What if your survey received respondent feedback that it was “jaw-dropping”, “fun and interesting” and that the respondent wants to “participate in more?” It’s entirely possible. These are direct quotes from participants in surveys from some clients who won our annual P2Sample “Respondent Experience Awards.” These awards are driven by direct respondent feedback where survey experiences are rated for things like ease of use, overall enjoyment and design.

This underlines the fact that researchers do indeed have a commitment to respondent experience and a focus on survey design is a great place to start. While the industry has long been bemoaning the fact that respondent experience is deplorable, there are in fact very real avenues toward improvement  (beyond questionnaires) that researchers are exploring. Just a few of these include:

  • Measuring experiences in real-time both before and after the survey. This can include conducting a pilot before the live fieldwork takes place, as suggested in this article on Quirk’s. The idea is that the feedback can be used to improve the survey before launching the full study, and immediately after the questionnaire to calculate an overall metric as it relates to respondent experience.

  • Fitting in with today’s lifestyles by using approaches like text chats or conversational surveys, video responses, and social-based forums. Email is not the best answer anymore. In fact, “respondents are getting so many emails and are ignoring survey invites as a result.” Chats can prove to be more enjoyable, easier to complete and data shows the demographics of this approach are solid as indicated in the link above.

  • Applying technologies like machine learning, automation, VR, AR and IoT to adapt to changing digital habits and attention spans. For example, using AI and sentiment analysis, some companies have been able to take a conversational approach to surveys that replicate more natural conversations with respondents. Machine learning can be used to uncover the best times to target respondents when they are most likely to respond to questionnaires.

There has been a concerted effort on many fronts to create guidelines and standards for improving respondent experience. The GRBN’s Engage Handbook is one example, where the organization worked with many partners to develop practical advice to help researchers create great user user experiences. Nearly every industry association, from the Insights Association to ESOMAR, have published standards documents which cover some level of respondent experience.

We love when our clients get feedback from respondents that their survey experiences were “awesome.” Their approach to surveys meant low drop out rates from respondents, due in part to short survey lengths and short amounts of time to disqualification. Their consistent satisfaction rankings with our respondents show that researchers are taking experiences and engagement seriously, and are taking the right steps to get better quality data.