Respondent Engagement was a major topic of discussion at the recently concluded SampleCon in Austin, Texas.  RTi Research, a sponsor of the GRBN’s Respondent Engagement initiative, had the opportunity to participate in a lively panel discussion on the topic sharing the agency and corporate researcher perspective, chaired by GRBN’s Andrew Cannon. Joining us on the stage were representatives from Illuminas, Dell, and Maru/Matchbox. Andrew also interviewed several corporate researchers who shared their opinions on a number of topics around the subject. While at SampleCon, through our panel and other discussions, we realized that a desire to improve Respondent Engagement went beyond the reaches of the GRBN initiative, and the reasons for wanting to improve it differ amongst sample providers, research agencies, and corporate researchers. For corporate researchers, poor respondent engagement affects data, which may influence the results of the study. Additionally, corporate researchers do (and should!) view certain surveys as brand touchpoints, so poor Respondent Engagement may have an adverse effect on their image. There are also shared concerns that touch the corporate researchers, agencies, and sample providers. For sample companies, whose existence depends on the willingness of people to take surveys, positive respondent engagement is vital towards ensuring a large and diverse asset. Agencies and corporate researchers agree, a shrinking pool of survey takers invites the specter of a respondent base that is motivated solely by incentives, versus genuinely sharing their opinions. Additionally, the panel discussed assigning responsibility for positive Respondent Engagement, and unanimously agreed that research agencies shoulder the responsibility for this. Corporate researcher representatives interviewed for the panel stated that while they found Respondent Engagement to be important, it is not something they think about or discuss in their day-to-day work.  By sitting between the corporate researchers and survey panels in the process, research agencies have the ability to most influence Respondent Engagement by being able to see all sides. Understanding this, RTi Research has been taking steps to ensure that we treat our survey takers as people, and not just a source of data. We illustrated some of these steps during the discussion, such as: developing a mobile first approach,   being more conversational and shortening our survey length. We also show a short thank you video from RTi staffers to our respondents at the end of our surveys. These are just some of the ways that we have invested in improving the experience of our respondents. Agencies and sample providers also play a role in improving the respondent experience by raising their voices when they see questionnaire issues that impact engagement. This might be a tough conversation to have with a client, but several of those interviewed stated that they appreciate when a supplier brings up survey elements that might prove problematic for respondents. Ultimately, what was most encouraging was that virtually everyone attending SampleCon understood how important this is for the future of our business.  And many, like RTi Research, are prepared to act. Phil_GiubelioPhil_Giubelio RTi Research