The Best Time to Send Surveys

When it comes to surveys, high response rates typically depend on these seven checkpoints:

  1. How well surveys are written for their target audience
  2. The length of a survey – short vs. long
  3. The respondent profile type – B2B vs. B2C
  4. The number of responses required
  5. The experience of taking the survey – how easy it is to complete it on various devices
  6. How the survey is sent
  7. When the survey invitation is sent

In a world where we compete for the attention of our respondents, how and when we send survey invitations impacts the results. People have been asking us for years when is the best time to send surveys to get the highest responses. We’ve been collecting  data for years of collaborating with our customers. Now is time to back it up with usage data to understand what’s actually happening. The questions we seek answers for include:

  • What day of the week is the most popular to send and distribute surveys?
  • What time of the day is the most popular to send and distribute surveys?
  • What week of the month is the most popular time to send surveys?
  • What time of day do respondents complete surveys for our customers the most?
  • What day of the week do respondents complete surveys the most?
  • Are there any notable differences between different product types – surveys, Communities, Workforce, CX?

Here are some interesting findings that may inspire you to rethink how and when to distribute surveys.

The most popular day of the week to send out surveys is Tuesday


Tuesday then closely followed by Monday are the two most popular days of the week to distribute and send surveys. Thursday came in third followed by Wednesday, and then Friday rounding out the weekdays. Surprisingly, Saturday’s distribution volume drops slightly from Friday while Sunday is the least popular day of the entire week.

Product-specific distribution

Workforce – Monday and Tuesday was the two popular days to send employee surveys. This aligns well with employee email research showing that the best day to deliver important work emails is on a Monday or Tuesday in the early morning or mid afternoon due to open rates being the highest during those times.

Communities – Tuesday is the most popular day to send community surveys although other days were slightly lower but fairly consistent.

CX – Customer experience surveys are generally contingent on the point-of-sale and customer journey. If automated, the date and time will vary based on customer activity.

The most popular time to send survey invitations is between 10 am and 11 am local time


Customers tend to respond to surveys in the mid-morning between 10-11 am followed by the early morning between 6 am and 9 am local time.  A 2019 study by Convertful showed similar popular email distribution times for email marketing to be 10 AM for professional services but showed different preferred distribution times for eCommerce and software/SaaS audiences (between 12 pm – 2 pm).

The last week of the month is when we see the highest survey sent and completion activity


From week one to week four distribution activity starts out strong but drops the lowest during week two then steadily rises to the highest on week four.

The most popular day respondents complete surveys the quickest are Tuesdays


To answer this question, we reviewed timestamps based on the average time it took to receive completed surveys. Tuesday had the quickest response time while it took the longest to get results over the weekend. The second highest response day was Friday which may seem surprising. Friday is a high-activity day with spikes in questions from survey respondents. The completion time slows down for the rest of the week, but not enough to be worried about sending surveys on those days. Other factors that could influence survey completion times are the length and topic.

The level of engagement with your target audience influences the distribution date and survey completion rates


Engaged audience responses quicker and delivers higher response rates. Highly engaged respondents trumps nearly all survey deployment and completion date and time logic, , regardless of industry or when or how you send your surveys. However, to get to the level of managing a highly engaged audience requires short and long-term strategies to recruit maintain, and manage ongoing relationships.

The takeaway:  

  • Tuesday is the most popular time to send survey invitations
  • 10-11 am local time is the most popular time to send surveys
  • The last week of the month is the most popular time to send invitations
  • Tuesday has the quickest response time to surveys than any other day
  • Highly engaged audiences typically respond faster and quicker regardless of date or time survey invitations were sent

The MaCorr Team;

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7 ways to improve online reviews

Online reviews hold tremendous power. Case in point: last month, before dining at a restaurant that was recommended to me, I quickly looked up its rating on Google. The first couple of reviews mentioned “bland food” and “bug in my food.” Needless to say, I never walked in the restaurant (or trusted my friend’s restaurant recommendation again).

90% of consumers say online reviews have an impact on their purchase decision and 97% of consumers looked for reviews of local businesses in 2018. Online customer reviews have a profound impact on your business and it’s important to improve your online reputation to increase your share of wallet and create social proof.


In this post, we explore 7 ways to improve your online reviews and manage your reputation online.

  1. Educate your customers on leaving reviews

77% of consumers would be willing to write a review if asked, but with so many review sites, many don’t know where to leave them. Taking a minute to educate your customers on the value of leaving a review can be vital for your company.

For instance, you could have your account managers ask your customers to leave a review when they’re talking to them on the phone, or ask them to leave a review on their next invoice. You could also have a countertop display at your physical location explaining how to leave a review and which site to do it on, and make review cards to hand out to customers. Once your promoters understand how valuable their reviews are, they’ll want to leave one.

  1. Provide excellent customer service

Consumers today are looking for an excellent customer experience and it’s no coincidence that the companies who provide great customer service have better reviews. Customer experience must be at the center of everything you do and your customers should always feel appreciated.

According to American Express, consumers tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, so it’s important to provide great service or those people may leave a negative review. To improve customer service, offer multiple channels of customer support, optimize wait and response times, and proactively close the loop with your customers.

  1. Optimize listings on each platform

On each major review site you can claim your listing and create a business profile. This allows you to update the listing with current information and photos. Your description should be meaningful and invite consumers to check out your product or service. Optimized listings improve your online presence and search engine traffic.

  1. Respond to negative reviews

No company likes getting negative reviews, but it’s important to respond to negative reviews as not doing so tells your customers that you don’t care about their feedback. When responding, always let the customer know that you hear them and you’re willing to make it right. Offer to take the situation offline and empathize with the customer. This tells your current customers that you care about their experience with your company and gives potential customers confidence to do business with you. It’s important to respond to negative reviews on listings as well as social media.

  1. Constantly monitor your online presence

There are hundreds of review sites and your company could be on any of them. It’s critical that you look for reviews of your company everywhere, even if it’s not on the sites you usually use like Google Maps, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. This can be a time-consuming process, so using reputation management software can help you monitor your reviews across multiple sites and track trends in sentiment or topic over time so you can see how you’re doing.

  1. Ask for reviews through survey requests

At the end of a survey you’ve sent to your customers, ask if they’re willing to leave a review on the site of your choice. If they answer “yes,” provide them a link directly to the review platform of your choice. You’ll need a survey platform that utilizes survey logic to determine if the customer will leave a positive or negative review, so you can encourage only your promoters to share their experience publicly. If they’ve had a bad experience, you’ll still want to hear more about it — after all, that’s how you improve! — but make sure you provide them with a private channel to do so rather than on popular public sites.

  1. Offer an incentive

Although many customers will give a review without an incentive, offering an incentive can be helpful if your business is just new or you’re trying to get reviews quickly (it can be a red flag though if you get too many reviews too fast, so try to stagger them). Review sites frown upon companies paying customers for reviews, but offering discounts, coupons, or a small freebie is perfectly fine. Also, ensure customers know that getting the incentive is not conditional for leaving a positive review.

The MaCorr Team;

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Human Recall is Not Perfect: A Quantified View of Self-Reported vs. Behavioral Data

Marketers have long relied on consumers’ memories to measure and predict shopper behavior through online surveys. Yet, it is no secret that human recall is far from perfect. Think about your own shopping experiences. Can you remember all of the products you looked at or bought when you bought them, and what price you paid?human_recall

An independent market research firm put shopper recall to the test. The key objective was to help determine when we can best apply a standalone survey-driven methodology, and when it’s preferable to leverage observed behavioral data instead. When does recall really start to break down?

The Study

To achieve this, they asked consumers shopping-related questions via survey, while also tracking their digital activity using proprietary technology. They quantified the “recall gap”, defined as the difference between what consumers recalled and their corresponding behavioral data. This enabled them to begin to measure where the largest gaps exist and consider why.

The research methodology entailed surveying approximately 700 consumers. Research participants were asked about their past 30-day shopping for Electronics and Personal Care products on Amazon and

Panelists responded as they would to any traditional online survey. The consumers in the study were validated shoppers in specific categories of interest, eliminating the potential for inaccurate survey-based screening.

The Results

The findings validate that, in most cases, there is a divergence between what consumers recalled doing online and their corresponding behavioral data. However, the accuracy of consumers’ recall varies by the type of shopping behavior being measured. While recall of general online behaviors is better, recall significantly breaks down with specific behaviors.

Consumers accurately recalled shopping for Electronics on Amazon or in the past 30 days – respondents thought they shopped less than their behavioral data demonstrates by 4 percentage points – certainly nothing to be concerned about.

The difference between consumers’ recall and actual behavior for the Personal Care category is 12%. Yes, that’s a larger recall gap than Electronics, but relatively small compared to more specific categories.

For example, within Electronics subcategories, consumers thought they shopped significantly more than their behavior suggests. Respondents over reported their shopping behavior for all three subcategories included in the research, TV/Media Players, Cell Phones/Accessories and Computers/Accessories, by at least 22 percentage points. The same pattern is seen for the three subcategories measured for Personal Care (Hair Care, Skin Care, and Oral Care).

Consumers also had trouble accurately remembering if they shopped on Amazon or Walmart for Electronics and Personal Care products in the last 30 days. However, Amazon fared better than Walmart in this assessment for both categories in terms of respondents’ recall.

A recall gap exists when looking at actual purchase activity and comparing what price consumers paid for products using behavioral vs. survey data. The difference between the price recalled and the actual price was as high as 15 percentage points.

The MaCorr Team;

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The Ultimate Subject Line Guide. Part 4 – Words That Work.

Did you know 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line whereas  69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line. Emails with no subject all together have an open rate of 8% more than those with a subject line, whereas e-mails with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened.

Last time we discussed Subject Line Writing Tips. This time we look at Words That Work and Opt-in Messages.


When looking at subject lines that received an 80% or higher open rate (across all industries), we found that a significant/common element was the use of a single declarative word or instructional phrase, followed by a colon, and then followed by the rest of the sender’s subject line text.      words-that-work


People don’t like being yelled at — especially in a way that’s vague and impersonal. It’s easy to forget the fact you need subscribers to double opt-in for YOUR benefit, but what’s in it for them? Make subscribers want to STAY on your list even after sign-up; don’t threaten them.

In the worst examples, you’ll notice that not much separates the text used in successful opt-in subject lines as opposed to what’s being said in a low-performing one. The major difference is likely the contact’s high opinion of the brand and whether they want to stay an active customer or not. This is, consequently, why inbox providers and email service providers encourage clients to utilize the power of opt-in messages.  The commitment shown via the action of an opt-in often helps to satisfy many email privacy regulations, such as GDPR, CAN-SPAM, CASL, etc.





If you ask if it matters what day a message is sent (i.e., does a Tuesday increase the possibility for an open, or click, more than a Friday) — they’d say, “It just depends on your audience and industry.” Email marketers hate that answer because we’re all looking for that silver bullet to conversions.

After trudging through thousands of subject lines, we’ve concluded that the length of your subject lines, in terms of how many characters you use, doesn’t appear to lead to a significantly higher or lower open rate. Now with that said, certain ISPs, such as Gmail and Yahoo, may favor a certain character count, but truly engaged contacts do not. A good rule of thumb is to keep your subject line length to between 61-70 text characters.

A word about list size: It is progressively harder to get a higher open rate on a large list size. The more people you add to a list — all of whom are receiving the same subject line — the harder time you’ll have finding a subject line that wins EVERYONE over. Which is why, when you discover a really good subject line that does appeal to a wide range of subscribers, that’s worth its weight in lead gen gold. How homogenous is your list? If your subscribers are very diverse, you may need to seriously consider segmenting them into smaller lists.

So, what does make a difference to the list subscribers of particular industries? Here’s what we discovered…industry5 industry4 industry3 industry2 industry1

Next time we will discuss A/B Testing vs. When to Segment and Autoresponder Messages.

The MaCorr Team;

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The Ultimate Subject Line Guide. Part 3 – Subject Line Writing Tips.

Did you know 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line whereas  69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line. Emails with no subject all together have an open rate of 8% more than those with a subject line, whereas e-mails with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened.

Last time we discussed Specifics vs. Teasers, Workflow and Broadcast Messages. This time we will review Subject Line Writing Tips.


Everyone has seen dull “your order has shipped” messages. Use email to go beyond logistics and include your product name and some personality! Use what you know about the customer for your next confirmation message to catch their eye and reinforce your relationship.



What’s the first thing you think when you see a subject line with all caps? SPAM! AND SHOUTING! But our research says that savvy use of capitals can improve open rate if you use them to emphasize the customer. For example, notice the difference between “SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING WORKSHOP — YOU’RE INVITED!” and “Social Media Marketing Workshop — YOU’RE Invited!” One sounds like spam, the other emphasizes the invitation’s exclusivity. So evoke EXCITEMENT! “Shouting” in caps is okay when you’re CELEBRATING!



It’s not just Millennials who like to feel special! Everyone wants to be unique, not just be a number in a spreadsheet. Use this to your advantage when writing subject lines, such as offering them a treat on their birthday!



Similar to capital letters, using exclamation points can either make a terrific impact or land you in the junk folder. Between 2016 and 2017, we found that 46% of our most opened and clicked subject lines used one exclamation point. Warning: Using several exclamation points is likely to make you appear as spam by Inbox Service Providers.



Ellipses are a great way to make your customers anticipate what’s in your email. Something such as “You Won’t Believe What We Found…” captures people’s curiosity and makes them feel like they’re missing out if they don’t take a peek. If using all caps is considered “SHOUTING,” then the ellipse is a whisper and a wink. Those little dots convey an air of mystery… perhaps a secret deal only meant for your special group…



We all love money! Making it, saving it, giving it, investing it — putting a dollar sign in your subject line captures attention. Notice the difference between: “Check Out Our Latest Discounts on Furniture” and “Furniture Discounts – $200 Off Select Styles.” Choose a number that sounds bigger. For example, “$2 off” is pretty insignificant on its own, but if it’s out of $10, then why not use “20% off” instead?



Listen up event/vacation companies! We’ve seen subject lines such as “Trip Itinerary” or “Upcoming Event Details.” Why not spice it up some? If you’re delivering information about a customer’s cool event, make sure your subject line is as enthusiastic as they are and specifically states their destination! For example, “Your Upcoming Aruba Dream Vacation.” Also consider a solid call-to-action (CTA) to encourage website traffic, such as the one below that reminds the recipient to check out their Vegas line-up.



Everyone hates the fear of missing out on the latest trend or news. If you are an author or thought leader, you probably have insights that no one else has. Use that credibility to deliver advice to your audience that they couldn’t get anywhere else. Moreover, if you carry exclusive products or have a big brand name you’re allowed to drop, make sure customers know that.



If your shopping cart data is telling you that a customer has browsed your current sale selection but did not yet make a purchase — retarget them with a cart recovery message when you add new items. Mention the update in your subject line; this gives them a reason to take a second look. This tactic also gives you better insight on your buyer’s preferences and helps with segmentation strategy.


Next time we will discuss Holiday Promotions Subject Line Tips.

The MaCorr Team;

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The Ultimate Subject Line Guide. Part 2 – Specifics, Workflow and Broadcast Messages.

Did you know 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line whereas  69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line. Emails with no subject all together have an open rate of 8% more than those with a subject line, whereas e-mails with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened.

Last time we discussed Welcome Messages. This time we will review best and worst subject lines for Specifics vs. Teasers, Workflow and Broadcast Messages.


Do we need to spell it out? Yes. When faced with the choice between being clever or being direct with your subject line, always state your purpose clearly to increase your results, as these email marketers discovered with these top openers:


If the subscriber feels you’ve burned them before, the chances of them falling for another attempt to get their attention with an enticing subject line again is slim and you may find yourself in the Promotions or Junk folder next time!

WORKFLOW MESSAGES. Nurture leads the way YOU’D want to be nurtured.

Workflow messages anticipate the behavior of your leads and customers with pre-set email messages. If they do action A , this behavior will trigger messages B, C, and so forth, to move them through a sales funnel. Quite simply, you create emails now to work for the benefit of your business in the future.

The most successful workflow messages are often those already anticipated by the recipient, such as “thank you for downloading,” part two in a two-part video series, or some other confirmation email. Analysts also found workflow messages that drove subscribers to complete one overall event action — as long as the messages were related — had high open rates (e.g., “Have you signed up for the jobs fair yet?” and “How to get the most from the jobs fair.”)

When email marketers use demographic data and other informational tidbits they know about a subscriber — such as that they’re a mother or about to retire or perhaps he/she is an animal lover — to assign them to a specific segmented path via a nurture workflow, great open rates are practically assured. In fact, emails with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened.

In general, all unsuccessful subject lines have one thing in common — they all lack relevancy and specificity. At one time or another, every email marketer has been guilty for using at least one of these no-nos in their workflow messages.

Don’t simply rely on the sender name in the “from” field to inform your subscriber to what the message is about; the reason why subject lines can make or break your marketing ROI is that people scroll through them to decide which emails they want to open and in what order. Most people do not scan their inbox from left to right — their eyes stay focused in the center on the bolded, unread subject lines — so include your company’s name and any other details to ensure yours stands out.

After the initial opening of your message, a subscriber may hang on to your email in their inbox or archive to search for it later, and a clear subject line makes your message easier to index and find when they’re ready to use the coupon you sent.

workflow workflow1

BROADCAST MESSAGES. Say it don’t spray it.

Subject lines having to do with new jobs, schools, money, payments, awards, prizes, purchases, shipped packages — you don’t even have to try. For example, our analysts saw a sent message literally titled “eblast” or with terrible typos, but everyone opens them anyway if they’re about monetary-impacting topics. But perhaps don’t take human nature for granted and still provide information when possible.

If you’re accustomed to sending broadcast messages with no hyperlinks enclosed within the body text, you may want to rethink that. Much of what makes email marketing the most effective marketing channel is its ability to elicit two-way customer engagement, so go ahead and include call-to-action links that allow you to track your customer’s journey. Many lead generation professionals would warn email marketers not to include too many link choices; it’s best to stick with just one. Otherwise, your customer will not know what you want them to do!

For our worst examples, clearly the senders knew nothing specific about their intended recipients, as these vague email subject lines show. Random, impersonal questions or requests written for a broadcast message, such as a newsletter or promotion, do not yield high open rates.

best-broadcast worst-broadcast

Next time we will review Subject Line Writing Tips

The MaCorr Team;

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The Ultimate Subject Line Guide. Part 1 – Welcome Messages.

Did you know 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line whereas  69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line. Emails with no subject all together have an open rate of 8% more than those with a subject line, whereas e-mails with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened.


If  you’re like a lot of email marketers, figuring out the perfect subject line can feel like a daily guessing game. After drafting an email, pairing it with the perfect pre-header, and choosing images, it’s no wonder people often settle for using drab subject lines just to hit the “send” button.

So, while subject lines may seem inconsequential, they embody your message’s first impression on a subscriber (and on the ISP, or Inbox Service Provider, that’s actively scanning for engagement cues to determine if you’re spamming or not).

If that’s not a good enough reason to nail your subject line, consider this — your click-through rate is entirely dependent on people opening your email — therefore, to increase sales and donations, you need more people to open your messages.

There are tons of email message types to consider. In this guide, we’ll share tips for crafting subject lines for broadcast messages (e.g., newsletters, invitations, announcements), welcome messages, workflow messages, industry-specific messages, holiday-themed messages, opt-in messages and autoresponders.

WELCOME MESSAGES: Hello, it’s me. I was wondering…

Even the worst welcome email in terms of subject line performance is better (at 2.9%) than the worst workflow subject line, at a low 0.2% open rate. This is likely due to the immediacy of welcome messages. Most email marketing service providers (ESPs) trigger these in response to a new sign-up in less than an hour. For example, a new subscriber offers up their contact information to score a discount on a future purchase, and BAM — they get your welcome message in their inbox. A workflow message or an autoresponder might take up to 1 – 2 days to trigger depending on how your automation logic is set.

Best practice is to time message triggers to coincide with actions; subscribers will get annoyed if your sign-up form states you’re going to email them something of value (e.g., coupon, recipe, whitepaper, video) and nothing pops up in their inbox a few minutes after they submit. Consumers are already skeptical about offering brands their primary email address; it’s best not to appear to be breaking your very first promise to them with a delayed or irrelevant message. best-welcome-subject-line



The MaCorr Team

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10 Interesting Facts from the 2018 Best Countries Report

There are billions of data points behind the Best Countries rankings. Here are 10 interesting findings from a survey of more than 21,000 people from around the world that illustrate perceptions of the state of the world today.country_flags

1. The general outlook is pretty grim. Fifty-seven percent of global respondents said that the world has gotten worse in the past year. Only a third agree that the world is safe, and nearly 70 percent of people believe the global economy is in decline, despite governmental reports to the contrary.

2. Where government leaders fall short, however, innovative technology can help. More than 60 percent of those surveyed trust private companies more than the government to take care of their needs, and nearly three-quarters of global respondents said that the internet has made them act more like a global citizen. This sentiment is especially strong in the Middle East and Africa.

3. Switzerland is the No. 1 country for the second year in a row. The country balances the economic costs of capitalism and the value of human rights, scoring its best in both the Open for Business and Citizenship sub-rankings.

4. Addressing human rights issues is important in today’s world, where people expect national leaders to be both innovative and compassionate. Transparency and trustworthiness are 81 percent correlated to being “a leader,” and gender equality is about 75 percent linked to economic stability and happiness.

5. More than 90 percent of the world believes that women should be entitled to the same rights as men. However, more than 70 percent still believe that gender roles are important to a functioning society. Just 62 percent of those surveyed believe women have the same opportunities as men, and this dips below half in many countries.

6. The U.S. fell to No. 8 this year, but is considered the most powerful country for the third year in a row, edging out Russia by less than one point on a 100-point scale. The two superpowers continue to push farther away from competitors in this subranking, scoring nearly 10 points better than No. 3 China and 15 points better than No. 4 Germany and No. 5 U.K.

7. But global citizens don’t necessarily endorse this type of power. Fifty-eight percent of global citizens disapprove of U.S. President Donald Trump, the highest disapproval of the 12 prominent global leaders assessed. Forty-four percent disapprove of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Germany’s Angela Merkel and Canada’s Justin Trudeau receive the highest approval ratings.

8. The U.K. fell one spot to No. 4 this year, though opinions on the post-Brexit country vary among different groups. Business decision leaders favor the country, ranking it No. 2 overall, while those less than 35 years-old put the U.K. at No. 5.

9. The world is less open to immigration than it was last year. Just 54 percent of global respondents said they agree with the statement, “my country should be more open to immigration,” compared to 65 percent last year. Citizens in Sweden were most likely to “disagree strongly.”

10. However, global citizens do not agree that immigration is the most important issue today. More than a third identified terrorism as the No. 1 issue for leaders to solve, followed by income inequality (25 percent) and climate change (16 percent).

The MaCorr Team

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10 Simple and Effective Survey Tips

Creating a survey sounds easy: Just ask the question or questions you need answers to, find some willing warm bodies to take the survey, launch it and watch the insights roll in. But wait a minute! Let’s slow things down. There’s a lot of ways in which you can sabotage yourself if you’re not careful. Survey questions must be written and organized with care to assure you obtain accurate rather than misleading or incorrect data.helpful-tips1

Here are ten basic “dos” and “don’ts” principles and guidelines that can put you on the fast track to success.

  • Do Keep it short

We have repeatedly tested preference and performance, and consistently find that after about 8 minutes (≈20 questions) people’s attention and, therefore, the quality of the data diminishes. Even more concerning is that people drop the survey or start answering questions differently because they discover that giving a positive answer risks expanding the survey even further. For best results, be a ruthless self-editor. Ask only essential questions. Do Keep it short.

  • Do use simple language

Tortured, complicated language or industry-specific jargon almost always confuses and intimidates your audience. Why run that risk with a survey when it’s easy to avoid? Your aim should always be to use clear and precise language to communicate, period. To make sure your language is simple enough, test your questionnaire with someone—preferably an ordinary person with no stake in the game. Ask what they think you mean in your questions – you might be surprised to find they’re not as clear as you’d hoped. The inherent danger in possibly confusing your respondent is that you’ll still get answers, but you can’t really trust the data and you may not know that the respondent gave you false or incomplete data. Mark Twain famously said, “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.” He knew what he was talking about. Keep it simple. Do use simple language.

  • Do use simple math and numbers

Remember that kid in school who just couldn’t get percentages? Well, nothing’s changed —he still can’t, except now he’s participating in your survey! Many people find percentages and math confusing. Keep math uncomplicated and straightforward. Use simple number games to replace percentage allocation questions—and let the computer take care of making sure it adds up to 100! It’s also important to use simple proportions that everyone can understand and relate to: 1 in 10 is 10%, 1 in 5 is 20% etc. etc.

  • Do keep it neutral

How hard is it to keep your personal opinions out of the survey process? It’s extremely hard. Still, you must do so, no matter how strongly you feel about the subject. It can be all too easy to lead the participant towards your ideal answer. After all, a respondent is trying to please you and give you what he or she thinks you want. Don’t sabotage your research by letting them know what that is! Add to this challenging situation the human biases we all share. People tend to want to agree, so you must be vigilant and aware that respondents are more likely to answer Yes/No questions with a “Yes”. On top of all this, the desire to look good, even if just to ourselves, can actually influence responses. This very human desire for acceptance can create a situation where we might not be 100% honest about our views. We say what is acceptable – that’s social desirability bias. Make sure you make it explicitly clear that giving any of the answer options provided is acceptable.

  • Do add instructions

Don’t make assumptions about what your respondent understands. Just because you already know how you want your questions answered, or you think understanding should be clear or obvious based on the way you worded the questions or answer options, that may not be the case. If you’re allowing multiple answers, say so. If only one answer should be given then say that too—but remember to clearly state on what basis the single choice should be made if more than one answer is possible. Make it standard practice to add appropriate instructions. Clear instructions yield better data.

  • Don’t ask “double barreled” questions

When your question contains two (or worse, more than two) items, it can quickly become impossible to know how best to answer. Here are a few problematic questions to illustrate this concept. Should cars be faster and safer? Was the service quick and friendly? How satisfied are you with your pay and job conditions? Each of these questions could legitimately have multiple answers. That’s simply unacceptable. Every question you write must be clear and specific—and about only one thing. Check your questions and answers for the words “and” and “or”. If they do, it’s a tipoff that you may have a problem—you’ll need to re-word where necessary.

  • Don’t ask for shades of grey when the answer is black and white

A lot of experiences in daily life can be described in straightforward black and white terms. Was the train on time? Do you like this dress? Did you get the hotel room you booked? If you want to ask a more nuanced question you’ll need to find the right words. How late was the train? How much do you like this dress? How well did the hotel room you booked match your expectations? Make the statements extreme. Would you agree or disagree that… the train was extremely late?… the dress suits me perfectly? …the hotel room met your expectations precisely? Read your own questions and don’t look at the written answers – what answer comes into your mind?

  • Don’t expect everyone to know everything

For every question you ask, expect that there will be someone who comes back with an answer you haven’t already thought about, someone who can’t remember their answer or someone who has no answer because the question doesn’t really apply to them. You should prepare for each of these possibilities, otherwise the participant might feel forced to tell a little lie or, even worse, to drop out. It’s a simple check: make sure every question has—where appropriate—the options for ‘other’, ‘don’t know’, ‘can’t remember’, ‘none of the above’ or ‘not applicable’. One easy exercise to tighten things up might be to try running through your questionnaire as if you cannot answer the questions—and see how far you get.

  • Don’t forget to be nice!

Survey respondents give up their valuable time to provide you with actionable insights. They don’t get paid very much and it can sometimes be a bit of a slog. To that end, a proper “thank you” goes a really long way, especially if you must cut some people loose and screen them out of the survey. Remember, it’s not their fault they don’t qualify! It’s also good form to be a bit of a cheerleader: use motivational language that emphasizes the value of their input, their competence in providing it, that they’re teammates in the overall process, that you understand they’re participating on a volunteer basis and you respect their time. You can’t go wrong in throwing a little flattery their way. People appreciate being recognized for their work. It’s a win-win—both for your data and for the participant, who will feel he or she is making a useful and appreciated contribution to the research at hand.

In summary

If time allows, and especially if you are collecting data from a large sample, run a quick “test survey.” This will allow you to collect and collate a bit of live data and correct any errors or confusion on the part of respondents.

Ask for feedback from those taking the survey—and act on it. The vast majority of survey participants tries their best to do a good job answering questions and can be extremely helpful.

Using these basic tips while keeping your research goals top of mind and remaining cognizant of how you’ll ultimately use the data will increase your chances of getting reliable, relevant data to answer your business questions.



The MaCorr Team

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Why Response Rate is Crucial to Customer Surveys – and How to Keep it High

15 years ago, when we conducted our first online survey, the biggest question facing the research community was: ‘Will online surveys work?’


Fast forward to 2017, online research has certainly proven its worth to many clients through quality of research and ability of brands to conduct fast and flexible surveys that doesn’t break the bank. But at MaCorr Research our ethos is to test more and faster in order to employ the best and most agile methods.

As Response Rates to customers surveys are at record low, we, at MaCorr, constantly challenge ourselves to optimize our online research to improve Response Rate, as one of the best quality indicator of an online survey.

 Why should we care about Response Rate?

We live in an era of enabling. Creating and hosting a survey has become easier than ever before thanks to new technology platforms and tools. Yet, access to tools doesn’t necessarily translate to good results. A beautifully designed survey is not enough to get good data; you also need a good response rate.

 A good response rate provides four major benefits:

  • Higher data quality and accuracy: The easier it is to respond to a survey, the greater the chance respondents will answer truthfully. Badly designed surveys will see people dropping out or clicking through senselessly.
  • More representative sample: Having fewer people drop out mid-survey means your results will deviate less from your targeting goals.
  • Reduce the need for high incentives: If your survey is short, relevant and engaging, doing the survey will, in itself, feel like a rewarding experience. That means you will receive good survey data while avoiding offering the kinds of incentives that can induce cheating.
  • Customer engagement: The last survey experience leaves a strong lasting impression on a respondent, so it’s important to ensure respondents aren’t frightened away by a long and boring survey. This is the first step to a good customer development process.

At MaCorr, we play the dual role of both the user and the manager of our online community. On one hand, we want to extract as much information for our clients as possible and on the other; we are also take the responsibility of taking care of our rapidly growing online community very seriously. That’s why we not only make every effort to keep our surveys short, relevant and engaging, but we also come up with a model to predict how well our surveys will perform.

The Result

In order to understand what happened to survey response rates as survey length increases, we analyzed responses and drop-offs in aggregate across all of the recent surveys we scripted and hosted. We defined response rate as the likelihood that a survey starter completes the survey.

We looked into survey attributes such as sampling patterns, intro page configurations, different question types compositions, skip logic complexity, the use of media (images and videos), and the survey topics.

The most important finding was that survey length has a major impact on response rate. As expected, the longer the survey, the less likely respondents finish it. A simple bivariate analysis between survey length in minutes and completion rate can show a lot.


Survey length accounts for more than a 54% of the variability in the likelihood of a respondent completing our surveys. Suppose we have a 1-minute long survey, only 85 out of 100 respondents will complete it. And for every extra minute added to the survey length, we lose an extra 3 respondents. A 20-minute survey will likely see only 30-40 people finishing it.

The MaCorr Team

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