Services: Mailed Surveys

As telephone access to respondents has become increasingly difficult, ADFR has found mailed self-administered questionnaires to be a reliable and cost-effective method particularly for collecting data from involved target populations such as business executives, members of organizations, readers of publications, purchasers, etc.  Mail surveys are also appropriate for large sample sizes requiring extensive sample stratification (e.g., a sample of customers of 500 branch banks) and lengthy or complex questionnaires.

ADFR has extensive experience in designing attractive and user-friendly self-administered mail questionnaires and we are expert at writing cover letters requesting respondent cooperation to achieve high response rates.  Over the past ten years we’ve developed, tested and honed techniques to get respondent attention and often achieve response rates which rival or exceed those from telephone surveys.  We have worked with many clients to convert telephone satisfaction or tracking surveys to a self-administered mail methodology.

Our procedures for maximizing mail survey response rates include:

  • Customizing cover letters by laser-filling respondent name, address and salutation. 
  • Printing questionnaires and cover letters in corporate or organization colors and including logos.
  • Using appropriate incentives to elicit high response rates.
  • Making one or more follow-up reminder mailings.
  • Combining mailed questionnaires with an online response option.


Advantages of Mail Over Telephone:

  • Typically less expensive than telephone surveys.
  • Allows for a more controlled survey presentation.  Using company or organization letterhead and logos can legitimatize the survey.  Ability to have a standard communication with a persuasive cover letter.
  • Allows for lengthier questionnaires with more complex questions than phone surveys.
  • A cost effective method for studies requiring large samples.  Turnaround time can actually be faster than telephone interviewing for large samples since tens of thousands of questionnaires can be mailed and returned in a relatively short time frame.
  • Convenience:  Allows respondents to complete questionnaires at their convenience as opposed to a telephone interview, which can be intrusive.
  • Excellent for employee surveys:  Mail questionnaires sent from corporate management asking employees to respond to a survey are an excellent tool which can elicit high response rates.
  • Quality of data:  With mail surveys there is no interviewer bias.  Verbatim comments are captured in the respondent’s own words with no interviewer interpretation.
  • Visuals:  With mail surveys it is possible to include visuals such as logos, photos, packaging, etc.
  • Incentives are often used to increase the response rate.
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