Not Getting the Answers You Need? Tips on How to Write a Good Survey

Using a survey can be a good way to get information from your current or potential customers.  Writing a good survey starts with creating a goal. Think about why you need a survey and what kind of information you need to get from it to be effective. Some potential reasons a business might need a survey:

  • Why do we have bad product ratings -technical or material problem?
  • Why do we have an influx of customer service complaints?
  • Why is my product not selling?
  • Need to know if a new product idea will sell
  • Needing feedback on a new or updated website

There can be many reasons why you might need a survey, but it’s best to keep to one main goal or topic per survey. This is to keep the readers interested and will be most effective in solving your problem or getting those answers you need.

After determining your goal, you should decide on a sample size and which customers need to be surveyed. This will depend on your goal. An idea to get you started:

A new customer made a purchase.

Example: Your goal is to find out WHY a new customer would pick your company/product over a competitor’s similar product. You have decided to send out a short survey of five questions to your next fifty new customers to see why they would pick you over a competitor. You know many people do not reply to surveys but you would like to get at least twenty-five responses. You offer a 10% off next order coupon to those that complete the survey as an incentive. You create a short survey and one of the questions is: What is the top reason you purchased this product over similar products? You offer a dropdown list of answers: Price, Ratings or Reviews, Materials/Ingredients, Other. If the respondent checked other, they can write a short response. Other questions you might ask are:

Where did you first hear about or see this product? (short response)

Did you do research prior to purchasing this product? (Yes, No checkbox)

Other than your first choice when purchasing this product, what else is important to you, in the order of importance? (List)

On a scale of 1-5 (5 being highest) would you recommend this product to a friend?

Surveys are most effective when brief and one page or less (try to stay around 5 minutes or less). Many people will lose interest and discard a long survey. It’s important to be careful in the wording of your survey. Write for your audience and avoid leading questions; it’s best to keep a neutral tone to get the most reliable answers. Make sure to write the question in a way to get a definitive answer, a middle of the road answer will tell you nothing.

If you’re interested in writing a survey, Google Forms is an option.  It allows your surveys to fit on both desktop and mobile, allows photos and organizes your survey responses. Forms will collect and analyze your responses in real time and allows you different methods of reviewing the information. You can also allow other people to work on your survey.

When you first visit Google Forms, they have several basic formats to choose from (RSVP, Event Registration, Contact Information, etc.) and a Blank form which you can create yourself. The pre-made versions already have questions in them. If you choose to write your own survey, you are given some choices such as short or long answer, multiple choice, checkbox, dropdown, etc. Google Forms is a simple way to get started writing a survey. 

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