As a business owner, you want to know what makes your customers tick.
- Why do they do what they do, and why do they act the way they act.
- What makes them feel one way versus another.
- What is it that keeps them up at night.
- And how can you best serve them with a solution to their problems.
The only way to know the answers you seek is to ask them.
One way to get more information about your customers is to send out a survey. However, there are some considerations for surveys.
Creating surveys is an art in and of itself.
Asking questions the right way is critical because using the wrong words can elicit inaccurate responses and ruin the entire survey.
- Open-Ended Versus Closed Questions – An open-ended question is broad and allows the person answering to type in whatever they want as an answer while the closed questions do not and have a defined answer to choose. You may want to ask one open-ended question in a survey but don’t make them all open-ended, or it’ll take forever go to through it.
- Reading Between the Lines – When you do ask questions, realize that your customer will likely read between the lines of the question to try to give you the answer you want, or that they want to give. Try to create questions that make this harder to do.
- Avoid Unnecessary Questions – You don’t really need to ask a lot of questions on a survey to get good results. You don’t need to ask questions that you don’t care about the answer. If the answer doesn’t guide a marketing or customer service tactic, it’s not important. For example, if their age does not matter, don’t ask.
- Keep the Questions Short and Simple – The shorter and simpler the questions, the better. People are more likely to tick through a shorter and simpler survey than they are to finish answering a very complicated one. If you want results, you’ll need to remember short and simple is the best. Better to do follow up surveys than do surveys that are too long and cover too much information.
- Ask Direct Questions – Make your questions direct, so they don’t have to read between the lines to figure it out. Remove vague words. Ask, “Do temperatures above 85 make you feel too hot?” not, “Do temperatures above 85 make you feel particularly overly heated?”
- Ask Only One Question at a Time – Don’t give too much background information in your question. Ask one question at a time. If some issues need three or four questions to get through each step, that is okay. Make it happen in several questions but don’t ask more than one question per question.
- Do Not Ask Leading Questions – You’ve seen leading questions before on polls, especially political ones. A leading question tends to tell the person answering how to answer. “Our products are topnotch award winners and are always accurate. How many of the products that you’ve ordered from me have been perfect?”
- Use the Right Language and Words – This is when knowing your audience comes in handy because you need to know the words your audience and your customers use to talk about the issues at hand. When you speak in their language and use their words, they will be more comfortable answering.
- Consider Using Response Scales – One way to get better answers when yes and no don’t work is to use scales. “From a scale of 1 to 10 of the following, which do you prefer.” Then when you analyze the answers, you’re going to get closer to the truth.
When you design your survey, it will help at first to create shorter, more focused surveys designed to get one answer about one thing.