A lot of time while surveying, it is quite unnecessary to know who is responding to your survey. A lot of issues can be tackled by taking the response data and analyzing it alone.
This is where we recommend the use of anonymous surveys- a type of survey where respondents' identities are kept confidential even after completing the survey.
In this case, you will be rewarded with more candid responses that can help you make better decisions. This will ensure you have a better data set to slice and dice your respondents' age, gender, product-service they use, etc.
To ensure honest feedback, respondents must know that they can share their feedback in a confidential way that prevents leaders, stakeholders, or anyone, for that matter, to tie that feedback back to their name.
In an employee evaluation survey, employees might be worried that feedback that is critical of managers could be used against them. So, unless you, as a surveyor, cannot guarantee that it will not happen, you cannot count on their honest and complete participation.
Bought into creating an anonymous survey? Read on to get started.
How do Anonymous surveys work?
Anonymous surveys do not collect respondents' personal identifiable information (PII), such as their name, email address, social security number, and street address. There are no identifying values in the responses that could be linked to the participant. Generally, the only items on the survey are about the subject under consideration. There are few, if any, demographic questions.
By not asking for their identifying information, anonymous surveys are highly successful in fetching honest answers. They ensure that people deliver real feedback that leads you to accurate data. For this reason, anonymous surveys are especially useful for candid information.
Why are Anonymous surveys popular?
To understand why surveyors prefer anonymous surveys, we have to understand what the three pillars for survey anonymity are.
The logic behind honest answers in anonymous surveys is really quite simple: participants who feel safe telling the truth provide honest answers. Honest answers can give you a better picture of ground realities. This naturally makes anonymous surveys appealing to surveyors.
An anonymous survey is the perfect teamwork of identity protection and accurate data. You will be getting the answers you need while simultaneously assuring survey-takers that even survey administrators will not be able to link participants with their responses. Anonymous surveys are therefore more appealing to potential respondents.
Anonymous surveys are typically more useful when you are trying to survey certain personal, impactful, or sensitive information. In such situations, knowing the survey is anonymous would make it more likely for respondents to answer, giving you higher response rates for surveys that might have otherwise suffered from low response rates. As a bonus, considering that most surveying tools in the market now have the option to send email reminders to those who have not responded, you can ensure the response flow despite maintaining anonymity.
Building an anonymous survey
Before you start working on your anonymous survey, here are a few tricks to make them even more effective.
Always begin with an introduction
It's a good idea to begin your anonymous survey with an introduction. Ideally, you should write an introduction announcing at the get-go that the survey is completely anonymous and protects their personal data and identity, none of which are revealed to the surveyors.
It can be something like this:
“We thank you in advance for participating in this survey. We highly value your feedback and assure you that your identity will remain anonymous.”
This way, they can be completely assured that their identity is a secret, leading to more truthful answers.
Check all of your collectors
You will need to ensure that you have turned on the anonymous survey responses for each of your collectors in online surveys. Collectors are the different portals for response collection for your surveys. This is something you have to ensure before you send out the survey.
Do not use custom variables
Try to stay away from data provided by or collected using custom variables that are inherently personal, like the respondent's address. Automated sources like CRM, Slack, campaigns tools, and others can provide PIIs. When these are used in your survey, they're called respondent variables and must be avoided in anonymous surveys.
Double-check the questions you're asking
While it's common sense to know that asking questions like name and phone number will directly remove the anonymity of your survey, there are many other subtle questions that must not creep into your survey if it is to remain anonymous.
For example, If you ask their job title and what organization they work for, it may be possible to zero in on their identity.
Sacrificing these kinds of questions would be the best decision if you want to keep your survey truly anonymous.
Whether you are collecting legal or Human Resources feedback, checking for compliance and safety information, or sending a post-course evaluation, anonymity makes a big difference to your survey results.
The result is accurate and useful data for you, with complete anonymity for the respondent. The freedom to tell the truth benefits your participants and your results.
Start surveying away, anonymously!