Tips for Creating Effective Surveys

We all want feedback on our work and products/services, don’t we? Sending out a survey to your customers can be a straightforward tool to get answers, but it’s not always as easy as it seems – both in creating the survey and analyzing the results. When it works, it’s wonderful to receive feedback from those who matter most to us as business owners – our customers. But there are some things to consider so that, as the survey creator, you can gather the information and responses you need. Here are some simple and quick tips we’d like to share:

  • First and foremost, think about the purpose of sending out a survey. What do you want to get answers to? Do you want to conduct a general customer survey, asking about their preferences or their perception of your company? Do you want feedback on a specific effort? The questions can be many, but it’s important that the purpose is clear and evident to those who will respond to the survey.
  • Who do you want to answer the questions? Is it all customers, or are you more interested in specific ones? Is it the general public, those who are not your customers yet but could potentially become? Then it’s important to choose your questions carefully. Sometimes, it may be best not to ask open-ended questions, as the answers can be difficult to interpret and may not be useful to you. Yes-or-no questions can be too narrow and leading. Instead, provide response options that allow for a broader understanding of the respondent’s opinion, but not too many options – just a few well-thought-out ones. The same applies to the total number of questions, as you want as many people as possible to respond to your survey. A low response rate can lead to misleading results.
  • Many entice respondents by offering incentives to complete the survey, and it can certainly increase participation. Keep in mind to offer something relevant to the target audience you want to respond.
  • There is much to consider when analyzing the results; after all, a survey is just an indication of the actions you need to take. Sometimes, it may be a good idea to conduct a follow-up survey later to see if the actions taken after the initial survey have yielded results. It all depends on the design and purpose of the survey.