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Respondent Participation: Why incentives alone won’t lead to increased engagement

by Adam Froman.

As a participant-based online research panel, nothing is worse than sending out a survey on behalf of one of our market research clients only to have our customer service team flooded with feedback from respondents.

Sometimes the feedback is positive, but for the most part, our AskingCanadians panellists are sharing their disappointment, and often their disdain, for the survey itself. (And who says people don’t give honest feedback?)

I’m a firm believer that the online research panel of the future is one based upon treating survey respondents as customers, and not simply as players in a transaction.

If you respect the individuals who are sharing their opinions, then incentives aren’t the be all and end all for panellists. While incentives like the ones we offer at AskingCanadians are an important means to engage our panellists, letting respondents know that their opinions matter also serves to enhance their experience.

Offering immediate incentives and sharing the outcome of the research is core to our strategy of reciprocity at AskingCanadians. However, sometimes our clients react by saying they can’t share the survey results, or they’re simply unsure what that might entail. It could mean letting respondents know that a new product made it to market based upon the study they completed, or that their input influenced an advertising campaign or in-store experience. Once the research results are implemented, then they aren’t confidential anymore.

Ultimately, panellists don’t necessarily care what the findings say, but they do want to know that their feedback made a difference. Informing panellists of the impact of their input closes the loop for panellists and is the foundation of a participant-oriented research panel based on reciprocity.

At AskingCanadians reciprocity is not a tactic, it is a philosophy. This is how we are building long-term relationships with our panellists to ensure that we can provide our clients with honest, thoughtful and meaningful consumer feedback that they can trust.