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Empathetic Survey Design: The Secret To Garner High Responses

Empathetic Survey Design: The Secret To Garner High Responses
Empathetic Survey Design: The Secret To Garner High Responses

Online surveys can help you gain better insight into a subject matter by asking intelligent, empathetic questions. Let’s first understand what is empathetic survey design exactly. As you ask your respondents questions, place yourself in their shoes, think from their perspective, and craft a survey that makes sense to them.

Although technology is crucial for delivering insights at life’s pace, questions reveal people’s emotions. After all, the human mind is not always rational or predictable. Understanding the complex, sincere viewpoints of others can make a difference in whether or not your company decisions result in growth.

You might ask some questions with the best intentions, yet they may cause people to feel criticised and provide dishonest answers. For instance:

  • Someone could feel inferior if you inquire about their educational background.
  • Direct inquiries about smoking or other behaviours with strong public attitudes may make people uneasy.

But how does empathetic survey design actually appear in use? Here are some ideas for getting started:

Don’t overlook engagement basics

Surveys with arduous tasks pose the biggest hurdles for respondents. If different brands asked you the same question, would you participate? 

Your own experience may show that it can be quite challenging to remain engaged with the questions and provide thoughtful responses.

If participants become bored during the survey, they may cease to participate, resulting in poor data quality.

Reimagine the question to eliminate potential judgments

Analyses often depend heavily on demographic information like income and employment. Hence, rather than eliminating questions, reframe or reimagine them so that hierarchies are less emphasized.

In asking respondents about their educational status, consider replacing “What is your educational level?” with “When you finished school, what did you do?”

The latter is more friendly and accommodating of different career paths. Considering the respondent’s statement that they continued their education or training, we can empathically ask what type of further education they pursued. 

You may also want to read: Survey and Type of Questions

Facilitate participants’ honest disclosures

Some queries might have societal undertones. This could give the respondent the impression that there is a certain way they should respond or make them think about their lifestyle choices. When they feel uncomfortable, they may be less genuine in their responses.

When addressing these challenging inquiries, one must consider offering a variety of solutions. Using “yes” or “no” as a response to a question like “Do you buy organic products?” raises the risk of inferring certain responses.

Make people feel more at ease by giving them choices that explain why they agree or disagree, such as 

“I would if it were less expensive” or “I would if it were more readily available.” 

It brings the “why” of the question into focus and raises the standard for sincerity. 

Treat a survey as a conversation and not a monologue

Individuals like to feel heard, which is another key principle of empathetic survey design. In many surveys, the responses seem like they’re being interrogated or thrown into a black hole.

At SurveyPoint, we are passionate about using a few straightforward approaches to transform surveys into discussions. Follow-up questions are widely used, but chit-chat phrases such as “That’s intriguing” can go a long way. The survey then naturally becomes more gratifying for the respondent and more three-dimensional.

Keep people’s attention and respect their time

Planning your survey requires carefully considering the tasks to which you will assign respondents. Long lists can result in monotonous and draining activities, mainly when many of the brands contained therein are well-known. People may exit the survey early or provide fewer accurate responses if they are not paying attention.

Streamlining your survey and dividing your questions into digestible sections can improve the quality of your responses. Combining connected data and online surveys can help you better understand your target audience.

Additionally, make your survey simpler by making your questions easier to answer. For instance:

“How many caffeine units have you consumed during the past seven days?” This question tests both your memory and your caffeine consumption. 

Alternatively, you can frame questions by asking what drinks they drank and how many they had. Segment the question into manageable chunks to make it simpler for respondents to respond. It will allow space for a well-thought-out and precise response.

Don’t forget to add an enjoyable element

Embracing a fun survey design mindset is also part of empathizing with people.

By using a gameshow-style challenge, a typical brand awareness question can become an entertaining game. As a result, responders’ natural competitiveness is sparked, which leads them to answer more carefully.

Humour can be a powerful weapon for neutralizing a potentially sensitive topic and putting the respondent at ease. And the results can be astonishing.

Empathy Helps You Read Between the Lines

The only way to truly comprehend another person’s intentions as opposed to simply taking in what they say is through empathy. Business solutions may also require empathetic surveys if profit is taken into account. If you design solutions in solitude, you risk coming up with ones that utterly miss the mark. So, to stay current in the market, you must gather crucial information about your users.

“People ignore design that ignores people.”

— Author of The Shape of Design, Frank Chimero

The following three factors define a successful product or service, according to many innovators and entrepreneurs: 

  • Desirability
  • Feasibility
  • Viability

Having the technology and making money is not enough to achieve success and profitability. A solution needs to appeal to users on an emotional level. A desirable product or service can only be built when people’s needs, experiences, wants, and preferences are adequately acknowledged.

Now that you know empathy-based survey design and how to implement it, you’re ready to develop your own survey. Access a free library of high-quality, ready-to-use, and easy-to-configure survey templates. Sign Up Now! 

Heena Shah – Content Writer at Sambodhi

Heena Shah
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