survey tips

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.

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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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How to Use Survey Webhooks to Meet Your Business Goals

Survey Tips

You want to meet your business goals, and the survey is a terrific way to gauge whether or not your products and services are meeting the needs of your customers.

Along with your survey is another tool called the webhook that can help further your goals.

In this article, we look at how to use survey webhooks to meet your business goals. First, let’s define the webhook.

What is a Webhook?

A webhook makes it so you can receive notifications when something happens inside of your SurveyTown account.

For example, you might get a notification that a customer completed a survey. This then allows you to do something with your data, perhaps updating your systems as well.

Webhooks can be incoming or outgoing. For incoming, you’d be notified when something happens. For outbound webhooks, the system might be sending notifications to other apps about specific events.

Once you dive in, you’ll find that webhooks are incredibly powerful. They are an effectual way to send data between two systems. Webhooks allow you to push data from one system to another.

Finally, think of webhooks as you would a relay race. When one “runner” is triggered, it starts another sequence of events. In the case of webhooks, data can pass between platforms.

What Can You Use Webhooks For?

With webhooks, you increase your businesses ability to connect with customers. Here are a few ways webhooks can help:

By using webhooks you know when a specified event took place. For example, a survey was completed.

  • Webhooks help you let another software platform know the event took place. This is that outbound webhook.
  • You can ensure that your data is synced across your platforms when you use a webhook.
  • For businesses that utilize webhooks, they find they can set off a workflow in another platform.

Webhooks Help with Customer Service

Let’s say your customer contacted you through customer service. You might want to send them a survey to see how well they liked or disliked their experience.

This is where the webhook comes in. It can trigger a customer satisfaction survey after a specific event. You’ll find this action serves to improve your business while helping you better train your staff.

The webhook allows you to better understand your customers experience and pinpoint any areas where you might improve.

In addition, you can solve problems with unhappy customers. For example, a negative survey response might trigger you to open a support case with your customer.

By following up, you show your customers you value their feedback, and you have an opportunity to change negative feelings into positive ones.

Webhooks Help You Target Customers

You’ll find that webhooks also let you analyze your customers interactions with your business.

For example, when a customer first uses your app, first makes an order or first talks with your customer service staff, you can trigger a survey.

By triggering surveys for specific segments of your customer base, you get more actionable data to help drive your business.

As another example, let’s say you want to introduce a new product. You might use a webhook to set up a survey for customers who bought something similar. The webhook allows you to survey those customers to see how likely they’d be to purchase the new product.

Final Thoughts

As you get ready to plan your webhooks, map out your customer’s journey. Decide where the best place is for the webhook.

Do consider survey fatigue and make sure you aren’t sending the same customers repetitive surveys. The last thing you want to do is bombard your valued customers’ inboxes.

Use webhooks thoughtfully and with purpose, and you’ll find you’re not only meeting your customers’ goals and needs but your own in the process. (tweet this)

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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Should You Reward Customers For Taking Surveys?

Survey Tips

There’s a fine balance between giving rewards for taking surveys and not giving them at all. The most important thing to consider is your results.

You don’t want to skew your results by offering rewards, and you certainly want to avoid tainted data as much as possible.

So, this begs this question, “Should you reward customers for taking surveys?”

First, let’s look at the distinction between reward and incentive.

Rewards vs. Incentives

An incentive is often given to respondents for completing a survey. A reward may be seen as a thank-you for finishing a survey.

This distinction may be important to consider when offering them to respondents. For example, big survey companies offer monetary incentives to random survey takers, and the results have a higher probability of being skewed.

A reward may be offered by your company to your specific customers for taking your survey, and it may be less skewed than the incentive.

So, one can deduce that it may not be the value of the incentive or reward that increases the responses, but it’s the way it’s offered that makes a difference to your respondents.

How to Decide

As you ponder the question of whether or not you should offer a reward, you want to consider the following questions:

  • Who is your target? Is it existing customers or a specific demographic? Will these people have something important to offer? If so, you might consider offering a little boost for taking your survey. Yet, if you’re sending out a blanket survey, an incentive isn’t a great idea.
  • What’s your relationship with your respondents? If you’re sending it to customers after they make a purchase, a thank you reward in the form of a coupon may be a good idea. On the other hand, you might not want to offer an incentive for a survey that isn’t specifically targeted.
  • Are people interested in my business? If so, a reward is a bonus. If they aren’t, then the reward will attract the wrong respondents.
  • How long is your survey? Short surveys don’t need a reward. A longer survey certainly merits one because you want to show respondents you value and appreciate the time it takes to fill out your survey.

When to Offer the Incentive

Should you offer it before the survey or after?

To increase your response rate, you can offer it before the survey. But, beware that this may cost more because you provide the incentive before anyone even takes your survey.

Your audience may take the incentive and leave your survey unfinished.

Conversely, offering the promise of the reward for taking your survey is a much better option because it’s a true reward provided after the work of taking the survey. 

Final Thoughts

Offering rewards for taking your surveys may make respondents more likely to complete your survey, but you want to be careful with your offer.

For example, you don’t want to attract the wrong type of respondent. Consider the boat dealership that attracts online shoppers with the wrong type of incentive or reward.

The best way to avoid problems is to know who you’re sending your survey to. The reward should match the audience. (tweet this)

This way you won’t end up with people who misrepresent themselves. These folks may not know or care about your services or products. They simply want a reward.

Offering survey rewards should be well thought out. You want to consider the survey, your audience, and the results you’re after before deciding to offer a reward. 

Finally, consider the type of reward you offer. It should fit the survey and the audience. These may be monetary, in the form of a coupon, or something that benefits a third-party like a charity. 

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 Share Survey Reports Across Your Organization

Survey Tips

You’ve done the hard work – you created, revised, tested and sent a terrific survey.

The results came in quickly and in great numbers.

You put together the data, looked at it and found that it’s high-quality, insightful and actionable.

The key word here is actionable because now that you’ve got the data, it’s time to do something with it. In this article, we look at how to share survey reports across your organization, so you can turn your data into action.

Allow Survey Access

For many businesses, it’s advantageous to have multiple users in your survey platform.

For example, Survey Town collects your survey responses and provides you with graphs and reports of your data.

Not only can you see the number of responses and view the aggregated statistics in charts, but your team can view them as well.

Allowing multi-users makes it easy for your team to manage and analyze your survey results, ultimately collaborating and deciding on action.

The bonus in Survey Town is that you can assign permissions on a per user basis. This means your team may have access to one survey but not another.

Share a Web Link

One of the easiest, most straightforward ways to share your survey results is to share a web link throughout your organization.

For example, you might send an email with a summary of your survey results exported into a spreadsheet and include a link to the data export of your survey.

This allows your employees access to the survey results and your analysis of it without giving them backend access to your survey.

Create a Presentation

Another way to share survey reports across your organization is through a presentation that you do in-person.

You can export your survey results into a presentation-ready format for presenting to your core team.

By creating an offline copy of your data, you can insert it into a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, so you can share the results to your team members.

This allows you to meet together, discuss the results in person and then brainstorm ways to take action on the data. When you provide data that is easy to read, it’s a great way to start the conversation with your employees and strategize using the data.

Now that you know how to share survey results, let’s look at why you should.

Why Share Survey Results?

One of the most important reasons you should share your survey results is because it makes you and your staff accountable to the data. It begins the conversation and encourages your staff to take action.

Another reason to share your results is education. With the data in front of them, your staff can begin an open and honest evaluation of your processes and how they affect your customers.

You and your staff can look at customer engagement and really understand how your customers view your company.

When you make the results available to your staff, you help them see the overall big picture. Everyone can begin to see and understand where your company excels and where there’s an opportunity for exploration and change.

Sharing survey results ultimately enlists buy-in from your employees and gives them a reason to improve. Your staff will feel more loyal to your brand as they all work together to change for the better.

It’s a good idea to share survey results because it opens up an avenue for a culture of continued improvement as your staff works to improve their survey data.

Final Thoughts

With several avenues available to you, you’re sure to find a way to share survey results across your organization that spurs conversation and change.

Find the way that works best for you and your team and move forward. You may even find that multiple ways are best for getting the data out to your staff. 

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 Get Links To Your Survey In Front Of Your Customers

Survey Tips

You want to provide the best customer experience possible, and one of the best ways to do this is to find out how your customers feel about their experience with your company.

A survey is an excellent way to find out if your customer service, products and overall experience are meeting the needs of your customers.

But, what happens when your survey participation rates are low because you aren’t sure how to disseminate your survey?

In this article, we look at how to get links to your survey in front of your customers.

Send an Email

One of the most efficient and commonplace ways to communicate with your customers and get your survey link to them is through your email marketing channel.

Since email is a direct line of communication with your customers, you can easily send them a link to your survey.

Your email lands right in the inner sanctum of their email box, and because you can highly target your email list, you can decide just exactly who to send your surveys to.

For example, you might choose to send a survey to only the people on your list who made a purchase in the last year. Or, perhaps you want to survey customers who haven’t made a purchase in the last year.

You also might segment your lists by demographics. Another option is to survey people who landed on a specific page of your website and not made a purchase.

Finally, perhaps you’d like to survey those on your list who chatted with your customer service staff. The possibilities with email are limitless.

It’s worth noting that your emailed surveys will most likely show the highest response rate because these are people who’ve opted in to your email list and are receptive to communication from you.

As you send your email surveys, here are a few tips to follow for the best results:

  • Use a short and specific headline to grab your customers’ attention.
  • Make the subject line seem like an exclusive, special invitation.
  • Do nothing else in your email other than explain your survey and provide the link to avoid any distractions.
  • Be brief in your description.
  • Offer your thanks and explain the incentive if you’re offering one.
  • Make your call to action button (your link to the survey) big, colorful and visible.
  • Send a follow up reminder if you have a low initial response rate.

Host Your Survey on Your Website

Another way to get links to your survey in front of your customers is by hosting the survey on your website.

By placing your survey on your website, you can invite your website visitors to complete your survey.

This can be beneficial to you because while these people may not be your customers yet, you can still gain valuable information from them.

Even though you gain information about your website visitors through your Google Analytics, you can glean even more information by posing specific questions to the people who visit your website.

How might you do this? Here are a few questions for putting surveys to work for you right on your website:

  • Create surveys for specific pages of your website. For example, you might include surveys on your product pages or your blog.
  • One survey might ask them what brought them to your website or how they learned about you. Another survey might ask them what they think of your brand-new product or what they might think of a proposed product or service.
  • In addition, you could ask them if they found your content useful or enjoyable.
  • You could also use a survey as a means to gain their contact information. Just be sure to tell them that you are doing it. There are many possibilities.

Where you place your survey is of significant importance. While you might place it right on your pages, you could also put your link in a pop-up box as visitors either land on your site or prepare to depart your site.

You can also use a survey on a follow-up page. For example, you might add a survey on your thank-you page after someone downloads something, makes a purchase or signs up for a beta of your services.

Do be sure to use a strong call to action and a very visible button.

Create a Blog

Another way to get a link out is to write a blog article and add the survey to the article.

This allows you to briefly explain why you want to conduct a survey and what you hope to gain by it. You can also return to update the blog post once you have your results.

Your blog allows you the ability to really connect with participants and encourage them to complete your survey.

Again, you want to use a strong call to action as well as a button link to your survey and text links to your survey within the blog text itself. 

Use Social Media

Another premier spot to get your survey links into the hands of your customers is through social media.

While you can link to the blog post that includes your survey link, you can also create posts that share direct links to your survey.

The benefits of social media are many. Namely, social media allows you to start a conversation and encourage feedback in a friendly, low-key manner.

When utilizing social media, include a direct link to your survey. Consider using bitly to shorten the link as a best practice.

You can also use others on social media to share your link as well. Capitalize on your influencers to share your survey link.

You might also add a drawing to your social media link to encourage more survey participation.

Final Thoughts

The value of the survey is quite unsurpassed for finding out what your customers think about your business.

In fact, a survey by the Pew Research Center says that online surveys are one of the most convenient and cost effective ways to collect data from your customers.

Yet, it can be difficult to get responses for your surveys. The best way to combat this is to have an effective plan for distribution, and then to follow up and make sure it’s working.

Use your existing digital channels and brainstorm a few others. Then, promote your survey and distribute it to elicit a higher response rate.

Finally, the most important thing to remember is to make your survey about your customers, not you. You want to learn how they feel, so tailor your questions so your customers know how much you value their opinions.

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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Rewarding Managers For Good Survey Scores

Survey Tips

Should you reward your managers for providing a superb customer experience by managing their employees well and setting the tone for improved customer encounters?

In many cases, the answer to this question is, “Yes.” While you expect your managers to excel at leading their teams, you also want to reward them when they’ve done well.

How will you know when they’ve excelled at their job? When you’ve received positive survey scores.

In this article, we look at rewarding managers for good survey scores.

Customer Service is Key

In today’s digital world where reviews are everywhere on the internet, it’s never been more important to provide the best possible customer service. It’s what separates your business from the competition.

One way to encourage your staff to provide top notch service is to reward them, and this starts with your managers.

Since you recognize the importance of providing excellent service, you want to use your surveys to find out if your customers agree that is what is happening.

By surveying respondents to learn how they feel about your service, you are immediately putting your staff on notice. This may be a cultural shift for some of them, but one that’s immensely important to your overall success.

As your managers and ultimately your entire team see that customer service is your top concern, and they note that you are going to use surveys to gauge it, they’ll soon jump on-board.

So, by rewarding managers for good survey scores, you send a strong message that customer service matters, and that you’re willing to reward staff members for helping you excel.

Tips for Succeeding with Rewards

Before you decide to reward your managers for good survey scores, you want to have the following in place:

  • Set up a training program for your managers as well as your staff so they know how to serve your customers best.
  • Create some parameters for measuring customer service through your surveys. Decide what you’d like to benchmark and what you consider good enough for rewarding your managers. They must know what’s expected if they’re going to reach your goals.
  • Make sure your surveys reflect what’s important to the customer and not necessarily to you. For example, what the customer wants out of the experience might not be what you think they want.
  • Once you receive the surveys, go through them with your managers. You want to communicate the feedback you receive so everyone understands it and places the same value on it.
  • Use your Net Promoter Score. Let it drive the change you want to see in your business. The NPS tells you the value your company has in the eyes of the consumer. This is a good way to measure the customer experience, so you can reward managers when it’s positive.
  • If the surveys aren’t positive, do you have a structure in place to identify problems and effect change? Talk to your manager and implement the proper procedures.
  • Make sure your managers have ownership of the survey results and create a plan with your team for managing the customer experience throughout the year.
  • Outline the reward program so it’s official. Give them a target to reach for and encourage them to share the “thank-you” with their staff for a job well done.

Final Thoughts

It can be beneficial for your company to reward and incentivize your managers for good survey scores.

Not only will it help your company excel at customer service, it let’s your entire staff know that a culture of “customer first” is important to you.

On the flip side, you do want to set out in writing what you’re going to do when surveys don’t come back with good scores. It pays to make your staff aware of what happens when you receive good survey scores and when you receive not-so-good scores.

Ultimately, the goal of rewarding your managers is to encourage their strong participation in your customer service goals and to improve your bottom line.

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.

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Image:  Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash