Best Practices for Successful Surveys


One way in which businesses or organizations can progress in their endeavors is being able to gather positive and enough feedback from the most valuable assets which include the customers and the employees. Efficient feedback gathering, analyzing it and taking actions upon it through a meaningful way helps increase the businesses success as well as strengthening the relationships. There are various ways and best practices which have been applied to aid in achieving efficient feedback gathering specifically in online surveys.

Well defined objective

First, having a single and a well-defined objective survey helps achieve this goal. Surveys are made purposely to aid in information gathering, and clear objectives assist in identifying the type of feedback required to be it from the customers, employees or the donors. The aim should be narrowed down so that the fundamental questions are formulated to help in getting to the root of the issue. Additionally, it is good to take some time in the planning process of the survey and determine what is needed as the end results before developing the questions.

Keep the survey short

Another best practice that has always yielded positive results in surveys is keeping it short. A survey that is intended at getting the best responses should take about five minutes since long surveys tend to bore the respondents and they end up giving irrelevant information. Surveys that take more than ten minutes needs a rethink, or the participating respondents should be provided with incentives as a motivation for the much time spent in answering the questions. Also, another key that helps keep the survey to the point is the avoiding questions with many options. Scenarios, where a single question has so many options or answers, do confuse the respondents as well as slow the time for completing the survey.

Design the survey for measurable results

Further, for a survey to be successful, there is a need to design it in a way that it is focused on achieving measurable results. The only way to accomplish this is by asking close-ended questions. The survey takers will be able to give feedbacks or rather results that are easy to analyze, identify trends and more importantly set baselines. The disadvantage of using open-ended questions is getting results that are difficult to read, code, trend and time-consuming.

Ask one detail for every single question

Survey questions should contain single information such that one specific thing is asked in one question. It might seem easy have one thing in one question, but so many people have fallen into this trap when in the compiling of questions process. Many researchers find themselves asking two unrelated things in one questions which would have been better to answer them independently.

Avoid biasing the responses

Also, when creating surveys and the questions, biases might be a problem and to achieve a successful survey, it is important to avoid prejudicing the response. Questions should be formulated such that their responses are not trending in a particular manner. This is more applicable to questions that might require extreme answers like always and never in common scenarios but in surveys, words like extremely, not very, should be used since the biasness in the responses.

Limit the number of the required questions

Having so many questions in a survey is also a hindrance for a successful survey. The number of the required questions should be limited so that the flow of the response rate is not ruined or decreased in any way. The required questions that will be incorporated in the survey should be those that are important, and the feedback can influence business decisions.

Consider the order of the questions

Another important thing that should be considered when conducting surveys is the order of questions. The order of the questions matters a lot. The first questions should be made easy, exciting and engaging to help the respondents get into the flow of the survey. Questions that are related to the profiles of the place and demographics should come at the end of the questionnaires to avoid scaring the survey takers off. Usually, when someone has taken their time to answer the previous questions, the chances are that they can provide their profile details at the end.

Create a logical flow

Surveyors need to create a consistent flow when grouping the survey questions. Questions that are related in terms of their topic should be placed in one place, and text boxes should be used to help in introducing every section of the survey. Sometimes a survey can have long questions and to save survey takers the feeling that there is an endless scroll of questions, page break should be used. Also, the use of pages breaks helps find an easy and an automatic way to save all the responses every time it is clicked.

Test the survey

For a survey to be successful, prior testing is compulsory. Once everything in the survey is completed, it is sent to some trusted associates to help in testing. These associates have to provide information on how much time is consumed to gather feedback and the overall flow of the survey. Also, the test entries can be checked to ensure the format of the answers will be able to provide useful information.

Spell out time expectations

Surveys have greeting pages, and in this page, it is recommended that the surveyors spell their time expectations. The people conducting the survey are supposed to tell the respondents the reasons why they are asking the questions they are asking, give them the approximate time they want the survey to take and what they are going to do with the data being collected. The invite in this page should be made by customers or respondents oriented by making frequent use of the word “you” in the text.

Get in front of the right people

Surveys have the target people and to make them successful, it is important to ensure that it gets to the right people who will be able to provide the required feedback. Finding and understanding what kind of people should respond in the survey is determined by the objective of the survey. The people who care more or are touched more with the topics in the survey questions can make the excellent audience and are the right people surveyors should be looking at.

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By Sidharth

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