If done well, a survey can be one of the most useful assets to your business or organization. “But, isn’t it just a list of questions?” we hear you cry. Well, yes and no. Surveys can give you highly valuable insights into what your customers, audience, workforce, etc., are thinking, how they’re feeling, and why they are feeling it. There are many types of surveys, all with different objectives. Let’s look at some of the most common types.
Here’s an example of a quick and efficient political opinion survey, which respondents can easily complete on the go.
This template shows how to measure customer loyalty with a few questions, and perhaps find out whether your customers are promoters, passives or detractors.
Here’s a snippet of an opinion ballot designed to collect answers quickly and effectively. What’s more, it only takes minutes to build.
This questionnaire example aims to measure and improve customer satisfaction. It pairs the right questions with attractive design, making an otherwise basic form enjoyable to fill.
Here’s how a good Facebook poll should look like. You can stand out in your friends’ and followers’ news feed with an engaging conversation, likely to attract new likes and shares.
This template efficiently measures brand awareness and perception in a fun, playful way. It pairs sleek design with a friendly tone, making the survey much easier to complete.
It’s something market researchers and feedback-seekers all too often forget—survey respondents are humans, not machines. Have you ever taken a survey? How did it make you feel? What was the survey-taking experience like? Did it frustrate you or bore you? Or did it delight you? Aim for the latter when creating your survey.
Survey questions that are close-ended or quantitative will allow you to aggregate your data numerically. Examples of these are dropdown, multiple choice, rating, opinion scale, and yes/no questions. Their data is easy to analyze and draw conclusions from.
Survey questions that are open-ended or qualitative can provide new ideas or insight, because short-text or long-text questions allow the respondents to express themselves in more detail.
A comprehensive survey or questionnaire will include both close-ended and open-ended questions, but more of the former than the latter. For obvious reasons, it is much easier to draw actionable insights when the majority of the data is numerical.
Ready to fill that blank page with survey questions? Hold your horses. You’ll need to think about what you want to accomplish with your online survey. Are you trying to measure customer satisfaction? Or, find out about your brand’s top-of-mind status within a particular segment of the population? What kinds of conclusions are you planning on drawing from your data? Sit down and think about the reasons you are sending out this survey in the first place. If you understand what you want to do with your data once you have it, your survey will be much more successful.
Ready to write? Good survey questions are the key to successful answers.
Here are some survey question best practices:
Use simple, direct language. Wordiness and complex grammar will only lead your respondents to interpret the answer in different ways, therefore deteriorating the quality of your data.
Be specific. Ambiguity is a survey’s worst enemy. Ensure your questions focus on just one, clear topic.
Ask one question at a time. If you overload your questions with subquestions, your respondent might be incapable to answer, or even get so annoyed that they stop answering questions.
Be neutral. Questions using leading, emotional, or evocative language must be avoided as they can lead to biased responses and skew your data.
Cover all possible answers. In multiple choice and dropdown questions, provide all the alternatives you can think of, and add the other option in case you’ve forgotten something.
Be consistent. When using rating scales, make sure your rating points are the same throughout. You’ll be making your life a lot easier when it comes to analyzing the data.
Kill the jargon. Refrain from using technical jargon, acronyms, or anything that the respondent might not understand. When asking a question, be specific about the context and what you are interested in knowing. Clarity and transparency will lead to better responses.
Give people an exit. It’s okay to ask sensitive questions, but don’t expect all respondents to be happy to answer. When relevant, add the prefer not to answer option. It’s important to make your survey-taker feel comfortable taking the survey at all times.
Talk to humans, not respondents. Your respondents are humans, taking precious time out of their busy lives to answer your questions. When writing your questions, keep in mind the human being on the other side of the screen. People wouldn’t accept someone shouting “name!?”, “age!?” at them in the street. Why should they accept it in a survey. Be friendly. Be human.
Now that your goal is clear, you need to make sure your survey questions stick to your objective. Be a ruthless curator. Keep what matters, cut what doesn’t. You may be curious to know many things about your respondents, but if they don’t serve the survey’s purpose, they’re useless. Remember, unless you somehow find a survey-filling-in enthusiast, getting people to the end of your list of questions will be a challenge. Make every question count. After writing any question, ask yourself “will I actually be able to action the data?” If the answer is “no”, kill the question.
Experience is everything. Give people a delightful survey experience, and not only will they answer questions all the way down to your last, they will gladly take your next survey too. Here’s a few handy tips on how to put survey experience first using design.
It’s essential to explain the purpose of your survey. Take the time to include some friendly text at the beginning to explain why your respondents’ answers would be helpful to you. Take them by the hand from the start to make sure they know the hows and the whys of this process. A great way to do this is adding a Welcome screen, which you can easily customize according to your organization’s style.
Last impressions matter, too. Once the survey has been filled out, take the polite route and thank your respondents for their time in a Thank You screen. Take advantage of this last communication to include links to your website, or simply make sure they know how valuable their help has been.