Should I track survey respondents? Part 1

One of the discussions that I have with many clients is whether or not to use usernames and passwords to track employee and customer survey respondents.  A lot of thought goes into this decision, so I thought I’d share some of our thinking.

First of all, what type of survey is being deployed?  Differences can exist in the approach depending on whether you are deploying internal surveys or customer service surveys. Whereas the premise of most internal employee-based surveys is anonymity, it is sometimes expected from a Customer Service survey that the sender collects some identifiable information.

For Human Resources / Internal Organizational surveys:
The level of trust in your organization is paramount to making this decision. What are the chances of you getting good results if people feel their information will be tied back to them? Is confidentiality a large issue for your survey?  Most employee satisfaction surveys have little security attached so that employees will feel free to be honest in their assessments. Typically, for HR surveys, the less information you request from a respondent, the higher the trust level is that their responses are anonymous.  Therefore, employees are generally more likely to complete a survey if they believe that their answers will not be able to be tied back to who they are.

For Customer Surveys:
As far as Customer Surveys are concerned, it all depends on your operations and how you plan to use the results. Some organizations require the use of individual IDs in order to tie responses back to a demographic subgroup or an individual respondent.  In a typical B2C or B2B  context, individual users tend to not object to their responses being identified. If you plan to look at the overall satisfaction level to help you monitor improvements from one period to the next, but do not require tying responses back to an individual level, then you can minimize customer tracking. The amount of data collected may be directly affected by these choices.

Next time…What are the different types of online tracking mechanisms commonly used in survey deployment?