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7 Facts About Survey Respondents You Wish You Knew

Kate Williams

20 June 2021

11 min read

Let us ask a question to start here. 

Can you cook lip-smacking delicious food without knowing the complete details about it? Details like the ingredient list, cooking time, temperature, and so on. 

The answer will be ‘No’ unless you’re a magician! 

Imagine the same with the surveys you’re conducting. Can you get the right results without knowing all the crucial details and facts about the respondents? 

If you’re saying yes, we would love to know how because it would be our first time seeing a company get truly successful with their survey campaigns without knowing every fact (even the less known ones) about their respondents. 

Well, if your answer is no, you’ve come to the right place. As here, our major attention is on 7 lesser-known and mostly ignored facts about survey respondents that make a tremendous difference in the final survey results. But up first, let’s discuss why conducting surveys have become so important for organization in 2021? This will set the tone nicely for all that’s about to come. 

Ready with your coffee, then? Let’s begin!  

7 Survey Respondent Facts You Wished You Knew Earlier! 

To be honest, the heading should’ve been ‘7 “Ignored” Survey Respondent Facts You Wished You Knew Earlier’ because that’s what these facts are. They’re not the most obvious details you notice in survey respondents, but businesses that do recognize and follow these facts strategically, stand out completely. Mind the word ‘strategically’ here because using them randomly won’t get the right results in any way.  

Ok, enough with the talking. Your coffee’s still hot? Because we’re starting, and you won’t wanna get up in between!   

1. No Respondent Likes A Survey That’s Just A Survey

That’s a fact missed almost all the time by organizations during their survey campaigns. They try to make their surveys just surveys! A plain and boring list of questions thrown at survey respondents to answer. Well, we can’t blame them for conducting such surveys because surveys are a data-collection process, and a process like that has to be straightforward and quick. 

We get that; it has to be a straightforward process, but why can’t it be like a quiz? A quiz where you’re trying to get the survey-takers into thinking and tapping into their experiences to come up with answers. Hell, why don’t you call the “survey” a “quiz”, and ask the target audience to “take part in our quiz” rather than “take our survey”?

We’re seriously asking you to consider making this change, as we’ve seen its magic! Yes, respondents who rarely answered our surveys in the past are responding to our quiz now. And this trend has remained the same every time we’ve observed. So, try it out.   

To design surveys that feel like conversations, you can check out SurveySparrow. Create engaging conversations, increase survey response rates, understand your respondents,  and close the feedback loop once and for love.

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2. Survey Respondents Love Their Comfort

Imagine this. 

On a day when you’re just chilling, you get an email on the phone from one of your favorite brands of a market research survey they’re conducting. You like the subject and wanna take it up. But as soon as you hit the survey link, it asks you to use your laptop to proceed. 

“Wait, what? A survey that’s gonna work only on my laptop?”

We can promise in the name of God that this would be your reaction. And you’ll most probably skip the idea of taking the survey altogether. So, if you’re the leader or a manager, and this is your reaction to a laptop-only survey, what makes you think your survey respondents would be any different? 

Survey-takers in 2021 wants surveys to be accessible from laptop, smartphone, and tablet. And they love it when the surveys can be taken offline, which brings the need for offline surveys, too. 

We couldn’t even keep a count of how many companies ignore this simple fact entirely, but just like our clients, we don’t want you to join them, and we hope we’ve explained why?

3. Every Respondent Wishes To Be Your Brand’s Promoter

Yes, this is as true as it can get. Every respondent wishes to take part in your company’s growth and eventually be a promoter for your brand. By actively taking part, we mean you should include them while working on something new or while making some changes. Why? Because the products and all the services are for your target audience, not for you. So, why miss out on engaging them right from the ideation stage till the launch through interactive surveys? 

And we’re not asking you to be discreet about it. Let them know what you’re thinking or doing, and why you think the survey respondents could help them?

Talk about why you should conduct surveys before launching new products and in the ideation phase. Involve them actively in every step of the process. Trust us, every one of your survey-taker, customer or not, would feel valued by this gesture and decision, and their satisfaction levels with your brand would sky-rocket! 

4. Use The Anita-effect

Let’s just put this straight; if your target audience is far more males than females, the survey open rates would be much higher if the person sending it is a female! One of our clients talked about this effect in a customer survey, and we’re astonished by how amazingly it works. 

But don’t trust our words, try it out yourself. You’ll love it! 

5. Take Care Of Your Respondent’s Experience Without Fail

This has got to be the most crucial fact that businesses miss out on. They make surveys easy for them to administer, but in reality, they should be concerned about giving the best experience to their survey respondents because that’s what matters the most. Surveys are an integral point of contact between a company and the target audience, and a positive experience for them here would lead the way to many more successes later. 

How to give the right experience in a survey? 

Well, start by following fact number one. Keep the survey in a quiz style and even call it a quiz. Next, ask positive questions—no need to tap into the negative side, especially right now. Third, include sentences like “it would massively help us out,” as these have shown to increase the response rates by up to 18 percent. And last, tap into their experiences. You’ll get genuine gold from there!

6. Ask The Right (Not Perfect!) Questions 

There’s no need to include jargon in your survey questions just to make it look perfect. Go easy and use the simplest language and words possible. Giving right meaning to the questions so that it’s interpreted correctly by the respondents is the only thing which truly matters to the respondents. 

The next section would give you some time-tested tips to frame survey questions that get the job done. Stay patient, and it’ll be all yours. 

7. Your Respondents Need A Progress Bar

This fact epitomizes the point that small things can make a vast difference. Just a small progress bar at the top, sides, or bottom of the survey would clearly show how much the survey is completed and how much of it is left? And this simple inclusion has been shown to boost the survey completion rate by 12 percent. Can you believe it?

Bonus Fact: Show The Results

Show your survey respondents how much you and your teams could achieve with their valuable suggestions and feedback. Send them a personalized email, and talk about it. They’ll feel exuberant with their contribution and would be motivated to help your brand further. Impressive, isn’t it? 

The 5 Types Of Survey Respondents You’ll Find

Target and survey respondents come in quite a few different shapes and sizes. There are good survey respondents, bad ones, and some fall in between these two extremes. Credit to these different types, companies have to be aware while preparing surveys. And we’ve even seen companies conduct trial surveys to understand the survey respondents they would cater to. 

To make your and your team’s life easier, we’ve listed and explained the five most found types of survey respondents. Knowing about these would ultimately help you craft better surveys that deliver outstanding results. And that’s the goal, right?    

#1 Professionals

These are the type categorized as good (or great). Basically, for any organization, they are the ideal type of survey audience. They treat the survey-taking process as their job, and diligently answer all that they know about a question or a survey. 

A survey audience that falls in the category of professionals rarely cares about the time they’re giving to a survey because, for them, quality matters more than time. While that’s a good thing in most cases, sometimes it can lead to repeated and biased answers too. Especially when surveys are conducted on repeated topics. You can avoid this by asking professionals if they’re taking a survey on a specific subject from them again. If they answer yes, it’s better to leave them out for the survey, and if they say no, well, you know what to do! 

#2 Rule-Breakers

They are the opposite of those who follow the rules, and they face difficulty in following a direction or set of rules. What’s funny is that they don’t break the rules intentionally. Yes, rule-breakers mostly find it hard interpreting a question or a direction in the survey. Hence, they go their own way. 

One way to prevent your survey respondents from being rule-breakers is by giving instructions clearly and keeping the questions simple and short. This way, you’ll give a minimum chance for someone to misinterpret, and the survey results would be in line with your expectations. 

#3 Speeders

As the name suggests, survey respondents who fall into this category like to move through the survey quickly. Often, the primary motive of speeders is to finish the survey right away and take the incentives associated with it. This makes them more than willing to answer all the questions promptly, which makes for excellent data collection. 

Because of their nature, the quality of data collected can be impacted, as the answers are more immediate and less thoughtful. To remove this, simply put a minimum time limit that every respondent needs to spend on a question. This way, nobody would speed up even when they want to, and they’ll have more time to think and give better and more honest answers.  

#4 Straightliners

Straightliners or flatliners always go for the extremes in the survey. To put it simply, they’re either choosing the most positive answer like “strongly agree” or the most negative answer like “strongly disagree” if it’s a Likert survey. With close-ended questions like MCQs, they would either choose the first option or the last, without giving much heed to what the question is really asking. 

You’ll find a few such respondents in almost every survey you conduct. But you can try minimizing this extreme pattern by not giving predictable options for questions. Mixing up the options for every question in the survey is the best way to lessen the occurrence of straightliners.

#5 Posers

In all the years that we’ve helped businesses conduct quality surveys, posers have always been the hardest survey respondents to identify. These respondents don’t choose to give honest feedback because of a social desirability bias. Simply put, they don’t give their true thoughts and answers on a survey topic or question, as they fear differing from the rest or answering differently from what the survey taker wants. Posers aren’t bad, and they don’t do this just to have fun. In fact, any respondent can be a poser in different situations or topics. Making sure the survey environment is comfortable and private is the only way to instill confidence in them to give the right answers. 

Why Are Conducting Surveys An Important Activity For Companies?

You want to know all the facts about your survey respondents; we get it. But why do you, or any other business need to conduct surveys? Why are they so important? – These are the two questions that need answering first. 

To Understand Customer Satisfaction

Listening to your target audience & customers is the first step towards satisfying their needs, and conducting timely surveys is the best way to do that. Surveying your target respondents help your teams find how they feel about the company, its products, services, prices, and the brand. It’s an effective way to figure what they like, dislike, and spot areas that need improvement. 

Remember, a satisfied customer brings business over and above a new customer. Plus, you’ll save resources that would’ve been spent in acquiring new customers. All this if you’re just willing to find the right survey respondents and conduct timely surveys for them.  

To Enhance Customer Engagement

Conducting online surveys in 2021 is by far the best way to improve customer engagement. From the time the pandemic started in 2020, most customers are working from home, and all the while, they’re taking care of their families too. So, why not ask them to share insights and their stories by conducting a well-crafted survey? 

The point is, give them the chance to express and they’ll start engaging more with your teams. They’ll feel valued when you address their concerns like a human. And these engaged customers would likely be your loyal customers down the line.  

To Upgrade Your Offerings

With surveys, you get to discover priceless customer feedback on your different products, services, and offerings. You can ask the right questions to the right survey respondents to understand what’s working and what’s not. This allows the product team to upgrade or build something new to satisfy customer needs and expectations. So, with surveys, you stay updated and in the game! 

To Gather Valuable Data

Surveying the target respondents is also a great way to gather crucial demographic information about them. You can easily include questions in the survey to get key data such as gender, age, and location to better understand the consumer base. 

To Improve Operational Efficiency

Improving operational efficiency is another reason surveys are essential for every business. You can survey the customers to find how well and efficiently your company performs in customer service and related operations. A fine example of using a survey to improve operational efficiency is asking questions related to website usability like accessibility, content, navigation, loading time, to understand if your website meets the survey respondent’s needs. 

To Perform Market Research

If you wish to launch a new product or service, what are the chances it’ll succeed and by how much? You need to ask this question and use market research surveys to find answers. Otherwise, you’re taking far too big a risk with your new projects and products! 

To Get A Benchmark For Development

Another reason to conduct surveys is for benchmarking. Gathering feedback from survey respondents at different points allows your teams to compare data from year to year to see if alterations need to be made in any business process. This gives your company a way to pivot and grow further. 

Tips To Write Survey Questions That Gets The Right Answers

Whoa, we’ve discussed a lot of useful stuff till now, and before pulling down the curtains here, why not give you some time-tested tips to write top-notch survey questions.

We’ve used many of these tips in our survey campaigns, and our clients have used them too with great success over the years. So, rest assured, you can start using these right from the next survey. 

Terrific, right? Why keep you waiting anymore, then? Time to dive in.  

  • Use extremely simple language. The questions should be easily understood by each of your survey respondents. So, avoid using flashy and big words. 
  • Keep a mix of all types of questions, i.e., open, closed, Likert scale type. No need to keep all questions close-ended. Choose the question type depending on the data you want from your survey respondents. 
  • Neutral questions are answered the most. So, try framing questions with no adjectives, negative or positive. Example: great, bad, helpful, lazy, etc. 
  • Try keeping the questions short. A single-line question is best to keep the attention of your survey respondents. 
  • Strictly avoid asking multiple questions wrapped into one. It frustrates the survey takers, and they might leave the survey there itself. 
  • Don’t keep similar questions in a single survey just to get more data. Your survey respondents are too smart to not catch that.
  • Use words with absolutely clear meanings. Words like many, most, numerous are hard to interpret and mean differently to different people. Instead, use words such as almost none, a few, and a majority of.  
  • Don’t beat around the bush with the survey questions. Ask based on the data you wish to collect. For example, how many times you visited Europe last year would be a useless question if you’re trying to find how many times your target respondents saw ads about traveling to Europe? 
  • Try to make them think clearly by connecting with an incident or story. Use words like last summer/winter/year, remember and recall.

Time For You To Start!

There you have it. You now know why surveys are extremely crucial for your business going forward. You know the 7 ‘ignored’ facts about survey respondents that’ll make a massive difference to the bottom line, and you also have the tips to form the right survey questions for the right survey audience. 

What’s left, then? 

Take cues from here, make changes to your surveys, and start! That is what’s left for you and your teams now. Starting is important because you didn’t read this far to just forget all that we discussed here. 

See, we understand your business requirements and needs might be different, which is exactly why we discussed the facts and pointers that, if applied with the right strategy, would deliver results irrespective of the type of business you’re in. And take our client’s words for that, not ours. 

So, waiting to hear all about your survey’s success. Happy surveying!


Kate Williams

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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