The Art of Asking Questions: 5 Common Survey Mistakes You Can AvoidPosted by sabrina
So you may already know about Survey Monkey, and about how customer feedback can be invaluable to a small business, especially when it comes to developing and improving products and services. You might have an idea about what sort of questions you’d like to ask your customers in order to achieve these goals. However, do you know how to write an effective survey? You may feel like jumping in and asking whichever questions come to mind first. Be careful. Survey design is an art, and wording questions that are clear to your targeted respondents can be tricky.
5 Common Mistakes to Watch Out For
1. Complexity and business jargon.
It is important to keep in mind that not all of your audience may have a college education or speak English as their first language. They may also be unfamiliar with terminology common to your industry. Make sure to craft your questions using clear, simple language and make the effort to test them for clarity before sending out your survey. Grab a friend or family member who fits into your demographic and ask them to look over the survey for you. You’ll be surprised by how many things make sense in your head but are unclear or confusing to other people.
2. Introducing bias.
Leading questions that already imply an answer, or questions that may make it more socially acceptable to choose a certain answer, can introduce bias into your results. Here’s an example:
Many people are using ABC product, how often do you use ABC product in any given week?
This question could introduce a bandwagon effect that nudges the respondent toward saying yes because they perceive it to be more socially acceptable. Another mistake to watch out for is introducing examples that could stifle the respondent’s creativity and prevent them from giving you an honest answer. For example:
What is your favourite candy bar? E.g. Mars, Snickers, etc.
3. Ambiguous questions.
Words such as ‘occasionally’ and ‘frequently’ are ambiguous because they mean different things to different people. Let your audience know exactly what you mean to ask by being specific. For example:
How often do you use ABC product?
a) Frequently (more than 4 times a week)
b) Occasionally (1 to 3 times a week)
4. Double-barrelled questions
Double-barrelled questions are those that ask two (and sometimes more than two) things at once. For example:
Do you agree that ABC Brand is effective and easy to use? Yes or no.
What if the respondent wants to answer yes to the product being effective and no to it being easy to use, or vice-versa? This questions needs to be split into two separate questions in order to fully capture the range of responses that can be given.
5. Assuming people can remember everything.
When asking questions such as “How often have you used ABC Brand in the past year?” it is important to remember that respondents may not be able to recall their past behaviour in sufficient detail. Help your respondents out by forming questions that refer to a more recent period such as the previous week.
What tips and tricks have you learned from designing customer service in the past?