How To Deal With Inadequate Responses

    When you send out a survey, you’re looking to get a set of data you can use to create relevant decisions within one aspect of your business. However, there are times when you shall get inadequate responses from your audience. This could be in two forms: too few responses, or answers that are not in keeping with the question.

    Apart from being very discouraging, this is also very costly. You’ll need to collect further opinions from a set of audience. This can delay projects, cost more money, and still not offer great results.

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    Why Do You Get Inadequate Responses?

    There are various reasons why you might get inadequate responses from a specific audience. The first is that you haven’t targeted the right audience. This a simple mistake where you’ve sometimes made a decision not to segment your audience into relevant groups. So, for instance, you’ve sent a feedback request survey about online deliveries, but included your whole mailing list, many of which have not bought from you previously.

    Then you have the other problem that you have received poor answers because the audience has misunderstood your question, for example, asking about delivery experiences hoping to get information about the quality of the packaging when delivered, and respondents refer to delivery times.

    Both of these issues are rather easy to solve. In fact, there is very little that you need to do in order to solve the problem, if you’re experiencing this. And it won’t cost you anything.

    Segmenting Your List

    The first thing you need to do, is make sure that you’re requesting feedback from the correct people. You have to decide who has the most relevance to your survey. You are better off sending multiple versions, with questions tailored to specific audiences than one that has multiple irrelevant questions in it.

    So, for instance, if you want people to comment on the quality of your online purchasing service, send requests to only those who have ordered online. If you’re looking at creating a new line of boys shoes, send requests to complete a survey to those who’ve bought boys shoes in the past.

    Segmenting your list into groups and sending content to specific groups helps to reduce abandonment, costs, and improves the quality of collected data.

    Rephrase Your Questions

    Another important aspect of your survey is formulating your questions. They should be clear, concise and specific to avoid confusion. So, for instance, if you want to know about the quality of the packaging customers are receiving but you ask the question:

    How was your delivery?

    Then this could mean many things. It could speak about the speed of the delivery, whether the courier was friendly, or if the cost for delivery was acceptable. Audiences could interpret this in many different ways and therefore, you’ll get random, inadequate answers that will disappoint you.

    Instead, you should be asking:

    In your last online order, were the products packaged safely and in a secure manner?

    Notice that the question is very specific: ‘safe and secure’. This is to prevent confusion on a different level. If the query asked whether the products had been ‘packaged nicely’ then this could confuse audiences because there are different standards to what is ‘nice’.

    When dealing with questions, it is best to use the acronym SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) to determine whether the question is suitable or not. If you stick to these points, you will have a great set of questions for your audience.

    Make Your Questions Consistently Smooth

    Another key aspect of your survey should be to always make sure your questions are smooth and have natural story line. Don’t jump from one aspect of your business to another. For instance, going from online ordering process, to quality of products, then to ease the payment online is not a natural order. Instead, it should be easier ordering online, the ease of paying online, and then the quality of the products.

    You should also write longer, more detailed questions that clearly set the topic and provide information describing exactly what you are looking to find. For instance, thinking about packaging again you could write:

    Think back to your last order you made online. When it arrived, did it arrive packed securely to prevent damage to your products?


    You want a good set of data from your surveys. That is why you need to formulate your questions so audiences don’t become confused. At the same time, you need to determine who the best people are to send your requests to. So, if you’re not getting adequate responses from your audience, then you need to look at how you are writing your questions and who you are sending your surveys to. Just a few quick changes can improve your response rate and the quality of data.

    More about surveys:
    Why You Don’t Fill Your Survey With Leading Questions, click here
    How Your Survey Can Help Trigger Profitable Revenue, click here
    How To Ask Survey Questions To Benefit As An Entrepreneur, click here
    Four Tips For Developing Meaningful Survey Questions, click here
    Entrepreneurial Best Practices For Using Surveys, click here