Respondents say they submitted the survey, but I don't see it.
If a respondent reports they submitted or completed a survey but you don't see it, we have a few suggestions on what could be causing this. More often than not, it's something simple like a respondent overlooking a required question, and not realizing that when they submit the survey, it won't be sent if they haven't answered that question. Here are a few common causes for seemingly missing responses:
- Many questions on one page
- Required questions that have been overlooked or improperly answered
- Text validation or survey design elements
- Whether or not you've established a tracking mechanism for your survey.
The good news is that there's easy fixes for all of the above. Scroll below, or click a likely issue to see what you can do to solve the problem. An important consideration is that if a survey was never submitted properly, there's no way to "retrieve" or "restore" the response since it never made it to our system.
Best Practice: Test Your Survey FIRST, Send it SECOND
Responses to the survey are sent as respondents click "Next" or "Done" at the end of each page. Go through your survey carefully before you send it with the collector link, and try to anticipate any usability issues beforehand.
Did respondents click the "Done" button and successfully move onto the Survey Completion option? If not, their surveys may not have been saved.
A good rule of thumb is if you have to scroll down to get to questions in a single page. If you do, chances are a page break would be a nice easy way to make your survey simpler to take; and also add another opportunity to save responses. Here's how to add page breaks, even if your survey's already sent out:
- Click Design Survey, even if it's already been sent out.
- Scroll through your pages, and click Split Page Here to add more pages.
- Now, which questions are required will be easier to see; and your survey will be easier to take.
If you've used the Required to Answer feature on your survey, this can sometimes add a little bit of complexity for users. It's a great way to make sure you get answers to the questions that really matter; but when used, make sure your error messages are clear and visible. If a respondent submits a page without a required question answered, it won't save or send until they answer the question properly and click Next or Submit again.
Here are some best practices to make sure this doesn't impede your survey takers:
- Make your question instructions clear and easily understood.
- Keep only a few questions per page (see above) so respondents can quickly see where the problem lies, and which question they need to answer.
- Edit your error messages so respondents understand what happened (possible even when you've already collected responses):
- Click Edit Question for the required question in your survey.
- Scroll down to the "Require an answer to this question".
- Ensure that how many choices (or a limit) must be selected is correct and aligns with your instructions (for example, if you say "must choose one" in instructions but require 2 by mistake);
- Edit the error message to re-iterate how you'd like the question answered— for example, "Required: Choose 2 options."
- Click Save & Close. Now future respondents will be less prone to accidentally overlook this part of the survey.
If you use open-ended questions and use text validation, ensure that these validations are clearly articulated to users in the question prompt and that they align with what you're looking for. See our FAQ here for a thorough list of error messages and instructions on editing them.
If you used skip logic, it's rare but sometimes mistakes will be made in the survey authoring process that create a "loop" between pages or questions. This is confusing to respondents, and doesn't let them submit the survey. To protect yourself against making this mistake; test each logic path to confirm it's set up correctly.
If you do find skip logic errors, from the Design Survey tab, click Edit Question Logic or Edit Page Logic to correct them; even if you've already sent your survey out.
It sounds rudimentary; but often when people don't see the responses they were anticipating it's because they're accidentally collecting anonymous responses. Setting up tracking is easy; but unfortunately can't be done retroactively. This means if you still have responses to collect, you can make sure new responses are identifiable; but ones you already have will essentially be anonymous. The easiest way to do this is just to add a question in the survey asking their name or email address.
For setting up other tracking mechanisms on your survey, see our FAQ here.