survey questions

How to Know If You Have “Good Survey Questions”

Survey Tips

You’ve done your research. You’ve drafted your questions, and you think you’re ready to send your survey.

But, how do you know it’s good enough to elicit the kinds of responses you need?

While online survey tools make it easy to send surveys, you still need to do the legwork and create a survey that actually works. This requires careful planning.

Without it, you may not get the meaningful data you’re looking for.

To help you evaluate your survey, in this article, we look at how to know if you have “good survey questions.”

Take a look at the following and then look at your survey questions. If they meet these qualifications, you have good survey questions.

Have a Goal

Do you have a goal for your survey? It’s best practice to have a goal in mind before you start crafting your survey questions.

For example, ask yourself about the objective of your survey. What’s the most important thing you want to know? What else are you looking for?

Once you have your goal, you can craft questions to go with it.

Keep It Simple

We can almost promise you that your customers won’t answer long surveys (unless the reward is overly beneficial).

Because of this, you want to keep your survey as simple as possible. If your survey is simple, and short, you’re more likely to have a larger pool or respondents.

People are busy, and you want to provide them easy access to your survey. Make sure they can complete your survey in under 10 minutes. (tweet this)

If you want to ensure the best results, keep your survey well under five minutes. Show your respondents you care and respect their time, otherwise your abandonment rate will skyrocket. 

Stay Away from Yes/No Questions

Otherwise known as a polar question, the yes/no question in most instances isn’t going to provide you much data.

With this question there are only two possible answers, and that is all you’re going to get.

You leave your respondents without a voice. They can’t tell you what they think, and they have no other choice by yes or no. It may be they are somewhere in between.

What’s more, this question is leading. If your respondent isn’t squarely in the yes or no corner, they are forced to pick one of those answers, creating bias.

You’re after real, authentic data, and the polar question isn’t the way to get it.

If you are really set on a closed-ended type of question like this, at least give your respondents multiple items to choose from. The multiple choice question is certainly a better option because you are giving them more choices.

In addition, you may also want to include a line for “other,” so they can add their own answer. After all, you may not have thought of all possible answers. 

Use the Right Type of Question

When working with surveys, you’ll note there are many different types of questions.

In order to get the best data, you want to use the right type of question.

Qualitative questions are open-ended. Use these types of questions when you want a written answer.

Quantitative questions are closed-ended, and you offer options for respondents. These may include:

  • Check boxes
  • Drop down menus
  • Radio buttons
  • Rating scales
  • Ranking scales

Often, you’ll find that a mix of questions is ideal for your needs. You might even follow up with an open-ended question after a respondent answers a closed-ended question in a particular way.

Use Open-Ended Questions

This type of question can be very valuable because your respondents provide a comment. It can be one sentence or many and often gives you insight into how your survey respondents really feel about your business or your products.

The open-ended question allows you to really dig deep for data.

As we just mentioned, not all of your questions have to be open-ended nor should they be. Consider one or two open-ended questions so as not to overly tax your respondents. 

Do be careful when wording this question. You want to ensure you aren’t leading respondents to a particular answer. 

Ask One Thing in Each Question

This is a problem that derails many survey writers.

It happens when someone writes a question that actually includes more than one question. For example:

  • Do you like product x? What is your favorite thing about it? How is it beneficial?

Not only are you asking too many similar questions, but you’re confusing your respondents.

If it was open-ended, you might expect to only get one of your questions answered.  If it was closed-ended, your respondents wouldn’t know what to answer, so your data will be skewed.

Each question should pose only one thing. Don’t make it hard for respondents to answer you accurately and precisely.

You might reword the above example like this: “What do you find most beneficial about product x?”

Don’t Use Leading Words

Great writers know that words can have very different meanings depending on their context.

Good survey writers are aware of the same nuances.

In order to get the most precise data from your survey, be very careful with your wording. Make sure your questions aren’t leading and that they say exactly what you mean.

Have others look over your questions to see if they interpret them differently than you meant them.

Avoid Double-Barreled Questions

Similar to the leading question, this one shows great bias.

For example, if you own a hotel, a double-barreled question might look like this: “Is our hotel your favorite place to stay?” Or, “What is the most economical hotel for you to stay at?”

Not only are these questions leading, but in the case of the last question, one person’s economical isn’t always the same as another. 

Final Thoughts

Some sources attribute the following to Albert Einstein, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask… for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

As you craft your survey and look for good survey questions that produce the best data, consider this quote.

If you ask the right questions and in the right manner, you’re sure to get the data you’re looking for to meet your overall goals. 

Surveys help you make the best decisions for your business. Are you ready to get started with your free Survey Town trial? Start with your free account today, and you can upgrade at any time.

Image: rawpixel on Unsplash

5 Unique Survey Questions

Survey Tips

Surveys are a terrific way to gather vital information for your business. You may have already started surveying your customers with this popular data-collection method.

You may have found that surveys can help you survey large groups of people in a cost-effective manner. Perhaps you’re getting ready to send another survey, and you’d like to send one that isn’t predictable or boring.

Asking unexpected, fun questions is a great way to encourage more survey responses. You might find that shaking things up a bit increases your response rates.

We put together this list of five unique survey questions so you an reduce your survey abandonment rates and encourage more respondents to not only start your survey but finish it.

#1: Picture Question – Choose One

The image choice question is fun for respondents, and it’s especially useful for your more visual customers.

This type of question is a simple, closed-ended question where your survey respondents can choose from one or more image answers.

You provide the images, and they are free to pick their favorite(s).

We like the image-based question because it’s highly interactive for your survey respondents and encourages engagement. This is especially helpful if your customers are suffering from survey fatigue.

Because your customers are hit every day with surveys, the interactive image-based question can energize your customers and make them want to complete your survey. This can reduce your survey abandonment rate and increase your response rate.

The picture question can help you break through the survey clutter and show your customers their opinions matter.

#2: The Constant Sum Question

With this distinctive survey question, you allow your respondents to express how valuable or important something is to them.

A constant sum survey question helps you collect a ratio of data showing it in comparison to other data.

For example, you might offer respondents a sliding scale that they can move themselves. You could ask them to show how likely they are to do a series of things.

Let’s say you own a clothing store, and you want to know how likely your customers are to spend money on individual items. They can move the slider showing how they spend their money. You might ask them to slide the scale on the following:

  • Pants
  • Shirts
  • Undergarments
  • Pajamas
  • Jewelry
  • Hats and Belts
  • Shoes

You can use this question when you are relatively sure your customers will make a purchase from you, but you want to know on what.

#3: Upload a File

There are times when you may really want to engage your survey respondents and asking them to upload a file on their cellphone is one way to do this.

Perhaps you’re looking for photos, documents or other information. If so, you can add an upload question to your survey.

Using this question allows your respondents to not only provide you a survey response but upload a file as well. It allows you to collect data that might not be available to you through standard survey questions.

While your customers will find this question fairly easy to deal with, you want to make sure to restrict the type of file your respondents can upload. For example, if you’re looking for an image, you don’t want them to upload a spreadsheet.

Be sure to provide hints and tips for users who may not be well-versed in mobile uploads.

#4: Reword the Question

Another way to make your surveys more unique is to get your creative juices working. Find fun ways to rewrite your standards survey questions so they inspire your respondents and elicit higher response rates.

Consider this survey question example:

How likely are you to purchase this product again?

  • Heck yeah!
  • Stuck in the middle.
  • Wishy washy.
  • No way.

By using clever choices, you give your customers a smile and create a survey they might actually want to complete.

Note, though, that this doesn’t work for all survey questions, and you should remain serious where it’s called for and if your industry wouldn’t work well with a bit of creativity.

Know your audience and use your best judgement.

#5: Throw in Some Humor

Yes, surveys are important for your data collection, and you don’t want to venture too far away from getting your results, but in the right circumstances you can consider using a little humor.

For example, if you have a long survey of 10 questions, and you want to add a bit of levity to the seriousness of it, you might through in a humorous question in the middle.

Do make sure the question still gathers data but ask it in a unique way. Perhaps halfway through your long survey, you might ask customers, “Are you tired yet?”

For the answers, make it apply to your business:

  • Choice #1: Yes! I’m as tired as I was walking from one end of your store to the other to find what I needed.
  • Choice #2: Of course not, you would never tire me.

From this question/answer, you add some humor, but you’re still able to take away vital data. If they chose choice #1, you might rethink your store layout for ease of use.

Bottom line have fun with your wording but do make sure you’re still getting valuable data about your customers’ experience with you. (tweet this)

Final Thoughts

Hilary Swank, a well-known actress, said, “If I’m going to do something different, and if I want it to meet someone’s needs, I really need to go the distance.”

If you take this quote to heart, you can see how important it is to first, survey your customers so you ensure you’re meeting their needs. Second, you want to create a survey that is engaging enough your customers will want to take it.

One way to do this is to throw in some unique survey questions to increase your response rate and engage your best customers.

Now that you have some survey questions to help you step out of your response, you’re well on your way to getting responses while making your customers feel that you went the extra mile to make sure their survey experience was one of a kind.

Surveys help you make the best decisions for your business. Are you ready to get started with your free Survey Town trial? Start with your free account today, and you can upgrade at any time.

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Why Embedding Questions Gets More Survey Results

Survey Tips

One of the best ways to increase your survey response rates is to embed the questions right in your email marketing software.

Why does this increase your response rate? You see higher response rates because your respondents don’t have to leave their email to take your survey. They can answer it right in the virtual comfort of their inbox.

This is different than putting a link in your email, and it eliminates an extra step for survey takers.

In this article we look at why embedding questions gets more survey results.

Why are Response Rates Higher?

Response rates for emails with embedded survey questions are often higher for several reasons:

  1. As your respondent clicks to answer your question, they have already invested their time and are compelled to complete your survey. There is less chance of large dropout rates.
  2. Your respondents are more likely to answer a single question in your email than invest the time to click through to a long survey.

What is the Best Question?

Surveys embedded in emails generally see a much higher response rate than when you send a link to your survey. (tweet this)

Because of this, you want to ask the question that is the most important to your company. In many instances, this would be your Net Promoter question, “How likely are you to recommend our business to others.”

You’re sure to come up with other one-question surveys that fit your needs, but it’s a good idea to keep embedded surveys to no more than three questions.

Final Thoughts

Email is a powerful vehicle for your surveys. Nearly everyone checks their email, and by embedding your survey questions right in your email, you increase your chances of a response.

Embedding the survey reduces a perceived barrier to completing the survey. Your respondents can complete it immediately upon opening their email. They don’t have to click a link away from their email and take extra steps to complete your survey.

This is a bonus for your business and can help you learn more from your surveys while making it easier for your customers. 

Surveys help you make the best decisions for your business. Are you ready to get started with your free Survey Town trial? Start with your free account today, and you can upgrade at any time.

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10 Questions for Your Guest Evaluation

Survey Tips

Sending a survey after someone stays at your hotel or bed and breakfast is a fairly commonplace marketing tool.

If you aren’t currently sending a guest evaluation, or if you’d like to give your survey a refresh, this article includes 10 questions for your guest evaluation.

These are questions you can use to see where you are excelling, or perhaps where you can improve your business.

Your reputation depends on what people are saying about you, and if you don’t know how they really feel, you have nothing on which to base your improvements. (tweet this) This is why a guest evaluation survey is so important for the hospitality field.

With many of the questions below, you can choose to offer open-ended questions as well as ratings questions or closed-ended questions where users can choose more than one answer.

Consider what you really want to know before deciding on the question type.

#1: Why Did You Choose to Stay at This Hotel?

By asking this question, you get a good idea of whether it was an online search, price, word of mouth, reviews, repeat customer or something else.

Provide choices for your customers and let them check as many as they’d like because it could be multiple reasons.

#2: Tell Us About the Front Desk Staff?

These employees provide the first impression for your guests, and they set the tone for the entire stay.

Let respondents rate the front desk staff. If the response was negative, provide another question so they can say why.

#3: How was the Check-In Process?

This question lends itself to an initial closed ended question.

You might ask respondents how satisfied they were with the check-in process with choices like: very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, dissatisfied and very dissatisfied.

Yet, you could employ conditional logic to gather more information in the form of an open-ended question.

For example, if they answered satisfied or very satisfied, you would send them to a question asking them why.

If they answered on the opposite end, you certainly want to know what happened, so you’d ask for details.

#4: Was Your Room Clean Upon Arrival?

This is a simple question and usually a yes or no answer is just fine.

But, again, you want to employ conditional logic if survey respondents answer with a no response.

Push further to find out what wasn’t up to par. This helps you better train your housekeeping staff to meet the needs of your guests.

With regard to clean rooms, it’s worth noting that this is one of the most important items to your hotel guests when it comes to choosing accommodations.

#5: How Did the Housekeeping Staff Do During Your Stay?

With this question, you would use a ratings scale.

For example, your question might look like this:

The housekeeping staff did an excellent job cleaning my room.

o Strongly agree

o Agree

o Neutral/Not sure

o Disagree

o Strongly disagree

If they answer that they disagree, move them on to another question so you can learn about the problems they encountered.

#6: Did You Use Any of the Amenities? If so, which ones?

This is an important question, because you really want to know if they used your business center, swimming pool, hot tub, exercise room, restaurant, etc.

So, the best way to do this question is to provide a list of all of your amenities so they can check the boxes of all that apply.

You could follow this question up with a “Why didn’t you use X amenity,” if you want to learn how important individual ones are to your hotel guests.

#7: Was Your Bed Comfortable?

This is another important item to your hotel guests. While it might not be what makes them make the initial reservation, you can bet that it is a determining factor when they decide the following:

  • Whether or not to return to your property.
  • What kind of online review they’ll write.
  • If they recommend you to others.

So, ask this question. Then, take a look at your results over a few months. If the answer is most often a no, then you want to work new beds into your next budget.

#8: Did You Enjoy Breakfast?

If you serve breakfast, this is an important question to ask because it’s vital to the overall impression your guests have of your property.

While this can be a yes or no question, you certainly want to follow it up with conditional logic.

The end goal is to find what they enjoyed about the breakfast. You might find no one likes oatmeal, so you can remove it from your offerings.

You also want to know what they like to ensure it stays on your menu.

#9: How was the Check-Out Process?

Just like the question you asked about the check-in process, you want to know about the check-out process.

This includes things like:

  • Was your bill accurate?
  • Did you check out online?
  • Did you go to the front desk to check out?
  • How was the front desk staff?
  • Were there enough luggage racks for you?
  • Did you find the parking adequate for ease of getting your bags to the car?

#10: How Likely Are You to Recommend Our Hotel to Others?

Finally, this is the ultimate question on your list. This is the meat of your guest evaluation.

Why? Because when all is said and done, you want to know if you succeeded in making your guest’s stay so wonderful that they will recommend you to others.

This question is what makes up your Net Promotor Score. It’s what lets you gauge the loyalty of your customer.

Did you go far enough to build a great relationship?

If the answer to this question is less than satisfactory, you have a problem on your hands and one that must be solved quickly.

Final Thoughts

The hospitality business is based on reputation, digital reviews and even word of mouth.

To make sure that your hotel or bed and breakfast is getting a five-star rating and reputation online, you want to know what your guests think. The best way to do this is through a guest evaluation survey.

The 10 questions included here will help you determine whether or not your property is making the grade. You will get insight on where you excel and where you can improve.

In the hospitality business, anything under a four-star rating will give your guests pause, so it pays to conduct a guest evaluation so you can make quick, positive corrections to ensure five stars show up for you each time.

Surveys help you make the best decisions for your business. Are you ready to get started with your free Survey Town trial? Start with your free account today, and you can upgrade at any time.

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How to Achieve Balance in A Survey

Survey Tips

The purpose of a good survey is to dig deep to learn what your customers really think about your products or services and your customer service.

You want to provide a survey to your customers that not only meets their usability needs, but one that meets yours.

The results you are looking for are in-depth and reliable. To do this, you must create a balanced survey that asks the right questions.

In this article, we look at how to achieve balance in a survey.

Watch for Bias

Your first step in achieving balance in a survey is writing open-ended survey questions that avoid bias.

This means staying away from questions that bias respondents towards one answer.

Biased questions ruin your survey’s reliability because the answers you receive aren’t accurate. 

What does a biased question look like? Here’s an example:

We love our new cleaning solution. How wonderful do you think it is?

While this may be an extreme example of bias, you can see how this pressures respondents to come up with a positive answer.

This is not only off-putting to respondents, but it skews your data.

One way to fix this question is to write one like this: How does our new cleaning solution work for you?

This puts the focus on the cleaning solution, and leaves respondents able to answer positively or negatively.

By eliminating any biased wording, you take out your own opinions and leave the answer wide open for respondents.

Your other option would be to re-frame the question, while adding another option so your survey remains balanced. Consider these two questions:

How helpful is our new cleaning solution?

What about our new cleaning solution hasn’t met your needs?

On their own, these questions are biased. When set side-by-side, they provide balance.

Provide a Balanced Scale

Your next step is using a balanced scale when creating your closed-ended survey questions.

When posing questions on a balanced scale, you ask respondents to answer a question based on a balanced ratings system. For example, your question might be:

Rate your experience with our new cleaning solution:

The choices you provide are very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, neither satisfied or dissatisfied, satisfied, very satisfied. 

This is a balanced scale because there are two options on each side of neutral – one moving in the positive direction and one moving in the negative direction.

In a balanced scale, both the negative and positive categories must be equal. If they aren’t, you might end up with survey bias because you are leading respondents to a particular answer.

The mid-point must be between to equal sides to avoid “forcing” respondents to answer in a way they don’t really feel. This can create a sub-conscious bias.

Keep your scale balanced so you don’t get inaccurate results or misleading data that ruins the accuracy of your survey. (tweet this)

How do you know what kind of scale to use? First, more categories aren’t always the best scenario. Give respondents too many choices, and you again run the risk of unreliable data because the choices are so overwhelming, the respondent just picks an answer.

When it comes to balanced scales, less is often better as long as there is enough difference between the choices, and the positives and negatives are balanced.

Your categories need to be distinctive to avoid data problems, but not so far apart that respondents wished there was another choice. 

Final Thoughts

For the most reliable and usable data, keep your survey balanced.

Whether you take all bias out of your questions, or you offer two alternatives, one positive and one negative, you allow your respondents the freedom to answer truthfully about how they really feel.

To achieve balance in a survey, keep all of your own thoughts and opinions out of your questions so you can get true and accurate responses.

Surveys help you make the best decisions for your business. Are you ready to get started with your free Survey Town trial? Start with your free account today, and you can upgrade at any time.

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9 Of The Most Common Survey Questions

Survey Tips

Wondering what your customers think of your business, your staff, and your product and services? The best way to find out is through a survey.

Surveys help you gather data and analyze it so you can take action if necessary. They have the ability to help you increase your business while strengthening your relationship with your customers.

To help you make the most out of your next survey, we look at nine of the most common survey questions and review their effectiveness. 

#1: The Open-Ended Survey Question

The open-ended survey question is perhaps the most effective survey question because it provides you with the most information. (tweet this)

With this question, the sky’s the limit when it comes to answers.

You use the open-ended survey question when you really want to dig deep into how your respondents feel about your company, your brand, your products and services, and your customer service and staff.

This question allows respondents to answer the question in as much detail as they want.

#2: The Dichotomous Question

Generally speaking, this is the common yes or no question.

For example, you might ask, “Have you used our products in the last year?”

Respondents are then given the option to simply answer yes or no.

As for the effectiveness of this type of question, it’s beneficial if the only answer you want is yes or no. If you want to screen respondents out and send them on or dump them out of your survey, this question works.

Many people use this type of question to make sure only “qualified” people are taking their survey.

In the above example, you’d respond to survey takers who answered no, they haven’t used your products, with a thank you message and the end of the survey.

Those who answered yes, they have used your products, would continue on.

#3: The Multiple-Choice Question

Another common survey question is the multiple-choice question that consists of three or more answer choices.

With this question, you might ask respondents which products or services they’ve used. For example, the question might be “What is your favorite product of ours that you’ve used in the last year?”

You would then give them three-ten choices and they choose one.

We recommend adding in an “other” category for certain questions to make sure you cover all your bases.

Like the dichotomous question, this is also a good question for which you can use conditional logic. Depending on their answer, you can send them off into various directions to answer different survey trains.

#4: The Rating Scale Question

A very common type of survey question, the rating scale asks survey respondents to rate their experiences.

It might be a product, a service or how the customer felt about something. The key to this question is a scale, usually from something that was very bad to very good.

This question is effective if you just want to know how your customer perceives your product or service.

The most common form of ratings question uses the Likert Scale. When responding to this question, your survey participants specify their level of agreement or disagreement.

#5: The Rank Order Question

You’ve probably answered this type of question many times.

With the rank order question, you might list five of the services you offer and ask respondents to rank them in order of their usefulness.

This question is effective in that it allows you to prioritize your marketing dollars into the services that people find the most valuable.

#6: The Demographic Question

Common and important, most surveys include the demographic questions.

Why do you want to ask these questions? They’re vital to the data you collect.

With the demographic survey questions, you learn the age, gender, income, race, geographical location, number of children, education level and much more of your respondents.

This helps you filter your results by demographic items.

For example, you might find that most of your respondents with children feel differently about your products than those without. Or, you might learn that people at a certain income level had a different experience with your service than others.

You have a more accurate view of your respondents once you have demographic data. This helps you understand your customer and in turn market to them more effectively.

#7: The Single Select Question

This type of question allows you to ask your respondents to choose from preconfigured options. In this instance, they only choose one.

For example, you ask, “What is your favorite food?” They can choose from pizza, burgers, steak and chicken fingers, but they are only allowed to select one.

Based on this answer, if you own a restaurant, you might add more of this type of food to your menu.

This is a closed or forced-choice question. It’s effective when you want very specific data.

#8: The Multi Select Question

This is just like the single select question, except your respondents can choose as many options as they’d like.

In the previous example, if you made it multi select, respondents could choose each one of your food items.

This question can be effective if a broad amount of data is acceptable.

#9: The Semantic Differential Scale Question

Another type of ratings question, this common survey question asks respondents to rate your company, service or product using a seven-point scale. At each opposing end is a completely opposite description.

For example, one choice would be very likely, while the other choice would be very unlikely. Respondents would choose on the scale of seven, from 1 being very unlikely to seven being very likely.

This question is perhaps not the most effective because the middle ground is very vague.

To Conclude

Now that you know nine of the most common survey questions and their level of effectiveness, you’re ready to start building your survey.

Before you do, though, here are a few more tips to building the perfect and most successful survey.

  1. Know your objective. Narrow down what you want to know from your customers and what you’re willing and able to take action on. Then, tailor your survey around this topic only.
  2. Keep your survey short. For the best data, keep your survey to no more than five minutes. This generally means asking fewer than 10 questions.
  3. Include a balance of closed-ended and open-ended questions and make sure the question style fits your query.
  4. Ask only one thing per question. If you ask two things in one question, you end up with skewed data, and you confuse your respondents.
  5. Be careful of question bias. Have others proof your survey before sending it out to avoid leading and biased questions.

Finally, do take action on your survey results and let your respondents know what you learned from the survey and what you intend to do about it. 

Surveys help you make the best decisions for your business. Are you ready to get started with your free Survey Town trial? Start with your free account today, and you can upgrade at any time.

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The Art Of Asking The Right Questions

Survey Tips

Interestingly, to get the answers you seek, you first have to ask the right questions. In fact, this is the goal of effective communicators and data collectors.

To help you get the best survey responses, we look at the art of asking the right questions.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

One of the best ways to ask the right question is to pose an open-ended question to your survey respondents.

If you really want an honest answer to your question, you want to ask a what or a how question. For example:

  • What do you think of product x after you’ve used it for several weeks?
  • How do you feel our team met your service needs?
  • How can we change the product to better meet your needs?
  • What do you think of your interaction with our sales team member?

You don’t want to ask leading questions that prompt a respondent to answer in a specific way. Instead, use the open-ended question to elicit the most honest, thoughtful answers.

Ask Purposeful Questions

Another trick to asking the right questions is to be purposeful in your survey.

Don’t just ask questions for the purpose of asking questions or filling your survey. Sometimes asking one-three questions is enough, especially if you’re asking the right ones.

You should only ask questions that provide you more information and a better understanding of how your products, systems and team are doing.

It’s imperative that you only post questions that you intend to take action on. 

Final Thoughts

To master the art of asking the right question, simplicity is a good rule of thumb.

This helps you communicate effectively and gather the most useful data.

Ask only what you really need to know and explain your question in the most succinct way possible.

This ensures you end up with actionable data so you can use your survey responses to improve your business. 

Surveys help you make the best decisions for your business. Are you ready to get started with your free Survey Town trial? Start with your free account today, and you can upgrade at any time.

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Top 8 Challenges With Designing Accurate Surveys

Survey Tips

Surveys are an effective way to collect data from your customers. They are helpful in evaluating your offerings and finding ways to make changes for the better.

Yet, some people struggle with survey design and creation and create surveys that aren’t giving them the most accurate results.

To help you learn how to generate the best surveys, we look at the top eight challenges with designing accurate surveys and provide you the solutions you need.

Challenge #1: Missing the Purpose

One of the biggest challenges with designing accurate surveys is knowing the purpose behind it or narrowing it down.

A poor survey will have questions that aren’t related and seemingly have no purpose.

The Solution:

The problem is solved by knowing the purpose of your survey. Before you start creating your survey, you want to ask yourself a few vital questions:

  • What do I need to know?
  • Why do I need to know it?
  • What will I do with my results?

Once you can answer these questions, the purpose of your survey will be clear, and with a clear purpose, more people are likely to complete your survey.

Challenge #2: Using Question Bias

The next thing we look at is the problem of question bias. This means that you are asking questions in such a way that you’ll get the answers you’re looking for.

In other words, you are “prompting” respondents.

For example, a political organization conducts a survey. To influence their results, they ask their questions in carefully crafted ways to elicit the answers they want.

The Solution:

Leading questions not only hurt your survey/poll results, but they also ruin your trustworthiness factor. (tweet  this)

The best way to avoid question bias is to take your emotions out of the survey. If you need, have someone else help you craft the questions so they aren’t leading respondents to a specific answer. Or, have others review your survey.

Challenge #3: Measuring Too Many Things

Along with the purpose of your survey, you have to know what you’re measuring and how.

If you don’t know this, you’ll end up measuring too many things or the wrong things, and it will be hard to analyze your data.

The Solution:

Deciding what to measure is in direct correlation to the objectives of your survey.

For example, if you want to learn about how respondents feel about your company and your customer service, you measure the net promoter score.

Know the purpose of your survey, and then decide what you want to measure. Don’t measure too many things at one time. This also helps you manage your data and helps ensure you can take action on your results.

Challenge #4: Using a Biased Selection

Why is selection bias a challenge when designing accurate surveys?

Selection bias is a problem because it shows responses that don’t reflect a representative sample of your population.

While you want a statistically valid sample size, you don’t want one that is too large and irrelevant. If your sample size is too large, the responses you get may not accurately reflect your targeted population.

For example, let’s say you try to survey people in a rural area by sending them an online survey. Your selection is biased because many of those people won’t have an Internet connection.

Or, you want to survey people with children, but you include singles and those without children.

The Solution:

To design an accurate survey and avoid selection bias, you must target a population that fits the goals of your survey.

You don’t want to include, or exclude, the wrong participants, or your data will be skewed.

Define your target population and stick with it. Make sure you have a clearly defined idea of what you want in a respondent. This helps you frame your survey in a more accurate way.

The source of your target group is much more important than the size of your group. A small group of 100 people who match your target will give you better data than 1000 random people who may have no frame of reference for your survey.

A final note – don’t forget to use disqualifying logic to filter out respondents who really aren’t part of your targeted sample population.

Challenge #5: Getting Duplicate Responses

Some people run into the issue of getting duplicate responses.

This skews your survey data because you have the same person completing your survey more than once.

How does this happen? It’s a common occurrence when surveys come with an incentive, and your respondents want more than one of what you’re offering.

Or, they may want to take your survey multiple times to increase their chances of winning your drawing or getting other benefits.

The Solution:

Solve the issue of duplicate responses by using vote protection so respondents can only take your survey one time.

Challenge #6: Creating a Lengthy Survey

When you create a survey that is too long, you have higher dropout rates, and this affects your response rates.

People are more likely to abandon a long, involved survey than one with just a few questions.

The Solution:

The best solution to this problem is to know your purpose and what you want to measure and then craft your questions.

Keep your survey to 10 questions or less. This usually means respondents can complete your survey in less than 10 minutes.

Challenge #7: Mixing Up Your Wording

Surveys with complicated wording are hard for people to complete. It’s also bad form to ask two questions in one.

Both of these issues don’t help you with accurate survey creation.

The Solution:

Be diligent when writing your questions.

For example, don’t ask two questions in one like this: “Do you like our tacos and our fajitas?” Regardless of the answer, you have no idea what they really like.

You also want to write clear, concise and simple questions. If respondents can’t understand your question, they can’t accurately answer it.

Bottom line – stick to one topic per sentence, use short sentences and don’t use technical jargon.

Challenge #8: Using Irrelevant Questions

If you ask irrelevant questions, you can count on an inaccurate survey.

Don’t ask respondents questions you don’t really care about or that have nothing to do with the purpose of your survey.

In addition, don’t include questions that don’t pertain to the respondent.

The Solution:

Avoid asking irrelevant questions by using the following as your guide:

  • Use question logic for consecutive questions. For example, if you ask a question, and the respondent answers “no,” don’t send them to the question for people who answered “yes.”
  • Don’t ask questions that move away from your purpose.
  • You also don’t want to include questions that you don’t intend to take action on.

To Conclude

We’ve looked at the top eight challenges with designing accurate surveys, and now you have our top solutions.

You’ll find that when you put these solutions to practice you end up with more accurate surveys and clean data. This helps you draw accurate conclusions that you can then act on for the betterment of your business.

Surveys help you make the best decisions for your business. Are you ready to get started with your free Survey Town trial? Start with your free account today, and you can upgrade at any time.

Image: Rohit Tandon