What does it take to make a good customer survey? Asking the right questions can make all the difference. In this post we'll share some tips on how to ask good survey questions.
Surveys are a necessary part for most businesses at some point. It might be integral to your signup process, it could be part of your market research or a way of gathering customer feedback or testimonials.
Whatever your purpose for sending out surveys, it’s important to get them right. If you want your customers to do anything, you’ve got to make it easy, enjoyable and effortless. They’re busy people just like you.
In this post, we’ll share some tips for writing good survey questions that ensure you don't sound like a robot. Coming across well through survey questions helps to create a sense of ease, understanding and keeps things clear. Robotic questions often inspire robotic answers and there's not a lot to gain for either the customer or yourself. This approach doesn't give off the right impression and could very well be the cause of survey or form abandonment.
So here are our tips and survey question types to avoid so you can start asking the right kinds of questions.
Keep your survey questions simple and clear
In most things business, simple is better. Whether that’s marketing, onboarding, advertising, using software or shipping out goods – the simpler the better.
Some people think with their business-head, leading to serious or formal language which really doesn’t resonate with people. It can make your business seem cold, distant and you'll struggle to make that real connection you need with your customers.
In terms of survey questions, keep your sentences short, to the point and easy to understand. Don’t ask multi layered or double barreled questions because they're generally harder to answer. Remember, answering your survey should be effortless if you want it to happen at all.
Try to refrain from over-complicating a question and using several sentences to ask it. Use language that you’d use if you were asking them in person.
“Rate our software out of 10” compared to “What are your thoughts on using our software? Is it easy to use and do you find it useful?”
They both say the same thing but one is longer than it needs to be. The second has three questions in one that basically all mean the same thing. The customers has to try and think about three things in one go. It doesn't need to be this complicated. Straight to the point questions will lead to straight to the point answers.
Don’t be so formal
There's a running theme in this post, simpler is better and that goes for the language you use as much as how you structure your questions.
A lot of people make the mistake of talking in business-speak to their customers, particularly in the B2B world. Save that for the boardroom.
Most people respond better to more casual and conversational language. It’s easier to understand and not so off-putting.
“What do you like about us?” Is less formal than “What opinions do you have about of the services we provide and their effectiveness in helping your business increase conversion rates?”
There's nothing inherently wrong with the second question, but it'll make the customer feel like they're in a business meeting. You may not get to the bottom of how they actually feel about your goods/services.
Inject some personality in
If it matches your tone and the industry you’re working in, don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality into your survey.
While slang and colloquialisms may alienate some users, using casual phrases that make your brand look more fun and easy to relate to can do wonders.
This helps users feel like a real person is talking to them and actually considering their opinions. They're more likely to want to respond to questions like this.
Make sure your questions aren’t too similar
To stop your customer from getting fed up, it’s important that you don’t look like you’re asking the same question over and over again. Nothing looks more robotic than questions that are very repetitive.
“What do you think of our customer service?” “What do you think of our product?” “What do you think of our support” and so on.
People get bored reading the same thing over and over again. Try to keep things fresh and interesting and you’re much more likely to get full, accurate answers to your questions.
This also goes for questions that are really similar to each other in subject matter. Asking a separate question about customer experience, customer satisfaction and customer support could get a little tiring. Try to condense these into fewer questions as long forms can be a bit off putting.
Experiment with different answer options
Another way to ensure that your questionnaire doesn't end up boring users is to mix up your answer types.
That means using a mixture of multiple choice questions, scale questions with interesting rating scales and closed end questions - all of which are easy to answer quickly.
Online polls are also a great option, particularly if you want to display the results online.
These can then be followed by more open ended questions which allow users to explain their thoughts in detail if they wish.
Just be sure to avoid leading questions wherever possible. Leading questions close a survey respondent into giving a limited answer that may not be accurate.
An example: "How good is X product?"
They can make customers feel like they're not free to say what they want or that you're simply asking questions as a box ticking exercise. This doesn't leave a good lasting impression for customers.
Don't force them to answer every question
Want to make sure users make it through to the end of a survey? Giving them questions with a "prefer not to answer" option can reduce the amount of people who abandon the survey halfway through.
Some people may simply not have the answers or wish to give them in the survey, so it's more considerate to let them opt out of those answers. If a customer has to answer a question and can't move to the next step, they're simply not going to finish the form at all. There goes your conversion rates.
Be sure to say thank you
When it comes to the end of the survey, a little thank you can go a long way.
Your customer has taken time out of their day and given you important information, so make sure you thank them for their time. This especially goes for customer satisfaction surveys. It leaves a good impression and also acknowledges that they've helped you in some way.
Test out your survey
Before you start sending out your new survey questions, it’s important to get some feedback. This could be from people at the office, or those in your personal life.
Ask them what they think about the type of questions, the length of the survey and whether everything is clear and easy to answer. This will help you pinpoint areas you need to improve on. You may not have noticed that one question comes across a little robotic or formal until someone else takes a look at it.
Another way to see whether something sounds robotic or formal is to read it out loud. This is a simple but effective method to check everything flows nicely and is clear.
We hope these tips have helped you to ask good survey questions that get the results you want. Looking for an easy way to build questionnaires? Using our advanced WordPress questionnaire plugin will help you create simple and effective questionnaires and survey forms.
If you’re not already using Formidable Forms, we can help you build the perfect WordPress survey form in minutes, and much, much more. All of our plans have access to the best features of any online form builder which will keep your business fully equipped and effective.