What is a Response Rate?
A response rate is a term used to describe what proportion of survey invitations resulted in a completed survey. The response rate for a specific survey is simply calculated by dividing the number of completions by the number of invitations. Because analyzing survey results is ultimately a statistical effort, the higher the response rate the better. Low response rates can render survey results invalid and could cause organizations to focus on the wrong improvement areas.
There are two main types of customer surveys – relationship and transactional. A relationship survey is administered periodically to determine how customers feel about their relationship with an organization, while a transactional survey is conducted very soon after a transaction such as a purchase or a customer service interaction.
Response rates typically vary between the two types of surveys and whether the relationship is B2B or B2C. For example, according to NICE benchmarks, the average response rate for an emailed relationship survey is 32% for B2B and 13% for B2C. Average response rates for email transactional surveys are 23% for B2B and 16% for B2C.
Achieving high response rates is becoming difficult. More and more companies are surveying consumers, leading to survey fatigue. To maximize survey response rates, organizations should use best practices such as the following:
Send invitations for transactional surveys soon after the transaction – ideally within a day and no longer than a week after the event.
Invite customers to complete relationship surveys no more than twice a year.
Don’t send surveys during holidays or seasonal business peaks.
If conducting email surveys, use a very clean email list and don’t write invitations that read like spam.