Tips on Crafting an Effective Survey

There are golden nuggets awaiting those who ask the right questions

There are golden nuggets awaiting those who ask the right questions

You should never take your client knowledge for granted. People and companies are ever-changing, and you want to make sure you have your finger on the pulse of what new interest and trends are affecting the people who drive your business success.

I highly recommend surveying your customers on a semi-regular basis. In doing so, you will capture the new clients, and your survey will be able to be updated to meet the most current needs of your company.

 Here are some simple tips to get you started:

1.     Before you craft each question, ask yourself:

a.     What do I need to know?

b.     Why do I need to know it?

c.     Is the answer useful?

This point is crucial in creating a useful survey. You want to ask only the most important questions to drive your objective. If your survey is too long, people will not spend the time to fill it out. And you will be drowning in a lot of useless data. Take the time to create a goal for the survey and carefully plan out each question, ensuring it speaks directly to that goal.

 2.     Ask a precise question, with one question at a time:   
      Do you exercise?
Don’t ask a double-barrelled question:  
      Do you exercise and sleep 8 hours per night?

3.     Avoid leading questions. Spinning a question in favour of what you want to hear is a waste of a good survey.

4.     Put demographic questions at the end of the questionnaire. 
Demographics are questions pertaining to their age, marital status, income level, etc. These are all quantitative questions and should be formatted as multiple choice. When asking sensitive questions like income level, or age, give them ranges to choose from. 

5.     Test! Test! Test! Recruit friends and family to try out your survey and have them report back on the experience and how long it took them to complete. If something doesn’t quite fit, change it.

 6.     Keep the questionnaire as short as possible, no more than 12 questions.

 7.     You can incentivize participation if you’d like. Offering a chance to win an amazon gift card, or something more related to your own company is a nice way of getting more responses.

 8.     When communicating about your survey, be sure to emphasize how much help the respondent is being by participating. People like to be helpful and this will play on their altruistic side. Also mention how long the survey will take (thanks to your friendly testers), so you can properly set expectations. And be sure to have a deadline, so that you send out reminders before the closing date. This also gives you a definite cut off point to review the data.

 Data review time!

This process is highly dependent on the purpose of the exercise. Check back in with the initial goal you set out for the survey. Did the data achieve what you were hoping for? What else can you glean from this newly acquired insight?

 It is important to be open minded and explore similarities and overlap. As in the Jiffy Lube story, we saw an unexpected overlap in the customer values and were able to create a successful campaign that spoke to something more meaningful to their client base. We never would have discovered that connection if we didn’t enter into this process with a very curious and open mind.

If this surveying and data analysis is making you feel a bit overwhelmed, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We are happy to consult, design, or just be fresh eyes on your survey. Let us be curious with you! 

Erika Nakatsui is a writer and communications consultant

Erika Nakatsui, MA

Erika is a professional writer and communications consultant. With a strong public relations and journalistic background, Erika knows how to garner positive attention at the same time as building relationships with media. Her artistic talents and savvy business sense create an important mix when fresh ideas are needed.

Erika’s dedication to learning has earned her a diploma in public relations, a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in marketing), and a Master of Arts in Communications and Technology. She provides a wealth of knowledge, thoughtful direction and intuitive insight with all of her projects. Erika’s passion for social causes grounds us in our values, reminding us - we are all connected.