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How to create survey questions that drive stellar results

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In today’s modern times, companies of all types and sizes are venturing into the realm of online customer surveys to expand and improve their business operations and financial bottom line

The importance of conducting customer surveys cannot be highlighted enough, as they have the potential to produce a range of dynamic and compelling benefits for any organization

Companies investing in comprehensive surveying strategies are able to glean imperative information about levels of customer satisfaction, how to target potential customers, gain feedback on new products and services, track employee satisfaction, and even building an astute awareness of their brand versus that of their competitors.

The possibilities and benefits afforded by the implementation of surveys for businesses are innumerable and have been time-proven to not only create a distinct competitive advantage over the competition but also creating extraordinary advantages in terms of efficacy, growth, and profitability.

The myriad benefits afforded by surveying is rapidly becoming recognized by international companies, smaller businesses, and startups across the globe. Perceived as an integral component of any establishment’s level of success and sustainability in an ultra-competitive market, surveying is promptly being adopted as an essential business practice.

As the importance of surveying becomes increasingly recognized in the business world, many organizations are left pondering how to tackle the realm of surveying in a dynamic, results-based manner.

If you are a business owner interested in surveying, read on below to learn how to architect your survey strategy to result in the kind of stellar, transformational results you desire.

Why Are Surveys so Important For Businesses

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Surveys are among the most effective business tools to gain valuable input from existing and potential customers. Singularly capable of measuring customer satisfaction, surveying enables companies to be remarkably perceptive of customer trends, shifts, and overall behaviors. With this valuable knowledge, businesses are able to skillfully keep in-tune with their client base and make informed business decisions, in addition to employing any modifications or adjustments to their internal business processes.

Among the Most Common Reasons Businesses Implement Survey Projects are the Following:

  • To track customer satisfaction
  • To gain insight into existing customers as well as potential customers
  • To use as a rationale for investing in certain aspects of the business such as expansion
  • To track levels of employee satisfaction
  • To use as a comparative tool measuring brand awareness versus the competition
  • To gain feedback on the newly introduced services or products
  • To bolster or disprove the efficacy of prior business decisions

Knowing what the customer wants is a necessity of business. Obtaining that information is critically important to gain a judiciously well-informed understanding of how and where companies should target its energy and resources.

Despite the integration of surveying practices within hundreds of thousands of companies across the globe, the implementation and creation of a successful surveying protocol remain immensely confusing for many companies, particularly startup establishments.

With the wide range of strategic options to take, designing a survey program ultimately requires that businesses initially take stock of their particular needs to discern which methods will yield the best and most tangible results.

Planning, Designing and Conducting Survey Questions with Powerful Results

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Incorporating surveying protocols within businesses is easy to achieve, but requires a modicum of planning to create optimal results that accurately measure the opinions, experiences, and behaviors of customers, employees, or other individuals.

Engaging in careful planning begins with identifying specific needs within an organization and will result in tangible results including high response rates yielding a breadth of invaluable information that can be used to make prudent financial decisions.

Ensuring a high response rate is largely dependent on building a durable surveying foundation comprised of high-quality, compelling questions that motivate customers towards participation. Conversely, survey projects composed of ambiguous, biased, or seemingly irrelevant questions serve little purpose and ultimately waste time, money, and resources.

This fact is highlighted by Erika Hall’s quote from her recent book titled “Just Enough Research.” “Surveys are the most dangerous research tool, if you write bad survey questions, you get bad data at scale with no chance of recovery.”

Taking the extra time and effort to create a bulletproof survey design results in dynamic surveys that run fluidly to increase ease of reporting, obtain accurate data, and explore the comments, opinions, and feedback of responders.

Planning, Crafting and Executing Your Survey Program

Phase 1: Preliminary Survey Question Planning:

Begin planning your surveying project by identifying the primary informational needs of your business (Eg. Desiring in-depth customer feedback, assessing employee satisfaction, measuring opinions about new products or services.)

An abundance of survey projects often begins with a goal of obtaining valuable data and culminates in frustratingly disappointing results.

To avoid mediocre results, ask yourself the following basic questions:

  • Why am I conducting this survey?
  • What do I hope to achieve from this survey?

Additional questions businesses may consider during the planning stage:

  • How reputable is our brand?
  • What is the level of visibility of our brand in comparison to competitors?
  • How can we improve customer satisfaction levels?
  • How can we cultivate closer relationships with customers?
  • How can we procure new customers?
  • How will our new product or service be received by customers?
  • How can we obtain essential data for our business reports?

The answers to those questions will inevitably point you in the right direction to start building a successful strategy.

Also important to note is that the goal of using surveys for business isn’t limited to procuring answers from customers. Surveys have the potential to bestow a vast collection of additional information to businesses.

While obtaining answers is imperative, it is, however, the quality of the answers and the impact of those answers on your business that should reign supreme among your surveying goals.

Achieving the type of informative and revealing responses from customers is largely dependant on how your original question was worded, structured, and presented. Every survey question should be based on the adage that with better questions, better data is gained.

Take away points:

  • Use the planning phase to identify your survey needs and goals. Start with the basic informational needs of your company. Common examples include: improving customer relations, bolstering employee satisfaction levels, and obtaining actionable feedback on new products and services.
  • Decide the platform that you will be using. Businesses of all types and sizes employ a variety of platforms for their survey questions such as newsletters, websites, print, apps, and a range of other digital methods.
  • Remember that putting a concerted effort into crafting dynamic and unique surveys will pay off by setting you apart from the competition, in addition to resonating with customers.
  • Manage your expectations accordingly through the understanding that carefully crafting high-quality survey questions result in the essential data you desire and need to improve your business.

Phase 2: Writing Stellar Results-Based Survey Questions

  • As discussed in Phase 1, your ultimate goal in writing outstanding survey questions is to create them in a precisely formulated way that is easy to understand, provides a clear objective, and resonates with responders.
  • Understand that among the most goals of surveys is to obtain data gathered from each response will help you ensure that the questions are targeted, relevant, and purposeful.
  • Choose the type of survey question you will be asking; will it be a subjective question based on customer attitudes or conversely, an objective, factual question that will provide quantifiable information.

Having a thorough understanding of the two distinct types of survey questions can serve businesses in profound ways. In addition to the verbiage used in the survey questions, the type of questions will determine the type of data produced, along with the data’s potential to be used in tangible and meaningful ways for businesses.

    • Subjective attitude-based questions are reliant on emotions and an individual’s perceptions and emotions. With no way to objectively measure the answers to these types of questions, businesses are faced with the following:
      • Having to interpret the findings for their particular needs.
      • With subjective survey questions, putting into place standardization processes are imperative to ensure consistent interpretations of answers
      • Examples of subjective “attitude-based” questions: What are your favorite shampoo brands? What was your last experience like at your favorite restaurant?
    • Objective fact-based questions yield answers that are clearly quantifiable and easy for businesses to categorize for use in various efforts. Examples of  objective survey questions include the following:
      • Where a person was born
      • How frequently they dine out
      • How often a person visits the gym
      • What an individual’s purchase habits entail
  • Customize and organize your survey layout. For example, if you are asking for answers to multiple questions, create an eye-appealing layout that is formatted in an easy-to-read, skimmable form to streamline the answering process.
  • Don’t be afraid to be unique! Boring surveys have a ubiquitous presence in the business world and typically fail to achieve salient data. Stand apart from the competition and focus on vibrant aesthetics, captivating and provocative language choices, and keep the tone interactive and engaging.

Phase 3: Trounce the Competition With Exceptionally Written Survey Questions

In this third and final phase, you will learn how to execute your survey plan-of-action with well-crafted questions featuring crisp, incisive prose and the use of fresh verbiage to engage and entice responders.

Many businesses waste time and resources on creating survey questions that are lengthy, ambiguous, and ultimately ineffective. Meanwhile, there are increasing numbers of organizations that are focusing their efforts on crafting superlative questions that acutely stimulate customers and other responders.

In the Complete Guide to Writing Questionnaires, David F. Harris states that “If we make questions clear, answerable, easy…we can reduce the survey length, improve the respondent experience, completion rates and the quality of data.”

Aside from creating clear-cut questions that are easily answerable, stylization is everything when it comes to producing winning and captivating survey questions. Arguably among the most important elements in any surveying project, fierce linguistic styling is polished, penetrative, and brimming with panache.

Far too often, businesses stifle creative processes by eschewing the use of unique wording or unconventional modes of expression. Instead, these businesses rely on traditional approaches imbued with diction that is tediously stale, utterly commonplace, and wholly uninteresting.

Operating from a position of fear, businesses that take on ordinary, run-of-the-mill approaches to crafting surveys very commonly encounter mediocre results from the lack of responders.

In stark contrast, it is the forward-thinking businesses that briskly embrace the use of cutting-edge wording and phrases to engage the interests of responders, as well as cultivating and further developing relationships with customers, employees, and other parties.

Valuable Tips for Creating Effective Survey Questions:

  • Consider Purchasing Survey Design Software to streamline the process and take out any confusion and second-guessing
  • Consider conducting pilot tests or pretests in the earliest stages of survey development to achieve a better understanding of customer mindsets, as well as helping to garner a feel for overall levels of responsiveness.
  • Designing survey questions can be as easy or as complicated as you make it. An increase in the number of questions or asking questions requiring lengthy answers can significantly impact the number of responses you receive.
  • Be mindful that questions can be posed in many different ways and that the use of language can either engage or alienate potential responders.
  • The use of color can play an important role in conveying specific emotions and associations, so it’s important that you put  serious thought into choosing the perfect color palette for your businesses’ surveys

Quick At-a-Glance Guide to Crafting Winning Survey Questions

  1. Identify why you are undertaking a survey question project.
  2. Plan out the components of your surveying strategy including formatting, types of questions, use of colors, and overall length.
  3. Focus on style, with a fresh approach to the use of language, and wording that is distinctively captivating to responders.

Conclusion

Organizations all across the globe have embraced the use of surveys to further connect with their customers, in addition to optimizing business practices. Surveys enable customers to voice their various concerns to help businesses make informed decisions in regard to practices, investments, and improvement.

Surveys are the premier tool in any companies arsenal as a way to maintain open and ongoing communication with their client base, as well as encouraging the potential of new customers.

Whether you are a large, small, or startup establishment, integrating surveying practices within your business protocol is of immense importance, yielding a great deal of valuable raw data to inform business practices and lead the way to make confident decisions to benefit the businesses financial bottom line.

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