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Surveys enable you to learn and uncover what your audience like, where they are, and the reason behind their purchase behavior. But it isn’t so simple.
To gather the correct data you have to ask the right questions. In this blog, we will discuss 10 steps to creating a survey.
Before getting into designing a survey like a pro, let us first understand what exactly a survey is. Well, you can look at a survey as a questionnaire framed in a way that gathers structured information or feedback.
Most businesses and organizations use surveys to collect data from people/respondents which is then analyzed to derive results and conclusions out of it. Hence, the way you conduct and work out your surveys matters the most.
From far away, surveys sound pretty easy to conduct and manage. You can use survey software to create engaging surveys. However, there are some prerequisites that you need to be aware of.
In the next section, we will take a look at those systematic steps and tips needed to conduct a survey in the correct way.
Conducting exploratory research seems tricky but an effective guide can help.
Conducting a survey is a task when you are rooting for quality data and meaningful accurate insights. Hence it is important that you know every step of conducting a survey. And we got you covered for that one. Here are 10 steps to conduct an effective survey.
Every survey has a purpose. Be it for just mass data collection about a topic, gathering feedback from the customer, employee satisfaction status, and so on. The point being even before you sit down to frame a survey, you need to affirm a topic or a purpose first.
The purpose of a survey is nothing but what your survey will do for you.
The topic of a survey represents its purpose. So, for instance, your purpose can be “We want to know what our customers think of our newly launched product.” This becomes your survey purpose and you will design the survey questions around it. The topic name for the same could be “Customer feedback survey” or “Product feedback survey”.
How well your survey performs majorly depends on how you frame the questions. It only makes sense to have limited but meaningful questions for your survey.
You need to make sure that every question asked is directed toward the survey topic and not anything else. Each question should add significant value to your survey research and contribute to the goal.
For instance, if the respondent’s salary is important and relevant to your survey topic, then you can involve a direct question for the same, else it is good to skip it.
You cannot only focus on getting as much information as possible. Although that sounds like the right step, some of the thought has to go toward the respondents and their comfort.
Framing long surveys with lots of questions can mostly push the respondents away.
The reason is that most people come across your survey when they are in the middle of something, where they can spare at most 5 or 10 minutes answering your survey. But when they get into answering and if your survey is literally never-ending, respondents will just feel bored and frustrated, resulting in abandoning the survey halfway.
For the above reason, and to keep your incoming survey data precise, it is always advised to keep the surveys short and focus on framing only those questions which are directly relevant to the survey topic.
Use online survey tools that allow you to evaluate the time it will take for respondents to take the survey. This way you can shorten the survey and make it efficient.
As discussed above, the questions you ask determine the performance of your survey. As much as it is important to direct questions toward the survey topic, it is just as important to pay attention to how it is framed.
Asked direct questions and limited them. This practice will naturally make you want to ask two or three questions all combined into one. This results in a big lengthy question, which can be highly confusing to answer.
Along with all the precautions, it needs to be taken care that your questions are short and easy to understand for all types of respondents. Avoid clubbing multiple questions into one.
In such cases, you can make use of different types of questions like open-ended or matrix questions which cover various dimensions of a topic. But on a general basis, it is safe to ask one question at a time in a language that is easy and simple to understand.
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Most of the time when you are framing questions and answer options, there can be some words or phrases that might influence respondents to answer that question in a particular way.
Although, most of the time it happens unintentionally. This use of words or phrases leads to biases. Respondents may end up choosing answers that they initially didn’t intend to. The best practice to avoid this is to only provide those words and phrases that the respondents need to understand the questions and answers.
Your question wording should be focused on what respondents want to answer as their opinion rather than trying to push your point of view along.
For example, asking “Many customers love our customer service. How well do you think our customer service is?” is a leading question. It already decides for the respondent that the customer service is good, you just want them to tell you how good it was. This might mislead the respondents who feel the service was not good.
A response scale is nothing but a range of answer options representing all possible variations of choice. It is preferred over binary response options (true/false, yes/no) so that the respondent gets a better range of responses to choose from that best to represent their opinion and view.
When you have to ask about the satisfaction, happiness, agreement, or disagreement of the respondents towards a certain topic, using a response scale can be a better option than binary response options.
For example, the question is “How satisfied are you with our products?”. The response scale for the same can be “Very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, unsatisfied, very unsatisfied”. These options give a range of options to choose from rather than “satisfied, unsatisfied”
When conducting market research or consumer research, leverage a market research tool that enables you to add diverse question types and make the survey interesting.
The trick to keeping the respondents engaged till the end of the survey is to give them a good start. You can do this by lacing easy questions at the beginning of the survey so that they don’t feel the pressure of putting so much thought into it from the start.
You can keep the thought-provoking questions in the end so that till then respondents are engaged enough. This matters the most when you have to gather personal information like income, address, contact, or any other sensitive topic that might seem off-putting if asked at the start of the survey. Doing so will put people into fatigue and keep them from getting to the end of the survey.
This is not a mandatory step but can act as a booster. Incentives can be in the form of discounts, offers, gifts, vouchers, gift cards, and so on. Incentives on survey responses help you to get people to answer your survey.
That being said, the disadvantage is that it might attract an unreliable audience whose only intention is to get the incentives. Make sure to limit your survey responses to those who are reliable and have been loyal to you. This way, you know your incentives are going into the right places in return for quality survey data.
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Once you take care of all the constraints of creating surveys, you decide to deploy it to the real audience. But wait, there is a problem. Many of the respondents don’t seem to understand a particular question and are skipping it.
Now, what do you do with your survey already being live? To prevent such disasters from happening, it is best to take a survey for a mock. Meaning, test your survey potential with a crowd like friends or colleagues. This way, you will know what difficulties potential respondents can face and correct them right away. Doing so will reduce the chances of skewed or incorrect results.
Additional read: 6 reasons to soft launch your online surveys.
This is the last step to creating a survey, which is to finally deploy it to the right audience. You can choose whichever online or offline platforms you like to distribute your survey to the audience.
Online channels can be emails, social media platforms, and SMS and offline ones can be phone or in-person interviews. Deploying a survey is just the beginning of a long survey analysis process.
Picking up the right group of people to answer your survey directly affects your data quality, hence it is important to choose them wisely.
This sums up the 10 steps you should follow while creating a survey. It is important to ensure that you ask relevant questions and create a good survey experience if you want to gather quality data.
Moreover, survey experience is also an equally important touchpoint in a customer’s journey. So prepare for it like you would for any other customer touchpoint.