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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Survey Design Manners: Remembering to Say Please & Thank You


When designing a survey with AYTM, you have the option of scripting a personalized introduction in text or with an opening video. You can also finish the survey with a text message. Why is this helpful?  Because our goal is to make the survey experience as pleasant and engaging as possible for our respondents.  What better way to engage respondents than to welcome them with a non-boilerplate message? Imagine how a personal video intro from you can pique their interest in and help them to willingly open the door to their insight.  What better way to close the survey experience than with an equally pleasing thank you?

Let’s look at some examples.

EXAMPLE 1.  CUSTOMER FEEDBACK SURVEY

The introduction to a customer feedback survey could be something like, “Please complete this very brief survey so that we can better serve you in the future.”  Or how about this, “We’d love your feedback on your recent experience with our company. Your feedback, along with that of other valued clients, will help us make ongoing improvements.” 

These openings tell the survey participants why the survey is being done. They also make it clear what’s really in it for them: better service or improved products in the future. 

You can even go a little further and use the introduction message to encourage candid feedback. Consider saying something like, “We’re going to ask you some questions about your experience with our company.  We truly value your candid feedback.”  Simply by saying that you want frank, honest feedback encourages them to comply.

What about the closing message? It’s a great opportunity to remind them that their time was well spent and that you appreciate their help. Consider these options:

  • “Thank you for your feedback. We truly appreciate your time.”
  • “Thank you for completing our customer feedback survey. Your responses will help us to better serve you in the future.”


EXAMPLE 2.  PRODUCT CONCEPT TESTING SURVEY

Maybe you have an idea for a new software application and you’re going to ask your target market some questions about possible feature requirements.  With such a survey you might have an introduction like, “We’re going to ask you several questions about possible features for a new software application. Please note that we want your honest feedback—there are no wrong answers.” Short, relevant, and sends the right message.

If you are surveying your own list and you want to add some extra credibility to the request, you can do so like this: “This research is being sponsored by our Vice President of Product Development, Jane Jones. Jane and her team are eager for honest feedback about several feature ideas currently under consideration.” Adding the executive’s name creates a sense of urgency, and makes it clear that the research really is important.

What about the customized closing text?  Now that they have invested four or five minutes of their time answering your questions, you want to close on a high note.  You can simply say thank you, which is perfectly fine, or you can go a bit further:

  • “This survey was sent to you by Joe Jones of Brand X.  For more information on the survey and how the results will be used, please contact Joe at JJones@987654321.com.” 
  • Thanks for your time. Your input will help guide new product development at Brand X. If you have any questions, please call 999.888.7777, ext 111.
The text box also supports hyperlinks, so you could even offer them a link to a page with additional information.

One Warning
Never use a survey for the purpose of lead-generation.  Mixing research with sales is spammy and widely consider unethical. 


IS IT NECESSARY TO SAY PLEASE AND THANK YOU?

No. But it helps, especially if you are using the AYTM platform to survey your own customers or other in-house lists. If you repeatedly ask your list members to take surveys and provide their “valuable feedback” but it feels impersonal or bland, they will get turned off. If the research is important, use customized text that reflects this.

Bottom line: use customized introductions and closing text to tell people that you want their candid feedback, to thank them for their help, and to let them know that you plan to use the data for something important.  And besides, it’s just a nice way to say “please” and “thank you.”


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