5 Tips for Creating Effective Surveys

June 17, 2016
Creating a simple and effective customer survey that solicits actionable feedback is a lot harder than it might sound. In fact, if your survey is too long, too complex, or doesn’t fit your audience, you’ll get low a completion rate and miss out on the chance to collect valuable data that could help improve your business.

If you’re struggling to get customers to complete your surveys or can’t get the data you need, use these five best practices to get better results.

1. Don't try to solve all customer issues with one survey

It can be tempting to try and solve every customer issue at once with single survey. However, trying to make your survey this broad will make it long and confusing.

To ensure you have a simple and clear survey, you need to get alignment from your executive team on the top business problems they want to solve. Then, address one problem at a time with specific surveys.

For example, if you’re a property management company trying to gauge a new resident’s move-in experience, don’t send a generic survey about maintenance, the staff, or other topics that are irrelevant to moving.

This will ensure that you target the right customers, and get the actionable feedback you need to solve a specific problem.

2. Be mindful of survey question order

It’s best to have open-ended questions early in your survey, so you don’t unintentionally influence their feedback. Addtionally include the comment field as the last section.

It's best end the survey with a freeform format so that this unfiltered feedback doesn't skew subsequent answers.

3. Limit your survey to 10 questions or about 10 min

If your survey is too long or complicated many of your customers will drop off or not even start your survey.

You also run the risk of customers filling in random answers in order to get through the survey. Pathing -- a survey technique that quickly steers customers through the survey in order to provide more indepth answers -- is a great way to keep your customers attention, and ensures you're getting the right answers.

With short, concise surveys you'll get the highest response rates and the best outcomes.

4. Design your survey to include multiple, unique survey questions 

In addition to getting to the heart of feedback, Pathing encourages your customers to share their experience on third-party review sites. Within the question flow, limit the amount of questions and prompt them to write a third-party review.

For example, ask them to give a star rating of their experience and add a comment field that lets them explain why they gave that score. Then, on the Thank You page, give them the option to share that same review on Google or Facebook.

Pathing also gives your unsatisfied customers an avenue to air the grievances. You can expand the questions to get to a better understanding of why their experience was negative, and apply that feeback to make operational changes.

5. Time the send date of your survey

In order to get a high completion rate with good feedback, send the survey in a timely manner. It’s best to send these survey questions soon after the customer has been to your business, so their experience with your business is fresh in their minds.

Also, make sure to include how long the survey will take to set expectations. Make your email short --  two lines of text and one button -- an include a clear call to action.

For more information on how to best gauge your business's performance, visit our customer surveys page.

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