Six easy ways to improve your survey response rate

When you request feedback on a training or other event, what survey response rate is enough?

survey response rateNo blanket answer to that question exists because the number and type of potential respondents affects expectations. If you’re sending thousands of surveys to a broad audience—some who have no clue why they’re included in the list—a three percent response could be reason to break out the bubbly.

If you’re asking for feedback from twenty training attendees, however, three percent won’t cut it. Especially since that response rate represents less than one person. A wasted effort, if not downright weird.

A survey response rate of 50 percent or better is not out of the question when polling a small number of attendees for training they were either required or wanted to attend.

Typically, web-based evaluation response rates are lower than in-person paper surveys. Follow a few easy tips to reduce that gap.

    1. Be up front. What’s in it for respondents? Explain in the email or introduction how you’ll use the data. To improve the next training? To get the trainer to be peppier?
    2. Show how long. Let respondents see right away the length of the survey so they can gauge the time required. Better yet, tell them what it should take. No surprises.
    3. Mobile friendly is a must. If you want a high response rate, make it easy to complete the form on any device and in any location, including the parking lot following training.Evaluation entry on an iPad
    4. Don’t wait too long. Ask for feedback while the experience is still fresh in attendees’ heads.
    5. Keep it short. Some programs must follow an evaluation structure dictated by a funding body or continuing education agency. If you don’t have that requirement, keep your surveys as brief as you can. Ten or fewer questions is plenty.
    6. Ask for additional feedback. You won’t get to the heart of what respondents really think if you don’t give them a chance to add comments. Most won’t, because it’s more time and effort. But those who do add comments will provide invaluable info that you won’t always get from structured response options like agree/disagree/vehemently disagree.

Here’s a bonus tip: If you’re issuing certificates of completion, create a rule in your registration software to automatically issue those certificates only after an attendee has completed an evaluation. That will boost your survey response rate further. The software takes care of the whole process.

If you have questions regarding survey response rates or anything else related to registration management, we’re here for you.