Monday, September 22, 2008

How To Design Your Survey Business Ideas

Surveys can be a useful source of information for planning and effective marketing.

Designing your survey takes a bit of skill, but with a small amount of consideration you'll have no problem putting an effective one together. Just be sure that you're putting the questions in a logical order, and not exhausting your customers by asking for too much detail.

Here are a few tips to help you design a better survey:

Start with the good stuff -- To ease your customers into the survey, start off with some simple questions they can answer without a lot of thought. This can be something as simple as basic demographic information (age, location, etc.), which also happens to be useful information.But don't load up the front end with all of the easy questions. Save a few for the end of the survey. That way, it won't get increasingly difficult throughout, which can cause some people to bail before they complete it.

Avoid asking too many questions -- 5-10 minutes is about the maximum length you can reasonably expect somebody to spend answering a survey, so be sure to limit your questions.At the same time, be sure to let your respondents know up front how much time will be required to complete it... and be honest! People will begin to drop out if it starts to take longer than you say.

Give your survey an introduction and ending -- It's a good idea to include an introduction to the survey, to clearly explain what people are required to do. At the same time, it's a nice touch to end the survey with a "thank-you" page, just to let people know you appreciate the time they spent taking the survey.

Respect people's privacy -- You may want to collect personal information like age, income, and occupation. If you do so, make sure to reassure your customers beforehand that you have a strict privacy policy, and remind them that their answers are all confidential. When it comes time to write the actual questions, make sure you write in a relaxed, conversational voice, and avoid things like abbreviations, acronyms, and double negatives.

You want to be sure that EVERY person who takes your survey clearly understands all of the questions.

Here are a few tips to help you write compelling and effective survey questions:

Avoid asking leading questions -- Be sure that your questions don't sway your customers toward answering them in a particular way, or giving an answer that's not actually true. For example, don't say: "How quickly did we resolve your problem? " This assumes that the problem was indeed resolved.The question you should ask is, "Was your problem resolved?"

Avoid questions that rate more than one thing -- Avoid asking questions that require people to rate more than one thing at a time.For instance, don't say: "How fast and accurate did you find our customer service representative?"While the service may have been fast, it may not have been accurate (or vice versa) so this question is impossible to answer accurately.

Focus on asking "close-ended" questions -- In a survey, a close-ended question is one that can be answered with a simple yes/no or other specific piece of information, or a selection from multiple choices.This makes the survey faster and easier for your customers, and the results more simple for you to manage.So instead of a question like "What did you think of your customer service experience?" try something like "Did you enjoy your customer service experience?"

Be consistent with your questions -- If you ask your customers to rate certain things on a numbered scale, make sure to use the same scale each time.So if they need to rate something on a scale of 1 to 5 in one question, avoid using a scale of 1 to 10 elsewhere.

Watch out for long questions -- If your questions are too long, your customers will soon get tired of answering them, and abandon the survey. Look for questions that can be broken into two or more parts.

Don't test your customers' memories -- Try not to ask your customers to recall a lot of information that happened far in the past. They'll soon get bogged down trying to recall specific details, and if they're in a hurry to complete the survey, will often abandon it.


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