Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Reducing the number of questions, part of Using Customer Surveys to Improve Service.
- One thing that really annoys customers is a long survey. In this video, I'm gonna show you how to make your survey shorter. Believe it or not, in most cases, you don't need more than five questions. In fact, I've seen many terrific surveys with just three. Shorter surveys get better response rates and are less likely to annoy your customers. A good place to start is by asking yourself whether each survey question is absolutely essential. If it's not, cut it out. Sometimes organizations identify a set of variables that they think are important to customers.
They'll include a survey question for each one, such as fast service, friendly greetings, cleanliness, and problem solving. This makes for a pretty long survey. You can reduce these five questions down to just two, by using a text response box. The first question is the overall rating, and the second question is a text box that allows customers to tell you what they feel is important to their service quality. Another trick is to avoid asking questions you should already know the answer to.
Let's say you're attaching survey invitations to purchase receipts. Many survey programs generate a specific code with each survey invitation. That code can be used to identify data, such as the time of day, the location visited, and the cashier who served the customer. This eliminates the need to ask for this information in your survey. It's also more accurate than relying on your customer's memories. If you must ask a lot of survey questions, you can use skip logic to make your survey faster to complete.
Skip logic, or branching logic, allows you to skip to different questions based on the answers your customers provide. For example, let's say you wanted to ask your customers how often they visit a store. Using skip logic, only customers who answer A to Question 1, would see Question 2. Everyone else would skip past this question, since it's not relevant to them. At the beginning of this video, I said that many great surveys ask just three questions.
Here's an example of a three question survey that's really effective. The first question is a rating question. This one asks for the customer's overall satisfaction, but you could also use a net promoter, or customer effort score question here. The asterisk indicates that a response to this question is required. The second question allows customers to provide additional feedback in a free text box. That makes it really easy to look for trends in the comments written by customers providing high, low, or neutral ratings.
The final question allows customers to opt in for a follow-up contact. If a customer answers yes, you may decide to follow up with them directly. This can be a great way to fix problems if a customer gives a low rating, or to respond to a specific issue contained in their comments. I recommend taking a look at one of your own surveys, and trying to reduce the number of questions you ask. It may not always be possible to get your survey down to just three questions, but keep in mind that a survey is asking customers to spend their valuable time giving you feedback.
Always respect your customer's time, and try to make your surveys as short as possible without compromising their effectiveness.