If you’re genuinely concerned about the experience of your customers, the best way to learn how they feel is to ask. The good news is people are all too happy to tell you what they think. However, you do have to be careful how you ask if you want to get answers you can use.
In other words, there’s an art to asking effective survey questions.
Here’s what you need to know.
Maintain Branding Elements
If you’re conducting your surveys by email, make sure your formatting, fonts and image choices match the look of your site. This way, your customers will know the information is indeed going to you. If you’re conducting your surveys onsite, better free website themes like Shopify’s have survey capabilities built in.
Focus on Closed-Ended Questions
A lot of open-ended questions at the front of your survey can give the impression it will take too long to complete. Limit them to one or two, designed to get respondents to elaborate on their experiences. Placed at the end of the survey, they won’t lead people to opt-out without completing it.
Simplicity Is Best
Uncommon words, words that have multiple meanings and broad-based questions will work against you. The same is true for questions containing double negatives. Keep your inquiries simple, concise and specific.
If you’re trying to get some insight into a broad concept, break queries down into bite-sized bits. Let’s say you’re trying to gauge how often a person visits your website. Rather than asking if they visit your site regularly, ask how many days per week they visit. Then ask how long they stay on the site.
Eliminate Leading Questions
If you’ve ever watched a courtroom drama on TV, you’ve heard lawyers object to questions on the grounds they were leading witnesses. This means the questions were structured to lead to answers the lawyers wanted.
This can happen in surveys too.
“We think free shipping is a good idea, how much do you like free shipping?” is an example of a leading question. If you’re really trying to get a gauge on how shoppers feel about free shipping, a better way to ask the question would be, “Is free shipping a determining factor for you when you’re shopping?”
Provide Balanced Response Choices
Include a broad spectrum of responses when you ask a multiple-choice question. As an example, rather than accepting a simple yes or no answer to our free shipping question, offer a range of choices to get a more accurate idea of how much it matters.
The result would look like this:
1. Does free shipping influence your purchase decision?
- Very much so
- Not at all
Ask One Question at a Time
Let’s say you’re trying to find out if customers would accept a slower delivery method if they didn’t have to pay and be willing to pay for faster shipping.
Rather than asking the double-barreled question:
“Would you be OK with three-day shipping if you could get it for free, or would you rather pay for overnight shipping?
Break that question down into its constituent parts.
“Would you be OK with three-day shipping if it were free?”
“Would you pay for shipping if you could have your product overnight?”
Avoid Overlapping Multiple-Choice Questions
When you ask a multiple-choice question, be careful to frame the answers so they don’t give respondents choices to which their responses negate one another.
“What’s the most you would pay for overnight shipping?
- $5 - $10
- $10 - $15
- $15 - $20
Instead, your responses should read:
- $5 - $9
- $10 - $14
- $15 - $20
Ask Questions Once
How do you feel when asked a question you’ve already answered? Better yet, how do you feel when asked a question you’ve already answered in a different way? If you’re like most people, you’ll feel interrogated.
Make sure all of your questions are different. Read over them carefully to ensure they can’t be misconstrued as repeating a previous question. And, while we’re on the subject, keep them light and unbiased so you don’t come across as an interrogator.
Crafting your inquires carefully will ensure you’re asking effective survey questions. Exercising equal concern in your planning and execution, will ensure you’ll get the results you’ll need to make your site better.