Just 2 More Questions: The Importance of Asking For Respondent Feedback

Just 2 More Questions: The Importance of Asking For Respondent Feedback

Note: This post originally appeared on the GRBN Blog Published Sept. 4, 2017

If you’ve been paying attention you would have noticed the movement in the MR industry to return to a place of mutual respect with our respondents (and if you’re reading this post on the GRBN then most likely you have been). And, with that, you would have also heard the plethora of cries to shorten survey lengths. The reasons for this are widely documented, but if you need a refresher, google “survey length best practices” and you’ll find a wealth of information.

However, while we wholeheartedly agree with that recommendation, I would also like to suggest that you reserve room to add (and analyze) two additional questions at the end of your survey. The first asking the respondent to rate the survey experience, eg. On a scale of 1 – 5. The second being an open-ended one asking the respondent to share any feedback they’d like about the survey experience.

Respondent Feedback Form

These 2 questions can provide some pretty rich insights to either validate or improve your respondent survey experience. If we are to expect participants to continue giving up 10, 15, dare we ask for 20(!) minutes of their time, we would be remiss to not move towards making the experience as pleasant as possible.

Respondent Feedback Opinion

Consider the websites where you spend most of your time. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, shopping sites, some well written and beautifully laid out news or blog sites. Whatever it may be, you can be sure the experience is clean, visually appealing, simple to navigate and designed to help you keep moving through the site with minimal clicking or moving of the mouse.

Surveys should be the same.

I won’t touch here on mobile-first design, but know that this is also of the utmost importance. My thoughts on making your research device/source agnostic for best representivity can be found here: Good To Know Blog: State Of The Industry.

One big caveat here is that the respondent’s perception of the experience may be biased by the simple fact of whether they were able to achieve “complete” status or not. To mitigate this bias, ask for feedback from survey terminations as well. In addition, closely monitor your drop-out rate which is the best leading indicator you have as to whether the survey is resonating (and working) with respondents. A sample supplier worth their salt will also be monitoring both drop-out rates and respondent feedback and sharing that with you so that incremental improvements can be made.

Now I have just 2 questions for you:

  1. How would you rate this article? 🙂 or 🙁
  2. What could we do better the next time?

Please comment below with your answers.

Link to original post: Just 2 More Questions

Good To Know: Learn & Evolve or Perish

Good To Know: Learn & Evolve or Perish

In this instalment of our Good To Know series, we’re bringing you some great posts from around the #MRX web to help you learn or brush up on skills and new innovations in the market research industry. Just returning from IIeX NA 2017, one clear message came through – learn & evolve or perish. We’re here to help you grow and expand with these articles and events we feel are Good To Know.

Been a while since your last stats class (or shhh… never taken one)? Here’s a useful post outlining the basics of quant methodologies.

3 articles you may have missed on Tech/Automation in MR


Conference season is quieting down for summer – but don’t forget to register early for some of the upcoming fall shows:

  1. ESOMAR – Amsterdam: 10-13 September
  2. TMRE – Orlando: 22-25 October
  3. RR17 – Munich: 25-26 October

And incase you missed these conferences, here are some recaps

Samplecon 2017 Recap
Insights Show 2017 Recap

Now that you’re set to attend one of the fall conferences, here are Co-Founder Baillie Buchanan’s best tips to hack your conference experience to get the most out of being an attendee.

And while you’re at it – why not take some time to enhance your public speaking skills with a new app Orai.

Sample Company Call Out

Sample Company Call Out

I’m going on the record calling out sample companies (ourselves included – there’s always room for improvement) to do a better job of consulting with our clients on the topic of research participation. Given that there is far more demand for respondents than there are respondents to fill available survey opportunities, there’s a pretty low barrier of entry for sample companies to sling respondents. I know, we’ve all done it.

But, by doing so, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. Sample companies are getting a bad rap in the market research industry. End-clients don’t want to deal with us, they hire research agencies to shield them. During “The Great Sample Debate” at IIeX NA 2017 Tanya Feinstein of Dell, when asked whether she would appreciate a MR agency bringing their sample supplier into the room explained that no, in fact she would not want a sample supplier there “that’s what I hired the MR agency to deal with”.

Long have sample companies bemoaned the user experience of the survey. But aside from pointing fingers (at the end client who “won’t change” or the agency who “doesn’t solicit our council”) what are we doing to position ourselves not as sources of respondents but as experts in the field of connecting brands and researchers with the people they need to hear from?

I believe the change has to come from us. Let’s stop waiting to be invited to the table. Here’s what I believe we can do to prove our worth, instead of just talking about it:

  1. Collect respondent feedback: If you’re not already asking your respondents to rate their survey experience and share their thoughts, you need to start doing this NOW.
  2. Analyze internal statistics: are you looking at drop-rates by client? Are you pinpointing different survey design elements and comparing their performance? You don’t have to build anything fancy for this – use what you have and give it some critical thought. That thought can translate into real learning that you can feed back to your clients.
  3. Share respondent feedback: Then, take it a step further and find the story in that feedback and share it with your clients. Maybe your client is an MR agency and won’t pass it along to the end client, maybe they will. Maybe you think it’s too late, maybe they’ll remember and ask for your thoughts earlier in the survey creation process next time. Build a compelling case for what you’re asking for (mobile friendly, shorter, less grids, flashier look/feel, more engaging gamification or multi-media components, even as basic as adjusting the answer options to align with information you already know about your respondents so that they don’t have to answer their household income or marital status AGAIN!)
  4. Get involved with the organizations in our industry actively working to address respondent issues. Keep an eye on what the GRBN and Insights Association Online Sampling Forum are putting together.

Stop asking for a seat at the table, let’s forge our own seat by being a consultative partner to market research agencies and their clients. We can, and we must, drive real change in the respondent experience – or there won’t be respondents willing to participate in market research.

Hack Your Conference Attendee Experience

Hack Your Conference Attendee Experience

Whether it’s for the networking, promoting your organization or for the learning, there’s no shortage of market research conferences to attend, big or small. Some people love them, some people would much rather be back in the office. But either way, chances are good that at some point in your MR career you’ll be attending an industry conference. How can you make the most of it, without losing your mind? As an industry veteran with many conferences under my belt, here are my tips:

Take the time to do some pre-conference work. Don’t show up to registration without an idea of what’s on the agenda, who you want to see speak, and who you want to meet. Even conferences that don’t share their attendee list will often list the agenda, speakers and the companies planning to be there. Take some time in the week before the conference to plan your time and reach out to your contacts at attending companies to try to set some meetings. If it’s just 5 minutes during a networking break to say hi to someone face to face, building a connection in person adds so much value.

Take notes – in a notebook, with a pen. But only the notes that are directly actionable to you in the context of what you are working on right now, or in the next 3-6 months. Don’t summarize all the speaker’s key points, don’t take notes in broad strokes. Only write down action items you can follow-up on, or implement immediately upon returning to the office. And put away the laptop/phone. You’ll inevitably get sucked in to email or some notification and you’ll miss all the good stuff you’re there to absorb.

Recharge: Make sure you build at least 1 personal break into your day. Whether that’s 15 minutes before the day begins to savor a cup of coffee and review the agenda, or 20 minutes in the middle to put your feet up and enjoy some silence (maybe a quick meditation). Taking a few minutes for some self-care will set up the rest of your day for a more focused and attentive span of learning. Here are some more ways to recharge in 15 minutes or less. (not all possible in the context of a conference, but some good ideas nonetheless).

Ask “How can I help?” You’ll inevitably hear from a speaker or run into a new contact who is working on something that you find interesting. Whether or not it’s directly applicable to the work you do, consider asking “how can I help?” This simple question is so engaging and allows you to give some of your time, knowledge or a referral to someone else in the industry without expecting anything in return. Give freely and you will reap the rewards.

Make an appointment in your calendar to spend some time reviewing your notes and action items (see point 2 above) within 2-3 days of returning to the office. Yes, your inbox will be jammed, you’ll have a thousand Slack messages to catch up on, and the office plants need watering. Don’t let all those takeaways, aha moments and new connections die in some notebook at the bottom of your swag bag. Taking the time to make use of the information post conference and sending those follow up notes will pay dividends on the ROI of your investment (both time and money) in attending the conference.

What are your best hacks for making the most out of conference attendance? Let us know in the notes below, I’m always looking for ways to get the most out of these shows.

IIeX 2017 NA Recap

IIeX 2017 NA Recap

Automation and virtual reality are being heralded as the big take-aways from the recent IIeXNA2017 in Atlanta. They’ve been recapped very well several times:

But there was a parallel theme covered by multiple sessions which deserves equal attention – the plight of the survey participant aka. Respondent. In addition to being mentioned in passing during many of the sessions, the topic was highlighted as the main agenda item several times throughout the 2.5 days:

In addition, many of the findings discussed during the Panel: The GRIT Report & Future Impacts focused on sample companies, their value, etc.


My big takeaway from all this talk about sample (aka. respondents/participants/PEOPLE) is that it is up to us, the sample companies, to do better. We’re beyond the point of hoping that survey design will quickly become mobile friendly, and that every survey creator will also be a UX expert. We know that the end client’s cannot (and frankly should not) bear the burden of figuring out how to #RespectTheRespondent and we all know that turning away “bad” surveys won’t help – because there’s always someone else willing to do the work. The time is now for us, the sample companies, to get far better at consulting on respondent engagement, and using real experience to shape the path forward.


Organizations like the GRBN have data showing that bad survey or research experience is tainting the general population’s understanding of Market Research – according to one study they ran, up to 70% of survey takers have recently had a bad survey experience. They also are proving that poor research design does have a negative impact on the consumer’s impression of the brand conducting the research (often times whether or not the brand is explicitly apparent).

Instead of slinging sample for the cheapest price, let’s get back to valuing the PEOPLE who kindly give us their time, attention and opinions in a world with so much else they could be doing. Our competitors are not other sample companies, but the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, etc. all competing for people’s precious free time.

With the influx of cheaper and cheaper sources of sample, we’ve done 2 things to our own detriment. 1. We’ve started treating people as a commodity and 2. We’ve started treating research participants as bad until proven good, instead of good until suspected otherwise.

I know this message got through loud and clear when even the Qualitative Recaps touched on it. In IIeX 2017: A Qualitative Recap by Kathy Doyle of Doyle Research she says: “Clearly, as researchers and clients, we must question the need to ask so many questions. Do we really think the quality of the insights is going to be improved by surveying respondents who are impatient and fatigued?”

We all know what we want:

  • Shorter surveys
  • Mobile-first design
  • Only MVP questions
  • More inclusivity (think: disabilities, accommodating people on their terms, considering whether your screening parameters really have to be SO tight).
  • Sharing outcomes or interesting statistics back to the respondents
  • Saying Thank You!

The asks are not new, but what I feel we need to be doing better is proving why these are so important, and what their implications are on both the quality of the data received as well as the impression of the brand, product, service or industry which is the subject of the given study.

Let’s get consultative! I’m proud of the consultative approach our sales and bidding teams have embraced. You’ll be seeing more of this from us in the weeks and months to come.