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Customer Surveys That Inspire a Response

Customer response forms, whether they are surveys or feedback requests, are an invaluable part of your company's go-ahead plans. The feedback you receive helps to drive your marketing and product improvement efforts. But, if these response forms are not pleasing to the eye, and easy to use, your customers will be more likely to throw them away than fill them out.

If you are preparing your company's survey or feedback forms, take a lesson from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 1995, while they were beginning preparations for Census 2000, they spent time rethinking the effectiveness of the Census forms in creating a desire to participate. They realized the forms were unappealing and hard to follow, and because they wanted to generate a 100% response rate, they needed to find a way to boost people's desire to participate. What they came up with was a fresh look that combined fact gathering and encouraging language with a fluid design and color scheme.

While the sheer volume of participants in the 2000 Census make this project seem irrelevant to the information gathering of a small company, there are many things that can be learned about form and function from the Census design.
  • Keep your design simple.

  • Use colors that set people at ease.

  • Consider the use of rounded shapes and lines, which are more appealing than rigid boxes.

  • Inform the participants of the value of their responses.

  • Make your form a safe place to divulge information.
Customers want their voices to be heard. When you ask them questions about themselves, you are giving them a place to participate in the future decisions of your company. Presenting your request for information in a way that makes them comfortable and eager to participate will increase your response rate and ultimately, your bottom line.

Design for Response: Creative Direct Marketing That Works
by Leslie Sherr and David Katz

This book gathers some of the world's best direct response programs from a range of media to give designers and clients a comprehensive, strategic understanding of why and how successful campaigns work. Design For Response includes detailed case studies followed by print, three-dimensional, and electronic examples.

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