How to Make Sure a Few Bad Experiences Do Not Ruin Response Rates
Hidden charges, nickel and diming, small print disclaimers…we all hate these! So why are so many companies still doing them? Hidden charges are so common that some companies actually have to point out that they are transparent with their fees – Southwest’s no-bag-fee, for example.
Thinking about this further, I can recount three different instances over the past few days where I had paid more than I expected to pay or saved less than was advertised. While I vow to be more careful going forward, it does shine a light on why trust in a product, service, or company is so hard to earn.
Taking this a step further, imagine the challenge market researchers face in the eyes of consumers? Abuse of a consumer’s trust can, and has, bled over into their willingness to participate in survey research. When survey participants have a bad experience, do not qualify for surveys, or incentives are not handled correctly, they stop taking surveys. They may even tell their friends that participating in research isn’t worth the hassle. While some may think that there are still plenty of people willing to take surveys, the truth is that finding quality respondents will get tougher over time.
What can be done to improve respondent trust? This issue is always a hot topic in the market research industry and heavily debated. While there is a long road ahead to accomplish this as an industry, as individual researchers, we can do more to address transparency with respondents.
Here are a few best practices used to be more transparent, responsible researchers:
- – Limit Screener Questions – When respondents complete long lists of screener questions only to be told they do not qualify, they feel tricked. Screener questions should be limited to essential information.
- – Be Clear About How and When Incentives Will Be Distributed – Respondents should be given specific information about their incentive. How long will it take to receive the incentive? What type of payment will they receive? If a sweepstakes is being used as the incentive, what are the rules?
- – Be Honest About The Survey Length – This is a biggie. Providing the respondent with a range of how long the survey takes to complete is a good way to cover all bases.
- – Share Contact Information – CAN-SPAM Compliance requires this, but it is still surprising how often this “best practice” is missed. Giving the respondent someone to contact about their experience goes a long way in gaining their trust.
- – Adhere to a Code of Ethics – Being associated with industry organizations (like CASRO) and adhering to a Code of Ethics sends a message to respondents, “This Company is willing to make an investment in their industry organizations. They value their reputation and professional practices.”
Few people would ever say they like a purchasing experience with hidden fees, nickel and diming, and small print disclaimers. It is easy to see the abuse there. Why is it so hard, as researchers, to keep from doing the same to survey respondents?
Chanttel Allen, Managing Director