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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Include a balance of closed-ended and open-ended questions and make sure the question style fits your query.
- 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.
- 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.
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Image: Ken Treloar on Unsplash