How to prepare a great survey?

What is the first thing which comes to your mind when you think of the word survey? It depends if you are using it as a verb – observe, contemplate, or as a noun – study, review, scrutiny?

In the field of Market Research, we often relate survey as a questionnaire, which we use to gather information from a large group of people. We often use a suitable data collection mode to get the responses. Most commonly used collection modes are :

  • Face to Face survey
  • Phone survey
  • Paper and Pencil survey
  • Online survey(most common)

Everyone wants to extract the best insights they can from a survey campaign. We should make sure that it has all the characteristics required for a proper survey.

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Survey Dos and Don’t 

1.   Use scales where ever possible.

Giving a scale of ‘Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree,’ you can know the emotions of the respondent and his/her sentiments behind the response. Ranking the product or services can be variable with each respondent. Instead, ask them to rate the product or services on a scale.

  • Don’t combine multiple questions into one-  Having multiple questions merged in one will only create confusion and false response. People tend to remember the recent one and answer according to that.
  •  E.g., Which brands of cereal you buy for your kids and our family, and what do you like the most about it? In a family, there can be two different brands of cereal for kids and parents. So, about which cereal are we asking?

 2.  Keep it simple.

Separate ‘need to know’ and ‘nice to know.’ Keeping your respondent active as much as possible is your goal to receive fruitful information.  

3.  Don’t prepare long surveys. 

The attention span has reduced significantly in this digital and fast-moving world. Keeping the survey short helps you not use your participants/ respondents.

4. Test your survey.

Testing the survey by yourself and with a team provides you insight if the survey-

i) is prepared correctly

ii) serves the purpose and

iii) engages respondents for correct responses.

5. Don’t force an answer.

Forcing the respondent to answer a question can make them uncomfortable. If your survey permits, provide a skip option without an answer instead of receiving a randomized incorrect response. 

Additionally, this will create a negative experience and might not get other responses right or end up with an incomplete survey. 

Use skip option while asking about race, ethnicity, income, etc.

6. Don’t ask open-ended questions.

Derivations of the insights out of these are complicated at the same time they do not give the right information. E.g., What kind of products would you like to see in the future?

7. Don’t underestimate psychographics.

Understanding why customer behaves in a certain way can be achieved with the help of psychographics—thereby helping you to make more profound and meaningful connections with your target market.

In conclusion, surveys should not be done just for the sake of doing it; it should be insightful so that we can make decisions. From small businesses to big corporates depend on external or internal marketing research to understand consumer behavior. 

Even if you don’t have big budgets, conducting a small study with your employees and customer(which cheaper than conducting polls with external population) may provide you views that you have never thought.

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