Crafting Survey Invitations for Higher Response Rates


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When sending out a survey to customers via email, you want to receive the best quality and quantity of responses. People often put all of their energy into crafting the perfect survey, and neglect to put enough effort into designing the invitation. The invitation will ultimately convince or entice your customers to give feedback, so it is just as important as the survey design itself. Consider the tips below when crafting or redesigning your survey invitation to maximise your potential for higher response rates.

Choose your subject line wisely and avoid ending up in the SPAM folder

Your subject line is your first opportunity to fail when it comes to survey invitations. It can make or break your chances of a customer even bothering to open your email or put it straight in the bin. Make it obvious what the email is about and be smart in how you do it. Avoid adding symbols (£££, $$$, €€€) or all CAPS to your subject line as that can trigger your survey to be caught by SPAM filters. Additionally, words like “Help,” “Reminder,” or “Percent Off” can also be flagged by SPAM filters, so do your research before settling on a subject line that could prevent the customer from receiving your feedback request at all. 

Another security tip is to make sure to include the URL to the survey in addition to a hyperlinked “Click Here” call to action in the email body. Some firewalls will block hyperlinks of that sort, so it’s smart to give respondents an alternative they can copy and paste into their browser. 

Get straight to the point

Keep your invitation short, sweet and bold, so customers can clearly understand the email message’s purpose. Avoid long-winded introductory paragraphs or wordy descriptions that your customers realistically will not read. Be brief, but include an estimate of how long your survey will take and how many questions are in it. Saying something like “Please take 2 minutes to fill out our five-question survey” sets expectations at the outset and avoids drop-offs in a concise manner. 

You should even consider embedding the first question, typically an NPS or CSAT question, in the email body, so the customer can see upfront the type of survey they will be taking and get started from within the email message. 

Avoid including wordy details about confidentiality in the body of the email. Add a hyperlink to the bottom of the message redirecting those interested to a page with your confidentiality pledge. Research has shown that most customers aren’t interested anyway, so it isn’t worth taking up precious real estate in the email body with the details. 


Since you know the customer’s email address, you probably know their name and purchase history as well. Add details such as the customer’s name, which transaction they are being surveyed on and where the purchase was made (online, in a specific location, etc.). This will bring the specific experience and interaction to the top of their mind and give them more context for taking the survey. 

Don’t be boring

A standard HTML email design with no colour or images other than a logo isn’t going to do much to entice customers. Try to make the message cool and fun if you can, as a boring message could easily be ignored. This doesn’t mean adding flashing images and neon graphics, but rather something more interesting than the bog-standard corporate email that really won’t set you apart from the rest. Loop in your marketing team as they can be best-equipped to handle your email message’s design and aesthetics. They can also help you stick to your usual branding in terms of tone, language and design, while still having more creative ideas to help your message stand out.

Offer an incentive

One of the best and easiest ways to improve your response rate is to incentivise your customers to participate. Make it clear to your customers that they will be entered to win some sort of prize in your email message. While some businesses may offer 5-star luxury vacations as an incentive, there is no need to offer anything so grand. Simple incentives work just as well to draw your customers to your survey and positively impact your response rate. Note – we don’t recommend this for all scenarios, but sometimes offering a potential prize, discount or perk to your customers will make them pay greater attention to your survey and take the time to complete it. 

Show your appreciation

Many people don’t realise that customer experience surveys matter and make a massive difference to businesses improving their operations, all to their customers’ benefit. Make it clear that you really appreciate your customers taking the time to give feedback. Also, you can explain what improvements to CX have been made as a result of customer feedback. Saying something like “This year we began offering free shipping and reduced packaging waste due to the very valuable feedback we received from our customers.” If customers realise that you are listening to and value their feedback, they can be more likely to leave a thoughtful response. 

Sarah-Nicole LeFlore
Sarah-Nicole "Nikki" is a Customer Success Manager at CX Index, a Dublin-based Voice of the Customer (VOC) Vendor. She contributes her insights on the many benefits of prioritising customer experience to the CX Index blog. She is currently based in London but has lived in New York, Dublin and Paris. She has a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and an MSc from Trinity College Dublin.


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