Surveys: participants will give up if you ask them too much or if you ask questions they find intrusive

I, like most, am more likely to fill in a survey if there’s a prize at the end or if I really want to let a company know what I think, positive or negative.

I started to fill in a survey recently and was struck by the number of seemingly irrelevant questions being asked of me.

The survey was for a food delivery service, and questions included:

  1. What is the make and model of the car your family uses most often?
  2. How many homes do your family have?
  3. How often do you use the London Underground or Overground rail on weekdays?

Now, I’m sure the business could find a use for the answers. Still, as a respondent, I couldn’t easily see the relevance of “the make and model of my car” nor the benefit of telling a food delivery box company this information.

I was 80%+ through filling in the survey before I gave up.

According to SurveyGizmo, response rates can be as high as 85% when respondents are motivated, and the survey is well-executed. Still, they can also fall below 2% if the survey isn’t well executed or targeted.

It’s essential when designing a survey to think not only about what you as a business want to learn and, of course, prioritise your questions not to make your survey too long but also about the perception of your users as they fill it in.

If your survey is too long or invasive, people may start but never complete it.

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