Customer surveys are useful for better understanding your business, better understanding your audience, and ultimately tweaking the business to be more profitable. But without well-designed surveys, your strategy may fall flat.
If your survey is ugly, hard to access, or too cumbersome to get through, your respondents may abandon their efforts before they’re done – leaving you with frustrated customers and no data. Fortunately, with the right tech tools in hand, you can design a survey your customers actually want to complete.
So what does it take to design a better customer survey?
Choose the Right Tech Tools
The most important step to take is adding the right tools to your arsenal. There are hundreds of survey creation and management tools to choose from, so prioritize tools that offer the following:
Total flexibility. You should be in control of how many questions your survey asks, the type of questions asked, how it’s sent, and dozens of other variables. The more control you have, the better.
Templates and starting points. That said, it’s helpful to have a recommended starting point you can build off of.
Measurement and analysis tools. As you’ll see, it’s important to collect not only the raw data from completed surveys, but also data on how and when those surveys were completed.
Understand Your Audience
Before designing your survey, you need to do your market research and work to better understand your target audience. What kinds of people are you trying to reach? Are they exceptionally busy, with limited time on their hands? Are they young, energetic, and familiar with the latest technology?
You can use this information to design a better, audience-focused survey; one that capitalizes on their interests while minimizing potential strain.
Use Tech to Reduce the Number of Questions You Ask
One of the best things you can do with your survey creation tool of choice is reduce the number of questions you ask in the survey. In fact, according to Delighted, you can design an effective survey with just a single question. Survey creators are often tempted to include as many questions as possible, to maximize the information gained from the experience, but if your survey appears too bulky or time-consuming, your response rate is going to plummet.
Take the time to go through your list of potential questions to ask and figure out which ones are the most important or most valuable. If you’re operating with efficiency and respondent convenience in mind, you can design surveys with just a few simple questions.
You also have to advertise the short length of the survey. The whole point here is to incentivize people to respond to your survey – so make it clear that it’s only 2 questions or that it’s only going to take 5 minutes of their time.
Identify the Purpose of the Survey
Next, proactively identify the purpose of the survey. For example:
· What do you want to know? What type of information are you going to collect? Are you trying to figure out how satisfied your customers have been with your past service, or are you getting their opinion on zebras?
· How will this information be used? Some people are concerned with privacy – and they don’t want their data used for nefarious purposes. Make it clear how you’re going to collect and store data.
· What is the end goal? What do you hope to accomplish by collecting the data? Are you going to improve customer experiences? Are you looking to roll out a new product? By stating your end objective, some of your customers will be motivated to help you achieve it.
Your customers will be more likely to respond if they feel confident in your motivations.
Make the Survey Easy to Access and Complete
The more convenient a survey is, the more likely it’s going to get ample respondents. Accordingly, it’s important to make the survey easy to access and complete. These days, brands are increasingly relying on SMS text and email surveys, since they’re quick and manageable forms of communication that people use on a daily basis. Simple multiple-choice questions are also a good choice.
Fortunately, if you’re using a modern, high-tech survey creation tool, this should be straightforward; most modern survey creation tools make their surveys accessible and convenient by default.
Get the Right Sample Size
For any survey to be effective, you need to find the right sample size. For that, you’ll need to know the total population size and run statistical calculations to get down to a confidence level of 95 percent (ideally). Of course, if you’re working with a small audience, this may not be possible. You can use online tech tools to make these calculations easier.
Ensure the Survey Actually Works
Modern technology is fantastic, but it’s not guaranteed to work the way you want. Before submitting the survey to your customers, you’ll need to run through a series of tests to make sure the survey works as intended. If the link is broken, if the survey takes too long to load, or if participants can’t answer questions completely, it’s not going to provide you with meaningful information. Test it with an internal group, then a group of real respondents before releasing it to the general public.
Incentivize People to Respond
Finally, incentivize people to respond, if possible. Can you offer a discount or a gift card in exchange for their participation? Though technically this doesn’t factor into the core “design” of your survey, it can dramatically improve response rates.
A better designed, better planned survey will provide you with more information, get you more responses, and even make your customers happier. Spend some extra time getting these variables right (and using the right tech tools) if you want to be successful.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.