Having trouble keeping survey-takers engaged during re-contact studies? Here are 4 tips from Op4G on how to maintain quality responses and engaged panelists throughout the process.
On occasion, researchers must contact survey respondents more than once. Such “re-contact” surveys may be necessary to validate the respondents’ answers (especially if they seem off), to address missed questions, or to follow-up on answers provided the first time around.
For example, researchers may want respondents to elaborate on particular answers (e.g. “You gave us a 3/10 on customer service, why?”). Alternatively, they may ask if the respondents’ views have changed in light of new developments.
If your organization anticipates a re-contact survey, following a few simple rules can help ensure that you will get the quality answers you need:
- Secure respondent consent for re-contact studies: Op4G recommends that you obtain respondent consent during the recruitment stage, before the initial survey. (Some organizations, like the British Healthcare Business Intelligence Association, actually mandate such early consent[i]). If the participant is a minor, you may also require parental consent. In the process, be specific and clear about the purpose, terms, and compensation for the re-contact survey.
- Confirm re-contact information: You can’t ask respondents follow-up questions if you can’t reach them! So double-check the respondents’ contact information and, ideally, obtain a back-up means of contact (e.g. an email address and a phone number). Moreover, verify that the contact information will be valid at the time of follow-up…and that the respondent will be available!
- Craft your initial survey accordingly: Recently, Op4G posted a blog on asking sensitive questions. We suggested avoiding such questions at the end of the survey, as respondents left with a negative feeling may be less willing to participate in follow-up surveys. Instead, you may want to conclude surveys by giving respondents directions or questions to consider going forward (for instance, “keep track of your food purchases and what influenced them”). Planting this seed in respondents' minds will make follow-up surveys easier and more accurate.
- Make it easy on the respondent: In addition to providing compensation, try to keep the re-contact survey relatively short. Bear in mind that the respondent has already completed a full survey for your organization. Also, spare the respondents any technical jargon. Rather, keep the survey more conversational, using “casual vernacular”[ii] to provide a “human touch”[iii]. This approach will “provide invaluable business insights and deeper customer relationships”[iv].
In sum, surveying a respondent a second (or third) time is sometimes required to gather additional – or improved – data. Though it requires extra effort, following the rules above can greatly simplify the whole experience! To learn more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org