Writing Effective Surveys

When it comes to engaging with customers in productive dialogue, surveys are one of the most effective tools in determining what’s working in a business, what needs to be improved, and where loyal clients are eager for change. Whether your business is riding high on success or searching for new and more powerful approaches to revitalize your brand and offerings, effective surveys provide the crucial information you need to maintain your competitive edge or creative innovative and lucrative changes.

Even if you understand the power of surveys, though, fine-tuning your questions to achieve the most comprehensive and accurate results can be a challenge. Read on to learn more about the kinds of questions that work (and that don’t!) and how to create surveys that will engage your customers and deliver results you can use.

How Customers Read Surveys

Whether your customers are filling out a survey out of the kindness of their hearts or to receive an incentive, you should make the job as easy as possible for them. A short, focused survey will always net more (and more useful) responses than a long, complex survey full of open-ended questions. When preparing a survey, the focus should be on keeping the questions clear, intuitive, and concise.

Questions to Ask

As you write your questions, there are a few things to keep in mind: employee-feedback-surveys

  • Directness: Keep questions as clear and direct as possible. If a question becomes complicated or might have multiple parts, think about breaking it up into two or more separate questions.
  • Simplicity: Avoid jargon, abbreviations, and ambiguity that could confuse readers. Try to make questions easy to answer with a Yes, No, or other short responses. Open-ended questions that require long explanations only create more work for your customers and are generally less useful in providing effective direction once your survey is complete.
  • Consistency: If your survey relies on a rating scale (e.g. from 1 to 10), make sure that scale is consistent throughout your survey. Don’t switch from 10 being most to 1 being best, or change from a 10-point scale to a 5-point scale in a new section of your survey.
  • No Bias: Avoid loaded or leading questions that imply an answer, or that weight the question so that one answer becomes more likely. It’s a good idea to have test readers check your survey carefully for this kind of bias before launch.

The structure of your survey is also important. Questions that flow in a logical order will make it easier for people to complete, and less likely that they’ll stop mid-survey and forget to come back and finish.

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to creating powerful, effective surveys that yield value-adding responses from your customers.


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