The Iceberg In Waiting: Respondent Satisfaction

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The Iceberg In Waiting: Respondent Satisfaction

A recent Greenbook study found that only around 25% or survey participants were satisfied with their survey experience. 25%!  To be completely honest, that is awful.

What industry expects to continue into the long-term when its core asset (panelists) are disillusioned with the overall process?

The bigger question is, why aren’t we, the market research industry, talking about this more, or taking more visible steps to improve this?

There are several things as an industry we can be doing better. Here are just a few:

Improve questionnaire design

For a lot of surveys, there is a heavy reliance on grid questions and other complex question types. There is also a tendency for many researchers to field survey that can take over 30 minutes. Let’s move away from the complex question-types and reduce the length of surveys. This will make a considerable improvement in respondent satisfaction, as well as improve incident rates.

Make surveys more targeted

What can be more upsetting to a survey respondent is to get a survey invite, invest a significant amount of time answering questions, only to term out? Probably not a whole lot, and it’s probably not a surprise that they would say they were not satisfied with their survey experience.

Platform Redesigns

Many of the platforms that users interact with to take surveys, whether it’s the survey interface itself, or the panelist platform, many of these have not been updated significantly in years. Survey hosts and panelist companies need to take a hard look at their overall user experience and make some changes to make it more modern. Things that worked 4-5 years ago are now outdated.
Another significant point on this is making surveys device agnostic (essentially the experience is the same no matter the device-type a respondent uses to take it). It is 2018, and most people have a smartphone. Not making your survey device agnostic severely limits your respondent pool and leads to high dissatisfaction.

These are just a few things that we as an industry can be doing better. To make real improvement though, we need really need to shift our thinking from one of “respondents are a commodity” to one that genuinely values respondents and their experience.

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