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How to Increase Responses

Imagine the following scenario: You’ve contacted Yorizon to conduct an IT Happiness survey. You’ve created an amazing survey together tailored to your organisation’s needs and spent the necessary time getting it translated to various languages. You finally convinced IT to get you a user list of all employees, and Yorizon has drawn a sample to invite for the survey. 500 invites have been sent out, and you eagerly open the Yorizon Dashboard to see the first responses, only to see that only 18 people have taken the survey; a response rate of 3.6%.

A nightmare for any project manager. Though you might be tempted to send out reminder after reminder to increase the response rate, our experience shows us that after the 3rd email the increase in response is almost none, and the end users will not be happy being spammed with invites. However, we have multiple tried and tested ways of increasing the response rate, from making sure emails arrive properly, to enticing the end user to open the survey link. In this document we will walk you through a few of these suggestions.

Having invites arrive at the right place at the right time

It might sound obvious, but by far the most important is that end users receive their invite mail at all. This is not as straightforward as it sounds, if we simply send out an invite to the userbase, there is a good chance that the email ends up in the spam folder.

Getting the basics right

Whether using one of Yorizon’s e-mail domains or whether Yorizon is authorized to send out using your own domain, it’s of absolute importance that the domain used and corresponding ip-addresses are whitelisted properly. An e-mail arriving is the bare minimum, but having it arrive in the middle of the night because the mails are being throttled, or Outlook saying the mail came from a “suspicious sender” will make the end user think twice about opening it.

Preventing throttling

Even if all the whitelisting is in place and everything looks fine, it’s still possible that the receiving mail server doesn’t let every email through at once. To check for mail throttling, we suggest doing what we call a “Bulk mail test”, where we send out 250 mails at once to your organisation and see how long it takes for all mails to arrive. Should any throttling still occur, consider marking the invite mails as a safe sender.

Don’t let Outlook create doubt

Even if everything arrives properly without any suspicious senders, some end users might grow suspicious just seeing the “External sender” banner on top of their email, which warns users not to open the survey link we really want them to open.

We recommend having the external tag removed for the mail domain used in the survey. Instructions on how to do so can be found here.

Keep them Focused

Another issue that may occur is that Outlook automatically sorts mail in two categories, Focused and Other. Mails that are sent to the Other mailbox do not give any notification to the end user, and are likely to never be seen and buried.

Though your organisation might be hesitant to turn off this feature entirely, it’s possible to disable it specifically for our survey invites. Instructions on how to do so can be found here.

Making an appealing invitation

Even when everything above might have been implemented, an end user still might make their own judgement about whether the mail can be trusted or not, or whether it’s even worth their time at all. The following tips can help with creating a better invite that users will want to click links from.

A recognisable email template

While you might be tempted to write out your invite email in plaintext, remember that a lot of phishing mails are also written in plaintext. To help you get started in moving away from plaintext mails, Yorizon has a default mail template available that has been used to obtain response rates from anywhere between 10% and 50%. Yorizon branding might not be the most recognisable to those who missed earlier communication of the survey however, so the ideal would be to send out survey emails in the same style as internal communication is already being sent out in. Yorizon can help creating a mail template that includes your logo and brand colours to really make the survey look affiliated with you.

From a person they know and trust

Having a well-known person from your organisation sign off on the mailtext and including some contact details (email and/or phone number) can ease people into knowing that this mail really comes from within the organisation, and if they still have doubts they can shoot a quick mail to said person to verify that this survey is not malicious. Depending on the user list you are able to provide, we could even make this variable so that each end user sees their own manager/IT person in the mail.

IT 幸福感调查?

If you don’t speak the language that your invite mail is written in, you’re less likely to click any links that the survey might contain. The more languages you have your survey available in, the more people will be able to participate and share their thoughts. On the chance that some employees are working in countries of which they do not speak the native language, we can even add more than one language in a single invite mail, with a disclaimer on the top mentioning “You can find the English text below”. Whichever language the invite link is clicked in, the survey opens in.

Engaging the end user

Ideally the end user would actively look forward to getting the link, eagerly awaiting the moment when they can finally share their thoughts with IT.  A lot of end users might decide on principle that they’re not going to join the survey, thinking that their feedback won’t be listened to anyway, and that it’s all a waste of time. Maybe some of these end users are a lost cause, but if you can convince them that this survey will be different, perhaps some will decide to give surveys one last chance.

Keep the end user up to date

Rather than obtaining a survey invite seemingly out of nowhere, it’s better if the end user knows when they can expect the survey to arrive. Knowing the date a survey invite will arrive will allow them to schedule some time in advance, they will know that the invite is safe and they will know what to expect. Though an announcement can be sent through email, end users can also be made aware through SharePoint, intranet or perhaps a message could be delivered to everyone through a Microsoft Teams message. Depending on your company’s size, you could even do a quick reminder in-person during a daily stand-up, or have local managers do as such.

Transparency is key

A question that is often asked is “how do you know whether I filled out the survey or not if the survey is anonymous?”. Don’t be afraid to explain the process of the survey with the end user, if they have any unanswered questions the end user is more likely to start doubting the survey and might not want to participate. Be open about what you intend to do with the survey results, how you will share results with the end user, and how Yorizon is involved in the process. Even for something as minor as an estimate on how long the survey will take, Yorizon can provide you with accurate data to be used in the invite.

Don’t forget to share the results

Once the survey is done be sure to share (some of) the results with the end users and let them know what steps will be taken next. Seeing that the results of the survey are actually being used and even might have some immediate effects will make people realise their voices are being heard, and might push those who abstained the first time to join in and give their opinion for the next survey.

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