If you’re here reading the Peak Surveys blog, I think it’s safe to say we’re in agreement about the importance of surveys and customer feedback. Surveys provide you with the information you need to improve both your business and your customers’ experiences. Survey Design is your first step.
With all of the easily-accessible online survey tools available to you, it’s somewhat simple and cost-effective to create, send, and get results back from a survey. Much like any product or service, however, a lack of experience can have expensive — in both time and money — drawbacks.
If you do decide to design your own survey, we’ve got a few helpful tips to keep in mind as you put it together:
Narrow Down Your Goals
Simply knowing that you “need customer or employee input” is not enough reason to deploy a survey. When you are trying to determine specific information that you can use and implement, it’s important to have a single, defined objective.
I’ve heard clients say, “I want to find out if clients are ‘satisfied’ or ‘delighted!’”
This is, of course, a legitimate objective… but it doesn’t always stop there.
“… AND I want to find out if they’ll like this new product or service!”
“… AND I want to know what type of product or service they see a need for in the future!”
“… AND I want to gather emails for sales and marketing!”
All of these, of course, are worthy goals — but multiple goals do not belong in one survey tool. Define and prioritize your objectives and design an entire feedback system that will accommodate those goals over time.
Utilizing the Data
After deciding on a goal, you then have to decide what you plan on doing with the data before you start designing your survey questions. It shouldn’t just be “interesting” information; the data you gather should be actionable.
For example, we’ll start with a simple Agreement scale question:
“The staff provides high quality care.” Answer: Strongly Agree, Agree, Somewhat Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree”
Of course, we all want to hear the positive — “Strongly Agree” — but how would you improve if someone strongly disagreed? Make sure there are ample open text questions that allow respondents to explain both positive and negative responses. You’ll then be able to determine if there are repetitive problems and get an idea of how to improve them.
Always Plan to Follow with Action as Part of your Survey Design
Never ask a question that you’re not willing (or able) to follow with action. For example, if you’ve just purchased a new high-end widget that you have no plans to stop using, don’t ask your clients whether or not they like it. This will put you in a precarious position that could either cost you money or client trust.