Perspectives Episode 12 – What are your top 3 tips for ensuring respondent engagement?

What are your top 3 tips for ensuring respondent engagement?

Welcome to Episode 12 of Perspectives!

Excerpts from the vlog

“A few very basic things that we do is; number one, actually go through the questionnaire that you’re asking the respondent to take, empathise with that experience. Number two, inform the respondent as to what to expect, how long is the survey, how much time should they put aside, and also what device is the best device to take the survey on. The third thing, which is a little bit longer term, we are continuing to evaluate the value equation for respondent, so what additional points of value can we offer the respondents to continue to trust us, to continue to have good equity with our brand.” – @simavasa

Firstly, don’t think about respondents, think about real people. We always call them participants at Mesh as we believe it helps to treat them as people, with respect. Secondly, be personal with them and allow them to give their story in their way, whether that’s through diaries or whether that’s through video. We think that’s also important. And don’t ask those questions which mean they can’t answer without going forward. And finally, keep those questionnaires short and sweet. – @FionaMESH

Global research business network has put out a handbook with a hundred and one tips for respondent engagement; it’s a really valuable piece of work, it was work done by lots of different people across lots of different sectors in the industry. And it ranges in everything from survey design, to how we engage people, to where we find people, and how we communicate with them. Again global research business network put this together, and it’s an incredibly valuable piece of work, and I would encourage you to look at that and read it. @kerryhecht

So, three things for making research more participant-friendly. One, make your surveys mobile friendly. That really should be table stakes at this point. Still can’t figure out exactly why it’s not. And other things that are along those lines, when you’re writing a survey, write your questions like a human. There’s no reason to use research speak and to use thirty words to say something when you could say it in six. And lastly, related to that, you’ve got to test your surveys. That doesn’t mean going through a test link, that means go through your surveys. Ideally, test them with someone else who is not close to the survey, not you who has designed the survey, and get the experience of someone who is taking it. And if you can’t do that for some reason, read it aloud. You’ll catch a lot of things that way. Ultimately what we want to do is think about research as being a conversation. Making it a conversation, because that’s really what we should be doing for engaging with people. @RoddyKnowles

Respondents are the lifeblood of our industry, so I’m so glad that we’re talking about how to improve the respondent experience. Three things we think you should keep in mind, one, the user experience of the participant participating in the research, should be of a quality that is on par with their experience with the brand or the product. It doesn’t have to be the same experience, but they should be of a similar quality level. Two, we need as researchers to become device and invite-type agnostic, to allow sample companies and recruiters to engage respondents where the respondent is, instead of forcing the respondent to come to us. – @BaillieForGood

What I’d like to do this week is to focus on qualitative. And use an example of a program that I set up when I worked for a TV channel that really connected the consumer with the brand at a very personal level. And we had 3 main goals, or you can call them 3 main tips in mind. Firstly we wanted to create an experience where consumers were invited into the TV studios in London to take part in small focus group discussions. They went through the process of being made up and being fitted with microphones. And each group took place around the anchor’s desk. So right in the middle of the studio. And the whole session was filmed. And it gave delegates the experience really of being interviewed as a guest on the channel. Secondly, making a difference. I think this approach not only gave valuable insights back to the business from a programming point of view and also from a commercial point of view, but also it just created a different experience for the consumer from a research point of view. And finally, I think it’s important to give something back. And at the end of each of these sessions, each delegate had a one to one interview with one of our anchors. And again, these interviews were filmed. And the respondents were given a copy of the interview to take home and share with their family, share with their friends. So it was all about giving back. So to recap three things to bear in mind to encourage consumer engagement. Firstly, experience. Secondly, creating something different. And thirdly, giving something back to those involved. – Mike Jeanes

The first thing is to choose a platform that people feel comfortable engaging with, and mobile is the obvious choice. If you think about all the relationships that start using mobile apps, it demonstrates how comfortable people feel sharing emotion in text and video and photographs on a mobile. The second key thing is to ask people to do tasks that are relevant to their everyday lives. So when we ask people to go and check out the Beer display in Sainsbury’s, it’s part of their usual shopping trip. We are not asking to make a detour on our behalf, and they get paid for giving us good results. And finally, the key to engagement is fair remuneration. We pay people in hard cash on a weekly basis for taking part in research which is why they feel so committed to delivering results. We recently did a study working with Nivea. They wanted to check out what people felt about using the shower mousse. People went into the store, they bought some Nivea competitive products, went home to try them. Then at the end of the day, we asked them to do a video selfie. One lady wrote in and said “I am sorry we couldn’t do the video selfie because I just went into labour. But don’t worry, I will try and do this in few weeks time.” That to me is a classic example of incredible engagement with a happy group of respondents. – @RobinShuker

Keep it simple, first of all, make it easy ask questions that make sense and are easy to answer. Where ever possible use pre-coded lists and other rather than an open question and avoid my pet hate at all costs, do not ask questions that people can’t answer in the way they want to, that causes frustration and then they will give up completely. The second thing is to make it relevant, target tightly to your sample and keep it real and thirdly respect your respondents. Focus on what you need to know not what’s nice to know, don’t waste their time and then make the questionnaire flow – @HarrisonInsight

So my top three tips for being a people-centred researcher, I will first use tools and techniques and questions tags, which mirror the way that people communicate today, so obviously mobiles, given like I’m presenting on now, but we’ve also built a survey toolkit, which is very much inspired by social media, where we’re getting people to swipe their answers, or tweet them, or do a photo caption. Now secondly, we’ve gotta keep the survey or the research task text and instructions as short as possible, particularly for online call and capturing video-based research, we really need to ask less and observe more, and this gives the participant a lot more freedom to talk about what’s important to them, and ultimately that’s a more engaging experience. And thirdly, we need to reward people for their fair exchange of the data, and this is getting more important over time, particularly as we get more aware of issues around GDPR and people become aware of that, and the recent Facebook privacy scandals. @andybuckers

So you’re looking for three recommendations about how to improve participant engagement, I’m gonna give you one, the global research business network, has produced a report called “engage”, which is a hundred and one tips for improving participant user experience, it’s a free report, and the GRBN is a global organisation, made up of all the national market research associations around the world, and they’ve worked, I think, with thirty-five partner companies to come up with this report. It’s free, you can go to and find the report, it’s called engage, and that will give you a plethora of ideas and advice about how to improve participant engagement, and also to any arguments you might want to have with clients or with suppliers, or with other colleagues about how important this issue is to the future of research. So my one tip is to go to read the engage report from the GRBN. – Paul Griffiths

OK, three things that can help with respondent engagement, two are serious one’s a bit glib. The glib one is a couple of glasses of wine; the Sava group can help. You don’t want respondents to get absolutely hammered. That’s happened to me once, I had a fight break out in the focus group in front of a bunch of clients, that was hideous. But a bear or two can loosen tongues. I also think that it’s really important to have some interesting contextual discussions particularly if you have recession something’s a bit dry. So awhile ago, for example, I had to look at some strategic propositions for dishwasher templates which is a fascinating subject. But proceeding expiration of the propositions we talked about female empowerment and trends in female empowerment, really interesting discussion. So by the time I revealed the proposition people were engaged and sitting forward. I had a good go on picking the propositions. The third thing is where you are researching something that’s a bit dry again I think particularly if its creative or strategic development, I find team bases activities can help things move along. In groups of two or three, I think people feel more compelled to participate, whereas in groups of 7 or 8 I think people can feel a bit more relaxed about sitting back and not saying anything if they are not particularly engaged by the subject. Ya, that’s about it. – Mark Ratcliff

we are ethnographers, and so by that token we don’t necessarily have the same elements of issues of respondents, in responding to engagements, so but I’ll just say that for us it is special balance and by balance I really mean about not being part of the behaviour and not in any way interacting or hinging upon someone’s life and behaviour, so that we can observe and not violate, in any way, the sort of lay lines that might influence their behaviour in anyway – @dbrowell

Three tips for engaging respondents, so top tip number one is being honest about the length of time you want to have them for and stick to that because they will be aware. Secondly, if you want to get the best out if them it’s maybe to invoke a little bit of a pleasant surprise, so ask them questions that will get them thinking. So be careful about the questions you ask. Boring questions get boring answers. My third tip is to have an interviewer that is genuine and cares about the respondent’s answers that they give, they will know and will be able to tell. – Adrianne Carter @adrubena

You need to look at how you incentivize them. And also as panels for stats on where people cash out. Do they stay in for a long time? Do they build up the cash in their bank and leave it there or do they cash out as soon as they possibly can? That’s got a very good indication of whether a panel is highly engaged or not. So there are other approaches. Cash isn’t the best one anyway. We use a points-based system whereby they can save points up and then buy items in our online shop, which is not for profit. But they engage with that. – Johny Caldwell

Like what you see? There's more great content where that came from.

Check out white papers