Anne has been given the task of conducting a survey of sales clerks who will be using a new order-entry system being developed for a household products catalog company. The goal of the survey is to identify the clerks’ opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the current system. There are about 50 clerks who work in three different cities, so a survey seemed like an ideal way of gathering the needed information from the clerks.
Anne developed the questionnaire carefully and pretested it on several sales supervisors who were available at corporate headquarters. After revising it based on their suggestions, she sent a paper version of the questionnaire to each clerk, asking that it be returned within one week. After one week, she had only three completed questionnaires returned. After another week, Anne received just two more completed questionnaires. Feeling somewhat desperate, Anne then sent out an e-mail version of the questionnaire, again to all the clerks, asking them to respond to the questionnaire by e-mail as soon as possible. She received two e-mail questionnaires and three messages from clerks who had completed the paper version expressing annoyance at being bothered with the same questionnaire a second time. At this point, Anne has just a 14 percent response rate, which she is sure will not please her team leader. What suggestions do you have that could have improved Anne’s response rate to the questionnaire?