Surveys are created for a variety of reasons by businesses. Perhaps you’re attempting to gauge customer satisfaction with a new product or determining the effectiveness of a marketing effort. Alternatively, you might want to assess employees’ experiences with your organisation in order to reduce turnover. Perhaps you simply wanted to collect feedback on your lunch-and-learn to see if you should host another one the following week.


The following are ten guidelines for conducting online surveys.

1. Set a goal for your survey.

Before you start developing your survey, you should decide on a goal or set of goals that you want to accomplish. It’s easy to wander off-topic and lose sight of the purpose of your survey if you don’t have this standard.

Your objective should be straightforward but specific. Consider a more specific goal, such as “I want to understand what’s generating quick turnover on our customer-facing teams,” rather than “I want to measure employee satisfaction.” This will give you a road map for the design of your survey, making it easier to decide what questions to ask and how to organise them.

2. Create mobile-first designs.

It’s critical to make your surveys available to people where they are – which is frequently on smartphones – in order to reach a representative population online. Designing for mobile devices entails more than just getting a question to fit on their screen and ensuring overall compatibility; it also entails making the entire survey process entertaining on mobile devices, ensuring you get the best results possible.

The best practices outlined below take into account length, language, complexity, and other factors that can affect survey completion rates and the quality of data you obtain.

3. Lean towards closed-ended questions.

Closed-ended questions are those that have predetermined answers that the survey’s designers have created. Typically, these questions are presented in a multiple-choice or checkbox format, with participants selecting their preferred alternative from a list of options. Closed-ended inquiries are favoured because they yield quantitative outcomes that are easy to reply to and analyse.

Open-ended questions can be used to collect qualitative data, but because they take longer to fill out and review, they’re best employed when seeking particular input or dealing with smaller groups. Place the questions at the end of the survey in these circumstances because they require more effort to complete and might occasionally overwhelm the participant. Before survey weariness sets in, around three-quarters of the way through the survey is the optimal time to insert them.

4. Asking biassed or leading questions is a no-no.

It’s very easy to put questions in your survey that are biased or misleading. A leading question, for example, is one that asks, “How fantastic was your experience with our customer service team?” This is a question that encourages the researcher’s intended response.

These types of questions cast doubt on the accuracy of your findings. Because your team has subjectively influenced individuals, you can’t trust the accuracy of your results.

“How would you rate your experience with our customer service team?” instead of “How would you rate your experience with our customer service team?” This maintains objectivity and encourages respondents to be truthful in their responses.

5. Pay attention to your phrases and vocabulary.

Similarly, if your questions are overly broad or too specific, the authenticity of your data may be threatened. Absolute words like “always,” “every,” and “never” compel participants to entirely agree or disagree with your questions, which may make some people hesitant to respond. Consider the following example:

Are you a regular online shopper with our company?

A. Yes

B. No

Your responses are limited by the question above. After all, some customers might shop online at times and in-store at others. They are forced to choose one of the responses supplied, which reduces the accuracy of their response.

6. Make use of answer scales.

Response scales reveal the intensity of a person’s feelings about a certain topic. Without utilising open-ended questions, these types of responses provide in-depth insight into how your audience feels.

You can use a 5-point or 7-point Likert scale instead of Yes/No or True/False responses. Participants are given a series of statements to consider before being asked to score their opinions on a scale with opposite extremes. Instead of asking, “Do you frequent our stores?” you may ask, “Do you frequent our stores?”

How often do you come to one of our stores?

A. Very Frequently

B. Frequently

C. Occasionally

D. Rarely

E. Never

This format provides you with specific feedback on a topic while keeping the response quantitative and closed-ended.

7. Use straightforward language.

You want to make sure that the questions you’re asking are simple to understand and allow no chance for misunderstanding. Using informal language with your target audience is a smart method to do this.

“What insights did you obtain from your conversation with our customer service reps that ultimately influenced your decision to transition from acquisition to advocacy?” for example, rather than “What insights did you procure from your conversation with our customer service reps that ultimately influenced your decision to transition from acquisition to advocacy?” “How did your experiences with our customer service staff help you stay loyal?” is a good question to ask. It’s written in simple language that everyone will comprehend, and it’s not a run-on sentence.

8. Clarify information with graphics and videos.

It’s possible that no matter how well-worded your question is, it won’t be understood by respondents. To avoid any misunderstanding, it’s important to support the question with illustrations or videos.

9. Describe questions that may appear to be needless or intrusive.

Some surveys may require you to ask questions that may appear superfluous or personal. For example, you may need to ask demographic questions about race, income, gender, and other factors to understand more about your target audience. Because some people are sensitive to these topics, it’s crucial to clarify why you’re requesting this information.

People may skip your question or, worse, exit the survey entirely if they are uncomfortable. Provide a brief description of why these questions are relevant to your research to make it apparent why they’re being asked. Make it clear to participants that their responses will be kept private and utilised solely for research reasons. And, of course, make good on your promises.

10. Test your survey.

After you’ve created your survey, test it before distributing it to stakeholders. After all, you want to make sure the survey is efficient and collects the information you need. Conducting a test run on a small sample size of internal personnel can assist your team in catching mistakes that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Having someone else look through the survey will guarantee that you don’t miss any missing questions, misspelt terms, or biased wording. It’s preferable to find these issues now rather than after the survey has been distributed.

Make use of this opportunity to get input on the survey’s design as well. Is it excessively long? Is it monotonous? Are there any questions that are particularly perplexing or repetitive? Do you think the questions were clear?

Use this information to improve your survey, then retest it. Continue this approach until you have a positive response from your participants and are ready to move on.

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