How to Build a Great Survey

Getting feedback from clients helps any business grow and improve. There are many tools which allow collection of data, from questionnaires to survey cards to many others. One of the best tools would be the use of a survey tailored for your specific practice. However, this leads to one of the biggest problems: What questions do I ask, and how do I ask them? Building a good survey could lead to great feedback, or information that is not useful in anyway.

Questions, Questions

One of the key points to keep in mind for any question included on a survey is: What is the purpose of this question, and what do I want to learn from it? If you always ask yourself that question when reviewing the questions, it will help narrow in on useful information. Also, the form of the question plays a part here. Are the questions essay/open-ended, scale based, or simple yes/no? The different style of questions leads to the type of data you will collect.

Survey Length

Another point to keep in mind is the overall length of the survey. If you have too few questions, there is not enough information gathered to make informed decisions. On the flip side, too many questions could increase the chance of people not filling out the survey at all. The survey should be short enough to be completed in 5 to 10 minutes, ideally. This means that a survey with around seven questions would be ideal because it would require about 60 to 75 seconds to think about and answer each question properly from the end user. Of course, the least amount of time spent on a survey while gathering useful data is best.

Questions should also be asked in a logical manner that leads into one another should they warrant. Guiding the user through a survey helps the flow and generally increases user submissions, as it feels more natural to follow.

The Data

Ultimately, the type of data that you gather should define the type of questions that should be asked. It should be quick to complete, but long enough to gather enough useful information. As a parting note, including a place for freeform writing through an “Additional Comments” section will also be largely beneficial, as it allows users to explain in more detail about any question.

Reviewed by: James Larson on 11/22/19