Surveys have become not only a part of every business plan but, in most cases, the basis on which companies decide whether to take upon themselves new ventures or not. In case they do, surveys are the best way to get feedback from the customers and get an insight into how well their investment is paying off. If you’re looking to start a new business or need a better understanding of your existing one, surveys can be of immense help. Once you take yourself to make a questionnaire, you need to focus on what you expect to get. It’s easy to do a good survey, but unfortunately, it’s also easy to make a bad one. Let’s go over some basic points you need to check for the survey to have a satisfying effect.
Choose the right mode
You can conduct questions in two ways: in-person and online. When a live person asks the questions, there is a human factor involved that can make all the difference in how the subjects will answer. Much of it depends on the way the person acts, speaks, and how it asks the questions, thus leaving people answering it to focus more on the questioner than the survey itself. On the other hand, the interviewer can make notes of the body language, anxiety, time that the subject takes to answer, and other various factors that can be of use.
In online questionnaires, subjects are more relaxed to answer, leaving them to read questions often, giving them a sense of absolute anonymity. Your survey will rely exclusively on the wording and design of the questions, which might deprive you of your customers’ real sentiment. Think about what is more important for you, based on your line of business and the results expected from the survey, and how many respondents you need to collect quality data. For the latter, you can get some help on ovationmr.com.
The wording of the questions
The wording of the questions is the most important thing when putting together a survey. First of all, you need to know who targeted subjects are, or simply put: know who you are asking questions to. Using a complex terminology will quickly put off your customers, either because they don’t understand the terms or don’t want to waste a lot of time on deciphering your questions. So, make it professional and simple to get more responses. Using tables and grids will most probably make your subjects leave at once. If this is not necessary, try to avoid them since they take a considerable amount of time.
Wording will also depend on whether you are having questions asked by a live person or online. In live interviews, a person can further explain the question if needed, but in online surveys, the wording is essential. The same goes for the subjects. In online multiple-choice questionnaires, they will not be able to explain their answers or go into details. To avoid confusion, ask questions about one particular problem or opinion. For example, asking: “Did you like our furniture selection?” can leave customers in doubt about what to answer. Rather, ask: “Did you like the selection of armchairs in our store?” since this will focus on a particular object, making it quicker and easier for subjects to answer. Also, don’t ask a question and offering an answer, all in one sentence. Biased questions will put pressure on the subjects and will surely discourage your customers from answering truthfully.
Order of the questions
The order in which you ask questions needs to have some logical flow. Jumping all over the page, going from one theme to another, and then back to the first one, and so on, will most likely make your respondents skip questions or give up on taking the survey altogether. Ensure that you follow the natural line of thought so that your subjects are willing to complete the questionnaire. Also, don’t ask one thing in a million different ways; respondents will get bored and quickly quit. Decide on five or ten, or maybe even twenty questions if needed, that are important for your business while keeping your respondents interested in answering. The format of the questions depends on whether you want your subjects to go into details explaining their experience. In case you do need it, ask open-ended questions, where responders will have enough space to go into specifics. On the other hand, if you just need basic data, make your questions short, offering concrete answers. Experience has shown that people are more likely to take multiple-choice surveys simply because they don’t need any excessive mental effort to complete and they are usually quick to answer.
Make it clear
To get quality information from surveys, you need to ask clear questions. For example: “What is your age?” and answers offered are: “<18, 18-25, 25-35, 35+”. What will a 25-year old answer? Avoid this, and be clear, leaving no doubt about the question. This will result in more completed surveys and gathering quality data.
Avoid different colors, fonts, and special characters when asking a question and no emojis. This will sidetrack your respondents, trying to figure out the focus that you are trying to emphasize. It adds to the confusion, and the more effort customers need to put in, the more likely they are to back down. If you are putting scales as offered answers, make sure they are always in the same order, 1-5, or 1-10. Don’t offer one scale white to black, then one from 1 to 10, and then from a smiley face to crying face, etc. Choose one method and keep it throughout the whole survey.
Keep your focus on the goal you want to achieve when conducting a survey. The type of questionnaire you choose should be based on the research objective and whether you want the study to be ongoing, or is it a one-time thing. Making a clear plan will get you valid data that might help you develop your company further.