Whether you are collecting survey data from customers, employees or the public, there are a few common survey mistakes that companies make over and over again.
When designing surveys, you’ll find it’s the small nuances that make a big difference in how questions are answered. Complex choices, ambiguous terms, and vague wording are all problematic because they allow respondents to interpret the meaning of the question however they like.
While not totally inclusive, these five tips are common offenders in building quality surveys.
1. Leading with demographic questions
This is a surefire way to kill your response rate. While we understand that you want to know the gender and location of your respondents, these types of questions don’t inspire people to want to continue with your survey. Ask those questions near the end of your survey when people are already invested in giving you their feedback.
2. Two questions in one
Also known as double-barrelled questions, these are questions that really should be separated into two questions because they might elicit different responses. For example, “Please rate your experience today with our customer support and accounting teams?” What happens if the customer has nothing but glowing reviews for the accounting department, but is irate with the service they received from your support department? You’ve now put them into an awkward situation where they don’t know how to answer the question.
3. Survey length is too long
You’ve probably heard this one before because it’s always mentioned as the number one survey mistake. The evidence is overwhelming that the longer your survey is the less likely people will complete it and the less time they will spend on each question. One of our guest bloggers recently wrote a post that goes into specific detail about why you’ll want to keep your survey short.
4. No target market/objective
A survey without a specific group of people in mind is like trying to fire a gun without a target, you’re bound to hit something, but it may or may not be what your want. If you are looking for specific feedback about a new product you launched, don’t waste your time asking customers and employees who never used the product what they think. You’ll do nothing but annoy everyone and miss out on the opportunity to test concepts that help you avoid costly mistakes.
5. No incentive
Data suggests that surveys with an incentive — like a small giveaway item, discount, coupon or draw to win a prize — have significantly higher response and completion rates. It’s a no-brainer really. If you want people to give up their time, you have to offer them something in return. After all, time is money.