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11 Proven Ways To Improve Survey Response Rate

Want to generate more survey responses from your audience? Here's how you can create surveys that promise higher response rate. 

You know that Customer Surveys are necessary for your business in order to collect Customer feedback. You invest time and effort in creating visually appealing surveys, carefully selecting questions, and deciding on the best channels to reach your customers. But what happens when you don't receive a good survey response rate?

It can be disheartening to see your hard work go unnoticed. But fear not. If you feel that your survey response rate is not up to the mark, we're sure that this write-up will help you increase the response in no time.  

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We want you to get the most out of your Customer Feedback Surveys by maximizing the number of responses you receive. And we're here to help you do just that. Before we dive into the tips for increasing your survey response rate, we'll understand why it's vital for businesses to achieve a good response rate is so important.

Table of Content

What is a Survey Response Rate?

In very simple terms, a survey response rate is the total number of people who have actually responded to your survey compared to the total number of people who received the survey. It could range anywhere between 0% and 100%.  

To calculate the survey response rate, you can divide the number of respondents by the number of people surveyed and multiply it by 100. 

For instance, you have surveyed 150 people. Out of this, only 30 responded. So, your survey response rate would be:

Number of Responses ÷ Total number of people surveyed x 100

30 ÷ 150 x 100 = 20%

And this falls under a good survey response rate. Any survey response rate that falls between 5% and 30% is considered to be good. 

Why is Survey Response Rate so important?

Your survey response rate is the report card of your survey’s performance. Bain Insights reported, “Higher response rates lead to more accurate survey scores. Anything less than a 40% response rate for business-to-consumer (B2C) and 60% for B2B enterprises is a red flag”. Now, did that raise your eyebrows?

We understand that these statistics for customer surveys reveal some numbers which are very hard to achieve. But trust us, by the end of this post, you will be some steps closer to achieving this far-fetched goal.

Basically, a survey is useless without a response.

A low response rate on the surveys results in misleading conclusions or maybe no conclusions at all!

If your customers are not responding to your surveys, there could be various reasons behind it. Some customers may be so dissatisfied that they refuse to engage with you or listen to any explanations, as they have no intention of returning to your brand. On the other hand, customers who are happy with your product do not feel the need to express any concerns, as it is a well-known fact that unhappy customers tend to be more vocal than satisfied ones.

Not just that, there are several other reasons why you should be looking carefully at your survey response rate. Some of these are:

  • Measure of Participation: With the help of the response rate, you'll be able to assess customer engagement and the level of interest they have. 
  • Data Quality, Accuracy, and Representativeness: You need a good response rate to ensure that the data is accurate and more representative. 
  • Comparison and Benchmarking: Response rates allow you to compare the success of different survey campaigns or research efforts. You can use response rates as a benchmark to assess the effectiveness of your data collection methods over time or when comparing with similar studies.
  • Resource Allocation: With a good survey response rate, you can make better decisions on the level of effort that you would need to put in for future survey projects.
  • Reporting and Accountability: In many cases, reporting agencies or stakeholders may require you to disclose the response rate as part of your survey results. A transparent response rate shows that you conducted the survey responsibly and provides context for interpreting the findings.
  • Better Customer Engagement: In customer feedback surveys, a good response rate shows that customers are engaged and willing to share their opinions. This engagement is valuable for building stronger customer relationships and improving products or services.
  • Research Validity: Response rates are an essential aspect of research validity. They help demonstrate that the results are based on a sufficiently representative sample, increasing the credibility and trustworthiness of your research.

11 Ways to Improve Survey Response Rate

We bring you 11 simple tips that will help you to improve your current survey response rates, guaranteed! Let's explore how these simple tips can significantly boost the response rate of your surveys, leading to valuable insights and enhanced customer engagement.

By implementing these tips, you can optimize your survey response rates and unlock the full potential of customer feedback. Remember, a higher response rate leads to more accurate data, better decision-making, and improved customer experiences.

1. Know Your Audience

When it comes to getting the most out of your Customer Feedback Surveys, it's crucial to identify your target audience clearly and design the survey questions with them in mind. Understanding the demographics of your respondents, such as age and gender, can help you create exclusive survey forms that resonate with them. Additionally, consider the timing of your surveys based on your audience. For example, if you're sending employee surveys, it's best to send them during weekdays and office hours when employees are most likely to be available and engaged.

By tailoring your surveys to your target audience, you can increase the chances of receiving meaningful responses and valuable insights. This approach shows that you value your audience's perspective and are committed to understanding their needs and preferences.

2. Create Surveys that appeal in the First Go

The survey design is the first thing that your respondent notices. A well-put-up survey with enthralling color schemes, an attractive background, and apt pictures does the work of a silent ambassador for your brand. If the respondent finds the visual appeal of your surveys impressive, he/she will surely opt-in to leave feedback for your survey.


You can use survey software that offers complete customization capabilities along with white-labeled surveys. 

3. Define the Purpose of the Survey in the Beginning

Maintaining transparency with your respondents is crucial to ensure the success of your survey. By clearly stating the purpose of your survey right at the beginning, you create an environment of honesty and clarity, encouraging respondents to provide meaningful and valuable feedback. When respondents understand the purpose of the survey, they are more likely to engage with the questions and provide accurate responses.

It is important to think carefully about the purpose of your survey before conducting it. Having a clear objective in mind will help you design relevant and effective survey questions that will provide you with actionable insights. Without a well-defined purpose, you risk receiving feedback that does not contribute to your goals or provide any useful information.

By communicating the purpose of your survey to respondents and ensuring that it aligns with their expectations, you can create a positive survey experience that encourages participation and generates valuable data. Transparency and clear communication are key to building trust with your respondents and, ultimately, improving your survey response rate.

4. Create a Survey from the point of view of your Customers

When conducting a survey, it's important to consider the tone that your respondents want to hear. By addressing them in a tone that resonates with them, you can create a more engaging and personalized survey experience. Whether it's a friendly and casual tone or a professional and formal tone, tailoring your language to match your audience's preferences can make a significant difference in their willingness to participate.

Additionally, respecting the respondent's time is crucial. People are often busy and may not have the patience or availability to answer a lengthy survey. To improve response rates, it's best to keep the survey concise and to the point. Try to limit the number of questions to no more than 10 in microsurveys, ensuring that each question is clear and easy to understand. By keeping the survey short and simple, you demonstrate that you value the respondent's time and are considerate of their busy schedules.

Remember, the goal is to create a positive survey experience that encourages participation. By using the right tone and respecting the respondent's time, you can maximize the chances of receiving meaningful responses and valuable insights.

5. Keep it Short and Simple

Always try to keep your surveys as short as you can and make them simple to understand and answer. Shorter your surveys, the lesser the chances of survey opt-out. Also, keep your surveys simple, avoids using jargon and don’t overload your surveys with unnecessary dichotomous type of questions.

You should also avoid adding any type of leading questions. These tend to confuse people and put words in their mouths. This discourages many respondents when they are unable to share real feedback. 

6. Personalize your Surveys

Personalization is a powerful tool when it comes to creating effective surveys. By adding a personal tone and utilizing survey skip and hide logic, you can tailor the survey experience to each respondent. For instance, if a respondent answers a yes or no question, their initial choice will determine which screen they are directed to next. This not only makes the survey more relevant and flowing but it also adds a personalized touch that can greatly enhance the respondent's engagement and satisfaction.

Imagine receiving a survey that feels like it was created just for you. The questions are specifically designed to address your unique needs and preferences, and the survey seamlessly guides you through the process based on your initial responses. This level of personalization not only captures the respondent's attention but also shows that their feedback is valued and important.

By utilizing survey skip logic and hide logic, you can create a dynamic and interactive survey that adapts to each respondent's individual circumstances. This not only improves the overall survey experience but also increases the likelihood of receiving accurate and meaningful responses.

7. Send Anonymous Surveys

Many people are not comfortable sharing their personal information. Anonymous Surveys are best for this purpose. In Anonymous Surveys, you don't ask for customers' details like name, phone number, or address. This keeps the customers' information confidential, and they can comfortably share feedback and respond to the surveys.

8. Add Logic to Your Surveys

Using skip and hide logic while creating surveys in Customer Survey Software helps in creating relevant and well-tailored surveys for each respondent. Logic gives the power to collect responses from respondents with different and even opposite experiences, choices, and points of view.

Closing the Product Feedback Loop- respond to negative feedback

9. Limit the Number of Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are a valuable tool for gaining in-depth insights and understanding the nuances of customer opinions. However, it is important to strike a balance and not overwhelm respondents with too many open-ended questions. These types of questions require more time and effort to answer, as they often require thoughtful reflection and detailed responses.

On the other hand, closed-ended questions offer respondents a set of predetermined options to choose from, making it easier to analyze and quantify the survey results. They provide a quick and straightforward way for respondents to provide their opinions without having to come up with their own answers. This makes it easier to collect and analyze data, especially when dealing with large sample sizes.

By limiting the number of open-ended questions and incorporating a mix of closed-ended questions, you can strike a balance between gaining valuable qualitative insights and ensuring efficient data analysis. This approach allows you to capture the richness of customer feedback while still facilitating streamlined analysis and interpretation of the survey results.

10.  Show Progress Bar

Be considerate of your respondents’ time. Let them know how long the survey will take to complete by showing a progress bar at the top or end. Respondents always want to know how much longer the survey will take.

Showing a progress bar not only helps manage respondents' expectations but also adds a sense of transparency and professionalism to your survey. When participants can see how far along they are in the survey, it helps them gauge the time commitment required and allows them to plan accordingly. This can be especially important for surveys that are longer or more complex in nature.

11. Insert Your Surveys

Insert your brand logo and color theme, and brand your surveys completely. Respondents would always want to see that the survey is coming from a reputable brand.

In this way, you can boost the response rate on your surveys by following these Best Practices to Create Effective Online Surveys

Factors Affecting Survey Response Rate

When it comes to the survey response rate, there are various factors that you need to keep in mind in order to increase the chances of increasing the responses.

Here are some of the key factors that you should keep in mind: 

  • Survey Length: The longer a survey, the more it might deter respondents from filling it. Keeping surveys concise and focused increases the likelihood of higher response rates.
  • Question type, clarity, and wording: Using clear and concise survey questions based on relevancy would increase the response rate. Whereas asking for longer comments where only choosing from options could've worked might also frustrate the users.
  • Timing and Frequency: You need to time the surveys right. Sending your surveys on weekends, holidays, or busy periods may result in lower participation. Moreover, sending our surveys with excessive frequency can lead to survey fatigue.
  • Survey Distribution Channels: The survey collection channels that you choose also affect response rates. For example, surveys sent via email or social media may have different response rates compared to paper-based surveys or phone calls.
  • Data Confidentiality and Anonymity: For a large majority of people, answering surveys that ensure confidentiality and anonymity of their responses adds a level of comfort and security, thereby increasing the chances of getting responses.
  • Follow-Up and Reminders: Sending follow-up emails or reminders to non-respondents can encourage participation and improve response rates.
  • Survey Design and Layout: The visual appeal and user-friendliness of the survey can influence respondents' willingness to complete it. An intuitive and well-designed survey layout can enhance the overall experience.


You can follow the above-mentioned methods and keep the factors in mind to increase your chances of getting higher response rate. 

By implementing these best practices and considering the factors that affect response rates, you can create effective online surveys that generate meaningful and valuable insights. The goal is to create a positive survey experience that values respondents' time and feedback, ultimately leading to higher response rates and more accurate data.

You can always switch to a trusted survey and feedback management tool to ensure a higher response rate. Zonka Feedback, for example, lets you create intuitive surveys based on different use cases to elicit a higher response rate. 

You can create user-friendly surveys with ready-to-use survey templates and questions to get started quickly. You can also try Zonka Feedback for free for 14 days to explore all the features and functionalities that it promises. 

Nikhil Dawer

Written by Nikhil Dawer

Jul 20, 2023

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