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Survey Tips - How To Design An Effective Survey?

People who think getting someone to commit to marriage is hard, clearly haven’t asked a customer to complete a survey.

Even if a customer says yes, we keep the champagne on ice, because many don’t stick around to answer the full questionnaire. Sadly, being jilted around the question 20 altar is not uncommon in surveyland. Appealing for the completed document can be a very short, somewhat crushing, engagement.

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But keep faith! We’ve got some spangly tips on how to write a great survey. A survey that your customer won’t just flirt with, but will happily invest their time in. A long-term relationship kind of survey.

Here are thirteen answers to asking all the right questions…

1) Keep It Simple

Short and sweet always wins the survey war. Always. If we can simplify a question or boil it down, we need to do it. No one is going to miss superfluous words and excess detail. NO ONE.

3) Keep It Short

2) Keep It Focused

This means being mega strict with what we’re asking. If we’re trying to find out how efficient our website is, we’re wasting everyone’s time if we ask questions about our phone lines. We’re also wasting time if we start asking how pretty our homepage is. It might be sexy as hell, but it doesn’t mean it’s efficient.

3) Keep It Short

It’s a sad fact that the more questions we ask, the more customers will drop out of our surveys. We need to work out what we want to know and keep our eye on that prize. Unnecessary questions, be gone with you.

4) Avoid Leading Questions

In order to write our questions, we should absolutely brainstorm the kind of answers we’re looking for. But by no means should we dictate the nature of those answers. When writing questions, keep it neutral.

5) Be Clear

Surveys aren’t poetry. So let’s dodge fancy words with double-meanings. We want to use one trick pony words, words which mean one thing only, and have never even seen a confused face. Clarity is our friend.

6) Know Your Limits

Ranking options are helpful in a survey, but we should keep the range slim. If we tell people to rate something between 1 and 30, things start getting silly. Numbers like 5 and 12 will mean very different things to different people. Whereas ranking between 1 and 5, we all know exactly what that 4 feels like.

 7) Make Multiple Choice Manageable

If we’re going to give people multiple choice options, we have to give them exactly that: options. However, all of these options need to be distinct and different. If a customer feels torn between two multi-choice options, they might bow out in frustration. We need to strike the balance between too many and too few answers.

8) Avoid double-barreling questions

One question at a time is plenty. Let’s not go barraging people with triple-pronged enquiries. This isn’t a murder investigation.

9) A Pretty Face Helps

We can indulge in our shallow side when it comes to writing surveys. The nicer the survey looks, the more likely people will hang around to hear what it has to say. Use colour, big letters, spacing and dazzling design to lure people in.

10) The Obligatory Out and Alternative ‘Other’

There are often questions which don’t apply to everyone. We need to give people an ‘out’ on these, so they can skip over them like a lamb in spring.

We also always need to give people an ‘other’ option in case we haven’t covered all bases in the answer options. But no skipping here! To help colour in this grey area for future, we should leave a space for the customer to explain what ‘other’ means for them.

11) Timing Is Everything

With surveys, it’s all about picking the right moment. Presuming we’re going to appeal to our customers post purchase, we need to decide if this will be in an email, a pop-up, or another channel. This is a decision which needs love, like asking someone out on a second date. When you don’t know what someone’s opinion is yet, that stuff takes timing if you’re looking for a BIG FAT YES.

12) Language

A survey should feel like a fluid part of our customer’s experience, not an awkward add-on. We need to make sure our language reflects that. Leave inconsistent lingo at the door.

13) Test Drive

The best way to know if we’ve nailed all of these points is to get someone to test-drive our surveys. That way we can rewrite the questions they pull faces about and hesitate over. And we know the ones they fly through are keepers.

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Are you feeling survey savvy?

Unlike the resulting dream surveys, we appreciate this guide to writing them is a lot to digest. Crafting a survey takes time, testing and shrewd decision making. The marriage metaphor has never been so apt.

Let us help, we’re old romantics at heart and love that kind of thing.

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About the Author
Suzy Hyatt
Author: Suzy Hyatt
Head of Client Services

With over 12 years of experience at Adexchange, Suzy oversees the Account Management and Production teams, ensuring the planning and delivery of all our projects are completed to the highest standard.

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Adexchange Media Limited
Company number: 04344957

The Old Garage, Great Milton, Oxfordshire, OX44 7NP