The best questions to use to survey your customers depend on what you want to accomplish. Ideally, the questions you ask will allow you to collect the data you need to make smart, informed decisions for growing your business or shoring up weaknesses. Below are a few guidelines and examples for asking the right questions for a variety of everyday survey needs.
Before you start writing or asking any questions, make sure you have a single, clear goal for each survey. This can help shorten the overall length of a survey, thereby increasing the number of responses received especially from primarily male audiences. It will also help prevent bias in reactions.
Define the Data You Need
What do you need to know to accomplish your goal? If you want to make sure you have the best customer service, you may want to ask about recent customer service experiences. If you’re going to increase customer retention, ask them to rate their products, shipping times, or for suggestions on how to make the experience better.
On the other hand,m if you’re looking to expand your business and want to know how receptive your audience might be to a given idea, it might be a little harder to come up with the right data. In cases like these, it can be tempting to ask “leading” questions.
For example. If you sell smartphone cases and are looking to offer a handful of different designs, instead of choosing your favorite and asking if they would buy it or not, offer five options to choose from. Allow them to rate them rather than just picking one to buy.
The Question Types You Need to Know
Now that you have a few guidelines, feel free to pick from the following question formats while developing your survey questions. Always keep in mind while writing your questions what kind of responses you expect to receive and try to craft your items to be simple, specific, and collect that data.
Definite Feedback Requests – Positive and positively framed feedback requests are good at establishing how well your relationship with a given customer is faring. The best questions in this category ask things like, “What are we getting right?” or “What did you last buy from us and why?” You may want to be more specific, or only send a survey to a customer group that has purchased a particular product in this case as well.
Negative Feedback Requests – When you ask someone to point out what your business has done wrong, or what someone has not enjoyed about the journey they have had with your business you are well on your way to discovering that negative responses are harder to come by than the opposite. This is especially true to useful adverse reactions. To make the most of these questions, it may help to soften them. Instead of saying, “What don’t you like about our company?” substitute, “What do you think our company should work to improve?”
Open-Ended and Free Comments – This is not an ideal type of question for making up the bulk of any survey. Asking things like, “How can we make X better?” or “Is there anything else you would like to tell us?” are good, but they are good when following up at the end of a survey. Remember, your surveys should be comprised of specific, easy to answer questions for the most part. The more “open-ended” a question, the more likely it is to fatigue the person taking the survey. This fatigue may lead to inaccurate responses and therefore incorrect data the longer a review goes on.
Simple Binary Questions – Questions with two choices, typically yes or no, are a great way to round out a survey, reduce time spent on the study, and gather possibly more accurate data by lowering “survey fatigue.” Answering, “Did our customer service meet your expectations?” with a “Yes” or “No” is easier than answering, “How well did our customer service meet your expectations on a scale of 1-10?”
Multiple Choice Questions – If you choose to include multiple choice questions, do so without suggesting that there is a “correct” answer. If a survey question, no matter how anonymous the survey seems, points out a “negative” behavior, like some alcoholic beverages consumed per week, then a person may be more likely to respond “optimistically” rather than “honestly.”