilled, or any other valid reasons. 

In such a case, when there is no resolution insight, you can safely say that the customer will be unhappy with your business. It will certainly be reflected in the results of your survey. While you might reach acceptable survey response rates by sending it to everyone on your list, you stand to lose by sending it to unhappy customers.

#18 Do not take too many surveys:

Taking surveys often will irritate your customers and might even result in them ignoring all of the surveys. It is equally bad if you survey your customers only once in a long time. If you want a meaningful relationship with your customers while getting acceptable survey response rates, you need to send surveys with the right balance. 

It might be attractive to send customer feedback surveys at every interaction touchpoint. Instead of doing that, why not try to have a limit on how many surveys you can send to a customer. For instance, you can send NPS surveys once every three or six months, while any other kind of survey can be done once in three months. Anything more than that should be construed as too much.

#19 Clean your list:

More often than not, you are going to send your surveys to your email subscribers. Getting acceptable survey response rates is only possible when you have eliminated emails that act as dead weight. People who are no longer at their jobs or whose emails get returned need to be removed. 

When you use a good online survey tool like SurveySparrow, you will have the option to identify the auto-replies that you get after you send a survey. Based on the auto-reply messages that you get, you can do the needful. 

#20 Thank your customer:

When you get acceptable survey response rates, it is your duty to thank your customers for their time. Also, take action on the feedback that you have received. Show your customer that you are thankful that they took the time to complete the survey. It will also help in increasing participation if you do that. The fact that you express your gratitude to your customers shows that you appreciate the time that they have taken to complete the survey. 

Here are a few intros that might help:

“Thank you so much for helping us out with your response.”

“Thanks for taking the time to complete the survey. It has helped us immensely.”

“We are looking forward to sharing the final results of the survey with you. Highly appreciate your help.”

Bonus tip #21 Leveraging analytics dashboard: 

One more thing that you should leverage to achieve acceptable survey response rates is to use the data-rich dashboard that your online survey tool provides you with. It will help you gain insights from the data of those you have surveyed. You will be able to view the results in different visual mediums, which makes it easy to understand what those numbers really mean. 

It will even tell you how many responded, which segments of customers did, what kind of responses you got for certain questions, and many more. Each of the parameters will give you tonnes of insights that will help you make business decisions. After all, the whole point of doing surveys is to get a peek into the minds of customers and understand what they really think about your service? 

Wrapping it up

To achieve acceptable survey response rates, we have given you twenty-one strategies that are time-tested and have worked well for various clients of ours. There are so many channels using which you can send your surveys. You can even send them through chatbot for websites so that you can catch them while they are on your site itself. 

In this time and age when there are superior online survey tools like SurveySparrow, offline surveys don’t make sense anymore as they take away a lot of your time and resources. 

Suppose you are looking to use an online survey tool that has features that will do everything for your survey needs, look no further than SurveySparrow. Check us out, or if you’d like to talk to us, let us know, and our customer success team will get in touch with you. 


Kate Williams

Product Marketing Manager at SurveySparrow

Excels in empowering visionary companies through storytelling and strategic go-to-market planning. With extensive experience in product marketing and customer experience management, she is an accomplished author, podcast host, and mentor, sharing her expertise across diverse platforms and audiences.

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