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Designing and Conducting Business Surveys by Diane K. Willimack, Jacqui Jones, Gustav Haraldsen, Ger Snijkers

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Chapter 9

Business Survey Communication

Ger Snijkers and Jacqui Jones

9.1 Introduction

Surveys basically concern communication. In Chapter 8 we discussed communication associated with the questionnaire. In this chapter we discuss all other aspects of business survey communication. As we shall see, there are many aspects. Features of business survey communication include (Cox and Chinnappa 1995): establishing contact with sampled businesses, bypassing gatekeepers, informing respondents about the survey, dispatching the questionnaire to the right person at the right moment in time, reminding and nonresponse follow-ups, and dealing with questions from businesses, using various means such as advance and reminder letters, telephone reminders, websites, and help desks. In some cases an actual appointment is made (e.g., a time deadline for returning the questionnaire), but traditionally (in case of self-completion) this “appointment” comes down to informing the business that it is selected and that the data are due by a specific date. This is a one-sided appointment. The fact that there is considerable use of self-administered data collection in business surveys renders these communication features even more prominent.

Such a one-sided approach receives much criticism and resistance from businesses; they don't appreciate the value of participation, cannot prepare themselves, would like to obtain more information about the background of the survey, don't get any feedback, don't know what ...

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