Improving survey response rates

As part of our assessment plan, we are looking more closely at data from exit surveys to tell us how the service is doing and where we need to improve. The exit survey is a valuable tool that can tell us a lot about who our patrons are, what's good about our service, and what needs to improve. We have been collecting a lot of information from these surveys, but our response rate is less than 3% - not high enough to get a real sense of patrons' needs and experience. Happily, there are some ways that we AskAwayers can improve the likelihood that patrons are offered the survey option.

Tip #1: End the session yourself

Links to the survey and to get transcripts show up once the session is officially ended, with the clicking of a button. But patrons are more likely to close the window or navigate away than to click their own "end session" button. We have been trained not to click the "end session" button, in case patrons decide that they do indeed have other questions. But if we do end sessions ourselves, then our patrons are shown the links immediately, increasing their chances of participating in the survey. We recommend firmly establishing that the patron is ready to leave, giving your closing statements, and then ending the session. In the new Qwidget, those buttons are much more prominent, and patrons are likely to notice them if they appear on their Qwidget screen.

Tip #2: Send a direct link

While we can't always control whether users end the session correctly, we can send them links to the survey. If a link to the survey is delivered while patrons are still in chat, they may be more likely to see it and click through. Here's the link: Think about how you can work a mention of the survey into the chat, before the closing scripts happen. For example, if your patron thanks you for your help OR complains about their experience, you can tell them, "We're always trying to improve our service. You can let AskAway know what went right or how we can do better by filling out our survey: ". This script is now available, and is called "Survey - Survery Reminder". Note that sending a link to patrons in fullscreen chat will push them the new webpage directly. If your patron is not a Qwidget user, make sure they're not still working on their research in that window before you send them links.

Tip #3: Efficient use of closing scripts

Scripts are useful tools for busy AskAwayers, but they have to be used judiciously. If too much is posted at once, it is unlikely to be read. If it's too wordy, it looks like, well, a script. The trick is not to flood patrons with text on their tiny Qwidget screens. There is a new script available called "Close - Qwidget Transcript & Survey", which briefly explains how to exit and get to transcripts and survey, and also provides a link to the survey. This may help you reach people who are less likely to exit properly, and does so using a smaller amount of text. Try using it as your closing script, before you say goodbye.

Tip #4: Stay awesome

The majority of our survey results are highly positive. People are more likely to comment when they have either a bad experience or a really great one, and you've been motivating a lot of positive comments. So keep up the great work!