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My problem is that I need to distribute approximately 10 surveys in the next year to a participant base of about 1,000, and I don't want to spam them. I don't have the means to significantly increase the participant base, and surveys are probably the best method for my research.

My concern is the response rate will decrease as participants receive more survey requests, and people will feel like they're being spammed. The participants are also my company's customers, so we need to be careful in how communicate with them.

Thanks!

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Firstly, I think 10 responses out of 1000 isn't likely to get you the results that you are looking for, depending on your exact research question(s).

These are the things that you will need to do in order to create a representative sample size for your survey:

  1. Create profiles/groups of customers based on your products/services so that you know the proportion of participants that belong in each group.
  2. Assign the profile or group category to each participant and manage the information in a CRM or customer database.
  3. For each round of survey, assign the number of surveys according to the proportion of participants (e.g. group A gets 5 and group B gets 5 if you have 2 groups with 50% of the population each).
  4. Record which participants have received surveys (and responded), and then mark them off the list for the next round of survey distribution.

I would caution against trying to read too much into the results based on such small numbers. I would also encourage a more proactive way to get user comments and feedback, but that's probably a different question.

  • Thanks for the response! Just to clarify, I'm not looking for 10 responses, I'm looking to distribute 10 individual survey forms. That is to say, each survey will be its own study. Do you have a recommendation for a CRM or customer database? – user50599 Jun 24 '14 at 18:00
  • That really depends on the budget and resources you have at the company, how it needs to integrate with other existing systems, and how actively you plan to engage with the customers. The point is that you need to keep track and monitor the customers from expectations to satisfaction with your products and services. Remember that it is difficult to improve things that you can't measure. – Michael Lai Jun 24 '14 at 22:30
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I think that @Michael Lai's answer covers the approach well from the methodology perspective. Therefore, I will just add a recommendation to use specialized online survey services instead of general purpose CRM or database systems. For example, you may consider the following online survey services:

Also, check the following article that describes some of the above-mentioned services and other tools: http://www.socialbrite.org/2013/06/18/10-top-online-survey-tools-for-your-nonprofit. (Sorry, if you already know all this, but it's not clear from your question.)

  • Thanks for adding your input for a more complete answer to the question. Which of the services have you used? And which ones do you think is more robust? – Michael Lai Sep 17 '14 at 1:27
  • @MichaelLai: You're very welcome! Unfortunately, I can't answer your questions in the comment, as I haven't had a chance to use any of these services. All I can say about them is that I think that SurveyMonkey is the most popular (well-known) service of that kind and has been around since 1999. Many solid companies use them for their needs, so their robustness and feature set should be solid. Of course, if you need features they have in higher tiers, but can't afford them or would like to save money, other options are probably solid enough, too. Hope this helps. – Aleksandr Blekh Sep 17 '14 at 11:19

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