To create a thoughtful customer survey, you need to decide what to measure, the sending method, and your survey audience. 

Even after careful consideration during the survey creation process, you notice your survey response rate is lower than expected. What could be causing this? 

Enter – nonresponse bias. 

Let’s break down the definition of nonresponse bias and how you can give your survey response rate a boost with 6 easy-to-implement tips.  

What is nonresponse bias? 

Nonresponse bias is the tendency for a participant to not respond to your survey because they are unable or do not want to complete it. 

It’s important to understand that this is different from the term, response bias, which is defined as: 

“…the societal or survey constructs that can impact the quality of a participant’s survey answers.” 

The 7 types of sampling and response bias to avoid in customer surveys

Nonresponders may be less active with your company, less likely to recommend, or overall less loyal. When measuring customer loyalty and retention, using data with a large number of unanswered responses could lead to business decisions built on skewed data.

Therefore, finding techniques to reduce nonresponse bias off the bat can make a significant impact on long-term business growth. 

How to reduce nonresponse bias

There are many ways to increase survey response rates while maintaining high-quality feedback. We’ve pulled the top six ways to instantly optimize your feedback program and reduce nonresponse bias effects over time. 

1. Keep it short 

Simplicity is key.

If you include too many questions in your survey, your customer may not finish their responses or want to begin the survey in the first place. Consider making your survey 3 – 5 minutes long with 10 questions at most. 

2. Set expectations

Tell your customer what they should expect from your survey. 

Either in an email beforehand or on the intro message of the survey, clarify the goal of the survey and how long it will take to complete. If the questions are sensitive in nature, reassure your customer that the survey will be anonymous and honest answers will have no repercussions. 

3. Re-examine timing and distribution method

Take a step back and ask yourself – am I using the best survey distribution method for my audience? Am I sending the survey at the right time?

Try different survey distribution methods (Email, Web, Link, or SMS text) and test which channels are most effective and relevant for your customer base. Be mindful of when you send the customer survey and double-check if your survey frequency is optimal for your industry in our Best Practices for Sending Guide

4. Provide an incentive

Let your customer know how they will benefit from taking the survey. 

It can be as simple as telling your customer that their feedback will improve product functionality and in turn, solve their pain points. Or, you may consider offering a discount or prize-entry with their survey response. 

Check out how the Delighted + Friendbuy integration attracts referrals with rewards directly on your customized survey. 

5. Gently remind

A busy customer may put your survey on their to-do list, but forget to complete it after a few days. 

Giving your customer a gentle nudge in an email reminder will help put your survey back on the customer’s mind. Delighted’s Email platform will send a reminder to customers who have not opened their email survey exactly one week after the survey is delivered.

6. Close the loop

Customers don’t want to leave feedback if they feel that their voice won’t have an impact. 

Provide clear communication in a Thank You or follow-up message to let the customer know that their response will be individually addressed and systematically applied to better improve your product or service.

For more close-the-loop inspiration, take a look at our Taking Action page to learn how you can improve the customer experience with easy-to-use feedback tools. 

Ready to give your survey response rate a lift? Delighted has the resources you need to optimize your feedback and help reduce nonresponse bias for free. Sign up for a trial today and scale your CX program with ease through our suite of self-serve and automation tools.