Whether for a customer satisfaction survey or for a new product marketing survey, we know that having simply stated questions is key to having an effective survey. You’ll want to maximize your learning potential, and question phrasing is crucial. When writing questions for your next survey, have these tips in mind.
1. Direct Questions
Use simple language so that anyone can understand your meaning. Your goal should be that anyone who hears the question will immediately understand without needing the question repeated.
2. Use Your Words!
You’ll want to use words that have clear, unambiguous meanings that leave nothing to the imagination. Consider that a word like “most” can mean different things to different people when they use their own contexts. Using words with more direct meanings, such as “almost all” or “the majority” will yield more accurate results.
3. Take it Easy with Ranking Questions
Limit the number of options for questions asking customers to rank in order of importance.
4. Multiple Choice Should Not Have More than One Answer!
Although there may not be a correct answer for a multiple choice question on a survey, having unambiguous options is key to getting accurate data. If you’re doing a demographics survey, you don’t want to give age options such as “18-25”, “25-35”, “35-45”, etc. 25 and 35-year-olds won’t know which option to choose and your data will not be as accurate as it could be.
5. One Question, per Question, please!
Avoid what are termed “double-barreled” questions, where a customer must account for 2 questions within a single question. “Is this tool interesting and useful?” is a good example – the tool may be interesting, or useful, or both, but the customer can only answer for both. More accurate data can be gathered by phrasing it into two separate questions.
6. Use “Not Applicable” as a Legitimate Option
It may be inappropriate to use “not applicable” or “don’t know” as an option when you reasonably expect that a customer could answer the question. But for others, offering them an out helps you gain accurate survey results.
7. All in the Past
Don’t make your customers try to remember things in the distant past. Some of us don’t even remember what we had for dinner last night! Keep recall expectations short to improve survey accuracy.
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