How to improve survey response rate ?

Last updated: 03 SEP 2023

Learn what is response rate, how to calculate it and how to improve it.

What is response rate, why it is important, and how it work?

Response rate (also known as completion rate, return rate, or RR) tells us how many people have completed surveys comparing to the total number of people in the sample. The bigger the response rate the better.

Response rate  = number of completed surveys / number of people in the sample

How response rate works?

Let’s assume you have sent a survey to 100 people and 40 people answered and filled out survey. It means that response rate for your survey will be 40 / 100 = 0,4 x 100 = 40%

How to improve response rate?

There are several ways to improve response rate - it means to improve the number of collected responses on your survey in a sample. Below you will find a few simple and proven methods :

  1. Ask your respondents in advance if they would like to participate in a survey or inform them about your project. You can send them email, sms or you can call them.
  2. Create survey introduction, with information like :
    - survey objective
    - explain why is it important to participate in a survey
    - information that survey is completely anonymous, and information how collected data will be used
  3. Provide enough time to complete survey.
  4. Resend survey during research, but only to people who haven’t opened your survey. You can send more than one reminder. Remember to wait 2 - 3 days before you send new reminder, so your respondent won't treat your email as a SPAM.
  5. Offer a small present in return for survey completion, it can be also a possibility to donate small amount on a charity organization. You can also share your research results with your respondents.
  6. Say "thank you" for participation in a survey.

author: Jakub Wierusz

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