How to Increase Response Rates the Right Way

Surveys are only as good as the results they get you. Learn how to increase response rates and improve the quality of feedback you collect every day.


Jeremiah Chua

May 23, 2018

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Customer feedback is a vital part of any business strategy. Why? When you know what your customers want, you can improve your products, fine-tune your messaging, and reach people more effectively every day.

Customer surveys are a fantastic, low-calorie method for gathering customer feedback. But like any other tool, a survey’s value depends on how you use it. If your survey is dull, confusing, poorly designed, or just ill-timed, you can seriously damage your response rates and end up with low-quality data.

Why survey response rates matter

In general, the higher your response rates, the more accurate your data. This is explained by mathematical statistics of how sample size affects the margin of error in survey results. In other words, the more responses you get from your surveys, the clearer your customer data becomes.

It is vital to develop an effective strategy to get the appropriate response rates because not all survey methods yield positive results. If you don’t plan your feedback program thoughtfully, you may end up doing more harm than good.

The risk of reckless surveying

In a perfect world, customers would offer feedback whenever you ask for it. In reality, only the very angry or very happy usually do. Survey fatigue is a big problem for companies that don’t survey customers mindfully.

Over time, repetitive survey invitations annoy customers and damage brand perception. Not only do you lose out on potentially valuable feedback, but you smear your reputation with customers for good.

Luckily, there are ways to prevent survey fatigue and get the insights you count on.

8 Ways to Increase Response Rates Responsibly

1. Limit the number of questions you ask.

Customers are more likely to answer surveys that take no longer than 7 minutes to complete.

When designing your surveys, focus on only asking relevant questions—the questions vital to the success of your business—rather than everything you’re curious about learning from customers.

If you can’t limit the questions on your own, check out survey logic to intelligently cut irrelevant questions.

2. Send your surveys at the right time.

The more convenient you make it for your customers to answer a survey, the higher your chances of getting a response.

Try sending them a survey right after they engage with your brand. For example, you can set triggers for surveys to send each time a support agent resolves a ticket. This is an optimal way to ensure relevancy and make sure the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind.

3. Pay attention to survey design.

Consumers are picky when it comes to how they spend their screen time. They are often put off by poor design, slow load times, or actions that can’t be completed across all devices. In fact, 69% of consumers are consuming media on their smartphones and that number is only growing.

If you want to engage your audience, your surveys need to look flawless and on brand. Here’s how you can accomplish this:

  • Optimize your surveys for mobile devices. Your surveys should load quickly and be accessible across all devices, especially smart phones.

  • Use images in your surveys. Pre-designed survey templates ensure your colors match each other and your brand, your images are good looking and the right size, and that your survey looks beautiful.

  • Embed a survey question into your email. Not only do consumers browse the internet with their smartphones, but they open over half of their emails via smartphone. Incorporate your feedback strategy into your email marketing strategy by embedding a survey question into your emails.

When you design your surveys with the end-user in mind, you can rest assured you’ll increase your response rates.

4. Send transactional surveys.

One of the top benefits of transactional surveys is they are sent right after a customer engages with your brand. This could be after they spoke to a customer service representative, after they purchased a product, or after they visited your website.

Transactional surveys are highly relevant, because they are sent to a specific individual about a specific and personal interaction they just had with your brand. As such, the questions are relevant to the interaction, and only that particular interaction, and elicit responses that help you understand how a customer felt about their interaction.

For example, let’s say a customer just purchased a product from your website. You could send an automated survey about their experience with your website. From this survey, you can learn how to improve the ordering process, checkout, design, etc. of your website.

Transactional surveys are also valuable when it comes to targeting the right customers at the right time. The strategy of reaching the right customers at the right time improves the quality of your data.

Sticking with the website survey example, just imagine how much more accurate of a response you will get from someone who not only actually visited your website, but just barely visited your website. A customer that just completed an action on your website is much more likely, and more qualified, to answer questions about your website than a customer who visited your website 6 months ago.

When you focus on sending surveys in context of customer actions, your response rates increase and the quality of your feedback improves.

6. Stick to a few questions.

Keep your surveys short and to the point.

You can design a 3 survey question. Try including one quick quantitative question, one qualitative question, and one open ended question.

This gives your audience the opportunity to answer a question that is important to you, answer a question at length if they desire, and then offer feedback that is important to them. Thus, covering all bases of collecting customer data.

7. Identify the most important touchpoints.

Another way to reduce the risk of your customers experiencing survey fatigue is this: identify the most important touchpoints you want feedback on.

Doing so will help you develop a clear strategy to reach every touchpoint. You can then decide when, where, and to whom your survey goes to.

When your feedback is centered around vital points of interest, you’ll increase your response rates naturally.

8. Try one-touch email surveys.

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach consumers. If you’re looking to increase response rates, think about using email to distribute your surveys.

With GetFeedback, you can easily embed one-touch surveys into your emails. Once a customer clicks on the survey question in the email, it will redirect them to finish the entire survey online.

Our team tested embedded surveys vs traditional surveys and the results were awesome.

Survey engagement with embedded surveys improved by 210% and survey completion rates improved by 125%.

One-touch email surveys is a great way to increase response rates.


Engaging your customers by creating thoughtful, personalized, and relevant surveys is the best way to increase response rates. You can do this by using transactional surveys, considering your audience, and making small changes to your survey strategy that will make the difference in collecting helpful data.

See how events platform Ticketfly improved customer survey response rates by 240% with GetFeedback for Salesforce.

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