Ask Respondents to Send Completion Emails

At the end of my surveys, a message box thanks the person who just completed it and asks them to send me an email confirming that submission. When someone emails you after they have completed your survey, at the least you confirm their e-mail address. More substantially, it makes it easier for you to write to them if a problem arises with their response, such as a missing required value or a puzzling comment. As I have mentioned before, the signature block of the return email often confirms the gender of the person who took the survey and other information, such as the title, full name, and address of the law firm or corporation.

Mostly, however, I adopted this practice because it gives me an opportunity to write and thank them again for taking part. In my e-mail that thanks them, I have an opportunity to push a bit further. “Congratulations, you’re done. Would you be willing to consider three more provocative questions? We will send a mini-report every 10 responses we get!”

Sometimes I ask them to forward the invitation to peers in their metropolitan area or state. Sometimes I ask them to estimate how many nearby law firms have COO’s or even to identify some of them. Or any questions that occurs to me; having finished the survey, they might be more responsive than otherwise. Early on, I asked for their comments on the survey itself, such as the clarity of the questions, the topics addressed, and the length, although I found that almost no one offered anything that was insightful in this regard.

The concluding message not only asks them to confirm with an e-mail but also reminds them to circulate the invitation more broadly. That nurtures a one-to-one feeling of relationship, a personalized touch that is worth cultivating. For example, it becomes easier to ask them for an interview or for another favor such as an introduction.

Put briefly, that responsive thank-you e-mail allows you to emphasize additional actions, collect more data, and start an individual relationship. For a few minutes of time, and even a canned email response, you have much to gain.