Alright, folks – with the holidays approaching, it’s time to talk about something very important: survey manners.
Specifically, today we’re going to address online survey welcome pages. If you don’t use welcome pages on your surveys, there are a few key reasons why you should. First off…
As Zingerman’s Deli (one of our favorite organizations, who were named the coolest small company in America by Inc.com and who wrote the book on customer service) points out, one of the most stupid ways to lose a customer is to ignore them.
If you’re a retail business, you should greet each customer when they come in the door. So why not do the same thing with your online surveys? By adding a welcome page to greet a potential survey respondent, you can convey to them that you appreciate their opinion.
Setting expectations is a good practice any time you’re asking for someone to take time out of their day to help you – and it’s especially true when they’re not seeing you in person. No matter how nice you make it look, an online survey can be pretty impersonal – so why not make it friendly?
Ultimately, letting your respondents know what to expect using a survey welcome page is one simple way to encourage them to continue on with the survey. If they know what to expect, they’re much more likely to keep going.
It’s not just about survey usability, though…
Survey Welcome Pages Have Data Collection Benefits
In addition to encouraging your readers to continue, a survey welcome page also offers a key structural benefit: they’ll help you collect better data about your survey.
Here’s what we mean:
If a survey respondent arrives at your survey and finds a page full of questions, they might decide not to take your survey. Alchemer counts this as an Abandoned survey response.
The problem is, a survey respondent could leave your survey on the first page for any number of reasons. They could have just been called into a meeting, or gotten a phone call, or perhaps their computer crashed. Either way, we’ll count that response as Abandoned.
By adding a survey welcome page, you give yourself one additional bit of survey data – because by the simple act of clicking the Next Page button, they now register as a Partial survey response.
This may not seem like much information – but it gives you a little more insight into how respondents are reacting to your survey.
It also helps us troubleshoot if you have a problem – if your survey has no welcome page and shows thousands of Abandons and no Partials, that doesn’t give us as much to work with.
On the other hand, if you build your survey with a welcome page and it still shows thousands of Abandons and no Partials, that suggests the issue is on the welcome page. By the same token, if your reporting shows a significant number of Partial responses that left your survey on the first page after the welcome screen, we can assume there’s an issue with your first page of questions.
Why Not Use Welcome Pages?
Of course, there are still some reasons to not use a welcome page with your online surveys. For one, if you’re embedding a survey, it will likely not produce the same experience as will a full-page survey.
Additionally, there are certain times when a welcome page might introduce some unwanted bias into your survey responses. Obviously, you should always be wary of anything creating bias – in this case, you can often avoid it by simply paying close attention to the content of your welcome page.
However, in some cases it may simply make more sense to leave off a welcome page and deliver your respondents straight into the survey.
Still, it’s our experience that more often than not, adding a survey welcome page to your survey will help set your respondents’ expectations and increase your response rate. We highly recommend doing it when possible.