Create Effective Surveys

Creating Effective Survey's
In the continuing effort of businesses to increase their bottom line, I’ve noticed a sharp increase of surveys hitting my email box in the past several months. It has been interesting to see the tone and direction these surveys have taken.

It’s very obvious that some have much thought and work put into them by professionals. Others appear to have been put together with very little thought or focus to the reason or need for a survey. The result of someone saying, “Let’s do a survey,” but without anyone asking, “What do we want to learn from the survey?”

A survey is very objective, so you must be clear about exactly what you are trying to learn. For instance, asking “Did you like the steak at the awards banquet?” will garner a yes or no answer. If the answer is “no,” you have no further information to find out why. A better question would be, “Was the steak, a) undercooked, b) overcooked, c) prepared perfectly d) tender, e) tough” and allow people to choose as many answers as they like.

Similarly, asking “Did you find the workshops helpful,” with a yes/no answer doesn’t give you the information you need. The follow-up question of “Why?” must be asked so you can plan differently in the future.

Don’t soften your survey questions. Ask “Did you receive the information you needed?” rather than “Did you receive adequate information?” Someone may have received adequate information, but it wasn’t what they needed and/or wanted.

Whenever possible, give people the added opportunity for open-ended responses. Many times I have answered a survey question with yes or no, but wanted to add my own comments to clarify my response.

Creating surveys isn’t rocket science; but it does take some thought.

If you are taking a survey for your client or your own company, be sure to have a clear and concise reason for asking each question. Make sure the questions will give important feedback (both good and bad) and allow you to take actionable steps. You can only improve if you give people the options to tell you where improvement is needed.

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