Marketing Insights

Dos and Don’ts for Creating an Effective Customer Survey

Let's take a dive into the Dos and Don’ts for creating effective surveys that your customers do not skip.

Surveys are a great way to gather input directly from your contacts/audience. Often, surveys are necessities to research, be it for scientific research, content or to develop effective business strategies.

But too many times, we come across surveys that are not structured efficiently. A lot of surveys are loaded with questions that are all over the place. Many do not even serve the very purpose they were designed for.

Let’s take a dive into the Dos and Don’ts for creating effective surveys that your customers do not skip.

The Dos

1. DO Define the Purpose of the Survey

Do you want to know about the internet surfing habits of your customers? Is it their favourite breakfast that you want inputs on? Maybe you want to know what they like to wear in winters.

Define these details before designing the survey. This will help you frame very specific questions that will yield the information you need. Make sure this agenda is expressed clearly in the title and description of the survey. This will give your respondents a sense of what they are really being asked.

2. DO Include More Closed-Ended Questions

Closed-Ended questions sound something like this:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you rate our pasta?”

These questions let your customers choose their answers from a variety of options. You may ask them to mark one or more than one option(s) depending on the questions.

The reason this works is that open-ended questions require the respondent to think longer than closed-ended ones. This makes it harder for them to answer.

That being said, it is advised that you keep a healthy balance. Surveys with zero open-ended questions feel empty too. So, use them minimally, but use them alright.

3. DO Offer Balanced Answer Choices

Closed-ended questions will only work if the respondents see their thoughts among the options. Make sure the answer choices provided ang alone, try to brainstorm and/or go to online forums like Quora to browse through contrasting and account for most possibilities.

Try to ask your team members what they would answer a specific question and include a variety of possible responses. If you are worki

4. DO Ask One Question at a Time

Many conductors of surveys will frame a question with two parts to it. You might want to avoid that. If it is two related questions, then frame two different questions. Merging two (or more) questions in a single one has two side-effects:

  •  It confuses the respondent. Unless they have the exact same thing to say for both the questions, their answers will be inaccurate.
  • You, as the surveyor, miss out on the nuances of your customers’ thoughts. The data collected from the survey might present a muddled picture.

Avoid questions like “What do you think about the Android and iOS apps?” Instead frame two questions. “What do you think about Android apps?” and “What do you think of iOS apps?”

5. DO Include a Follow-Up

Thank your customers for participating in your survey. By doing this, you’re connecting with them as people and not just a statistic on your sales chart.

Set up automated ‘Thank You’ mails. Let them know how their responses will be utilized in the future. And update them on the observations from the survey if necessary. The idea is to not use their data without giving them exposition.

The DON’Ts

1.  DON’T Make Them Think

You want your customers to have an effortless experience. Avoid making them think too much. While it is true that you would need them to think to get a better response, making them ponder too much might be counterproductive.

Here’s why:

People who come to know about your survey will click off of it if they find it too demanding. They need to feel like they are not doing a mammoth task by filling up the survey.

So, what do we do with the hard-hitting questions? Do we just remove them?

Definitely, not. We’ve already mentioned the power of Closed-Ended questions and keeping your questions focused. This brings us to the next part.

2. DON’T Start the Survey with Personal Questions

Starting the survey with extremely personal questions is like asking someone you just met about something tragic that happened with them. They find it inconvenient, and you come across as you don’t value their privacy.

To answer the question that we raised on hard-hitting questions: we save them for the second half of the survey.

Start off with more general questions. Treat the first few questions of the survey like small-talk. They are put there to make your respondents feel comfortable. Build up to the personal questions slowly.

3. DON’T Create a Long Survey

While you do want to make sure you develop your survey slowly, to the difficult questions; you might want to keep it short. Understand that a customer will run out of patience if it is too long.

Surveys that are too long and have lots of open-ended questions have a lower chance of being completed. Be very selective and intentional with your choice of questions.

4. DON’T Use Absolutes in Your Questions

Absolutes are words like always, never, every, all, etc. These words will generate inaccurate responses at best.

Let’s say you want to research the frequency of pop music being played by your customers. In this scenario, asking “Do you always listen to Pop music?” is a bad idea. A better question is, “How often do you listen to Pop music?”

To sum up all the pieces of advice: try to smoothen the respondents’ experience as much as you can. Make them feel like actual people, inform them honestly about your intentions and do not demand too much from them. Keep the survey short, focused and precise.


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