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Write a Customer Survey that Answers Your Questions

It’s a delicate dance, creating a great survey.  

There’s a fine line between getting enough information to make the results valuable and not making a survey so long and demanding that respondents drop off before they finish. The former can land you with wasted potential, and the latter can end with minimal results.   

Making a quality survey is so much more than just coming up with a list of questions. So, how do you strike the balance and get everything you need out of a survey?  

By creating a survey that is engaging, strategic, and concise.  


How to write a Survey that Answers Your Questions  

If you need to ask for gender, offer inclusive options  

Years ago, asking for gender was a simple question. Now that respecting gender identities is both widespread and expected, you need to pay special attention to how you ask this.   

First, ask yourself – do I need this information? Will it make a difference in my results to know? If the answer is no, consider skipping it. If the answer is yes, make sure to offer enough options to not leave someone feeling underrepresented.  

This means that you need to move past the male/female check box, and even male/female/prefer not to answer. Offering additional options such as non-binary or even a fill-in box for individuals to write their gender identity is a good step towards   


Target the right individuals  

Are you writing a survey for a specific demographic? A group that took a specific action (like purchased a product)? Or are you just hoping that anyone and everyone will fill out the survey?  

Answering this question on targeting can greatly influence the survey strategy, formatting, and questions.   

Setting specific parameters for the ideal respondent will minimize wasted time and spend while also yielding the most relevant results.   

Plan out and discuss your questions  

Just like with any written asset, it’s important to get all of your brains out on paper before you can start on a final result. Brainstorm a categorized list of every question that pops into your head on what you would like to learn from a survey.   

Once you have this list, you can start discussing the best way to ask each question, which questions stand-alone, which need follow-ups, and so on. This will be your ‘mother list’ that you can refer to and use to create your masterpiece.  


Only ask the most important questions  

The more questions you ask in your survey, the more opportunities your respondents have to drop off before they hit “complete”.   

This means you should make every question count.  

Once you get the full list of potential questions, be brutal in cutting it down to the cream-of-the-crop questions. Many times, you’ll find that   


Start with the easiest questions  

Give your respondents a warm-up! Some easy wins can do wonders in engaging your respondents to the end of the survey. If a respondent takes one look at the first few questions and sees a sea of intimidating paragraphs to write, they may skip out before filling out one thing.  

But by starting with the “fun” questions and ending with the heavy hitters, you can engage your respondents to the “submit” button.   


Understand the best format for each question.  

Many survey creation platforms offer tons of options for question formats, from ranking to checklists to single options to open-ended answers. Knowing how to frame your question will maximize the value of your answers.   

For example, if you’re curious how a respondent perceives a slogan, you may want to have them look at a checklist of adjectives and try to find trends in commonly checked words. But if you’re curious about a respondent’s opinion on how you can improve an annual event, that warrants a text box.  


Be strategic with your open-ended questions  

Open-ended questions are important in getting responses that are too broad to offer options for answers. As mentioned above, there is a time and a place for open-ended questions – and if you use them too often, it will result in abandoned surveys and less-than-thoughtful responses.   

But, when you prioritize specific questions to be open-ended, you can procure some seriously valuable responses, and maybe even some perspectives that you haven’t considered before.   


Ask for demographics  

Don’t finish writing a survey without getting the full picture!  

If you haven’t already established the demographics of the respondents that will be answering your survey, it’s important to determine exactly WHO is filling out your survey. Establish what you want to know about your audience to uncover trends that may be hiding beneath the surface.  

For example, how would you know that people over 40 tend to be less satisfied with your service if you didn’t establish their age range? This information is crucial to understanding more about different subgroups of your target market.  


Writing a great survey can uncover little gems of patterns and perspectives that can ultimately help you refine and improve your business efforts. Are you ready to write a killer survey? Reach out to our team! 

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