Survey Says

Top 10 Tips for Customer Survey Design

Do you know what is really important to your customers?  Surveys can be an important tool for gauging satisfaction with your brand, and for finding out what your customers truly value.  They can be used to test loyalty and evaluate existing benefits, and the results can be used to drive program changes.

A study by SurveyMonkey offers some insights for creating surveys.  Here are the Top 10 Tips:

1. KISS – Keep It Short and Segmented

Overall survey length remains important for keeping abandon rates low. Are you excited about answering a 30-minute survey?  People will abandon a survey quickly if it is too long.   Use the fewest words to ask a question without losing its intent.

Segment your customer list and keep questions relevant to each segment.  Don’t ask will call-customers about shipping options, and don’t ask customers who have not visited in three years about comp tastings.

2. Ask Smart, Open-Ended Questions

Although it’s tempting to stick with multiple choice questions, some of the most insightful feedback will come from open-ended questions, which allow customers to share their thoughts and feelings.

The most telling question to measure loyalty is The Ultimate Question, “Would you recommend us to a friend,” followed by “What is the reason for your answer?”  While more time-consuming to compile, these answers will get to the heart of what people like/don’t like about your brand.|

3. Ask Only Actionable Questions that Meet Your Needs

Be ruthless and cut unnecessary questions from your surveys.
Every single question that you include should have a well-defined purpose and a strong reason for being included, otherwise, eliminate it.
Adding in those extra questions that you thought it couldn’t hurt to ask may cause some not to complete the survey.
Ask yourself – is it interesting or actionable?  Ask only actionable questions.

4. Ask One Question at a Time

We’ve all been hit with a series of questions before: “How did you come to visit our tasting room?  How was your experience?  Did you understand what our wine club was about?”

To get quality responses, you need to give people time to think through each individual question.

Bombarding them with multiple points to consider at once leads to half-hearted answers by respondents just looking to get through to the end, if they even stay with the survey at all.
Make things easy by sticking to one main point at a time.

5. Make Rating Scales Consistent

Common rating scales used for surveys can become confusing if the context begins to change.  Stick with the same ratings scheme: if using a scale from 1 to 5, be consistent in assigning values to those numbers.  Make “1” or “5” always the best rating in every question.  Or use behavioral terminology such as Strongly Agree / Agree / Neither Agree or Disagree / Disagree / Strongly Disagree.

6. Avoid Leading Questions

Questions that lead respondents toward a certain answer due to bias in their phrasing are not useful. Here’s the example that SurveyMonkey lists as a leading question to avoid:

We have recently upgraded SurveyMonkey’s features to become a first-class tool. What are your thoughts on the new site? 

Instead, the neutral, “What do you think of the recent SurveyMonkey upgrades?” should have been used.

7. Make Use of Yes/No

When you are asking a very simple question, ask it as a Yes/No option.  There’s no reason to get fancy.

8. Timing is Important

SurveyMonkey found the highest survey response rates occurred on Monday, Friday and Sunday.  There was no discernible difference between the response quality gathered on weekdays versus weekends, so the best bet is to seek out survey-takers first thing during a new week or to wait for the weekend.

9. Give them an Incentive

Entice customers to take your survey.  Incentives can increase response rates by 5 to 20 percent. These incentives could be a discount on their next purchase, complimentary shipping or tickets to an upcoming event.

10. Take Action

Most importantly, ACT on the survey results.  Use what you learned and show it. “You spoke, we listened” is a great thing to communicate to customers to let them know that their responses really do matter.

So what does your survey say?