Every good business understands the importance of market research. Usually, this is done with a customer experience survey. The purpose of a good survey makes it possible for you to…

  • Keep up with market trends
  • Understand your customers’ needs & desires
  • Make strategic business decisions
  • Gain a competitive edge over your customers

A quick, accurate and cost-effective way to collect data that’s relevant to your industry is via survey. Here are some tips on how to write a survey that gets results.

1. Begin by identifying what you want to know

Before you start writing, ask yourself what you’re trying to learn from this survey. Any questions that do not help you get to your answer should not be included in this survey. Leave them out.

Example: we’re looking to determine why our customers choose to do business with us. These means don’t ask what your customers like to eat for dinner. This answer might be interesting, but it won’t help you learn why they value your business relationship.

2. Choose your words carefully

Make sure you don’t load up your survey with industry jargon or slang that may confuse potential respondents or deter them from completing your survey. Just because you know exactly what something means doesn’t mean everyone will. Speak plain English, and you’ll collect better, more honest and more accurate results.

Example: What would you rather do than miss tonight’s HIMYM? Fans of the show “How I Met Your Mother” will know what you mean, but people who don’t watch won’t have a clue. They’d also give very different answers. 

3. Avoid leading questions

Don’t ask a question that makes it obvious you’re looking for a specific answer. You’ll get the answer you’re looking for, but it probably won’t be an honest result. Questions that begin with ‘would,’ ‘could,’ or ‘should’ are typically considered leading. Asking questions in this way makes it obvious that the person/company who wrote the survey believes there is a right answer. Your respondent will want to answer the question “right,” thereby skewing your data.

Example: “Wouldn’t it be better if more people donated money to this charity?”

4. Avoid double-barreled questions

This means you’re asking two questions at the same time. A respondent’s answer to one question may not be the same as their answer to the second question. Or, one of the two questions you’re asking may not be applicable/relevant to all respondents.

Example: What’s the fastest and more economical car? 

5. Offer an answer option for questions that do not apply

If there’s a chance that your question may not apply to every single respondent, include “nonapplicable” or “does not apply” as an answer option. This will help keep your data clean and increase its accuracy. Including answer options that make sense will also keep your respondents happier and willing to participate in future surveys.

Example: Where do you store your Nike sneakers?

(a)  In my closet
(b) On a shoe rack
(c) In the garage

If your respondent doesn’t have Nike sneakers, they’d be forced to choose any option just to move on. This would make your data weaker and more inaccurate. By including ‘nonapplicable’ as an option, you’ll only collect relevant data.

Once your survey is written, you’ll have to consider how you’re going to collect responses. IVR and web surveys are easy to create and distribute. Here are some of the benefits to using an IVR survey or a web survey.

  • Less time consuming for respondents
  • Less expensive for you to collect data
  • Pre-screening options available
  • Increased honesty of responses
  • Easy to set up
  • Quick to distribute
  • Use open-ended or multiple choice questions