Survey road map: How will they receive your survey?

Increase your survey’s response rate by delivering the survey to the customer effectively. 

You’ve got your targets and your questions. Now, how will you contact these customers?

Keep in mind your target customer’s preferences, plus standard response rates. Your message content, length of questions and purpose should also help dictate the medium of your message.

Email surveys

Emails feature the lowest response rate of 0.12% according to the DMA, but they do have their strengths. Surveys distributed via email are inexpensive, easy and fast. For a professional or online-savvy customer base, this platform may be ideal. However, for other survey samples, customers may be more likely to overlook, ignore or delete your email messages.

Phone surveys

Phone calls typically provide a 12.95% response rate. This medium is ideal for surveys requiring detailed responses, which may be needed when measuring massive customer service trends. On the contrary, phone surveys can occasionally be intrusive for
your customers. In addition, they’re time-intensive, expensive, and more difficult to track and execute. Remember, a survey asks your customer for his/her time so it’s important to assure that phone calls don’t impose a significant burden. Trying to avoid the high costs and negative effects? Then, it’s safe to say that email or direct mail is the way to go.

Direct mail surveys

Direct mail continues to carry a high response rate of 3.40% for a letter, 2.97% for a postcard, and 3.95% for a over-sized mail piece. It makes sense: a direct-mail survey can seem more personal, gently encouraging your recipient to respond. The method depends not just on your budget, but on the who and the what. You can of course develop a survey mix comprised of email and mail, but do so with caution. We encourage you to carefully monitor your list and your delivery. You don’t want to browbeat a customer by asking them the same questions in several different forums. Always be sensitive of their time.

Client success story
We’ve learned from experience

For example, we conducted a survey for a health care client with questions about extended family care. For this client’s budget, purpose and target, the best bet for return was printed, direct mail. With careful attention and extensive testing of subjects outside the survey drop, we were able to target people, preferences and method within a four-county area. Even on a fairly small drop-base, our response rate was an astonishing 54%. So how did we help our client achieve such a high response rate? Our content helped trigger such success – we included less than 10 multiple-choice questions, and then two open-
ended responses. Aside from the deciphering the best-suited target audience, delivery, platform, and questions, the intriguing incentive is key to boosting response rates. Join us, while we tackle that next survey challenge on our road map.

Key takeaways

  • Remember your purpose and questions while deciding on the medium of your survey.
  • Think about how your ideal customer would prefer to respond.
  • Be aware of the differences between direct mail, email, and phone surveys.
  • And remember, always be sensitive to your customers’ time.

Up next: What’s in it for the customer?


"Imagemakers was timely in responding to requests. Customer Service is a big factor for me when determining who to engage with for a project. Imagemakers delivered."

Daren Fankhauser
Vice President, Chief Architect
Research and Development
Data Center Inc
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