Online Survey Best Practices for Effective Results

Maulik Shah
Oct 19,2016

    For businesses to develop and improve with every passing day, it is vital to know the areas of their business operations where they are lacking or the areas where more enhancements are possible. Everything isn’t mentioned in the rule books promulgated to run the organization. There are aspects which demand new study and research with the changing trends. For the said concept, it is important to know what is being liked and disliked by people, and what might interest them. To know this on a large scale, Surveys come out as the best option. In the contemporary world where everything is online, getting a survey done has become easier. But, like everything else, it comes with its own challenges. Let’s have a look at some online survey best practices to follow while conducting an online survey to get effective results.

    1. Keep it short

    The first and foremost thing that you need to take care of is the length of the survey. It’s a busy world and nobody is interested in spending out much time filling out lengthy surveys. If your questionnaires are short, more people will participate in it and you get more results to compare and take actions accordingly. Most people tend to opt out in the middle if it is taking more than a few minutes to fill out a survey.

    2. Intelligent Questionnaire

    The designing of the questionnaire should be done intelligently. Don’t put in long answer questions to your survey. Thinking from the scratch is what people don’t like. Try to put in multiple choice questions. If it is important to get a few words from people filling out the survey, start with a yes/no option. For example, instead of ‘How do you think we can better our customer services?’ You should ask ‘Are you satisfied with our customer services? If no, please provide your feedback on the same.’ It’s all about convincing and coaxing someone to answer your unwanted questions. Answering the first question needs somewhat taxing to your mind, while the second one takes you step by step towards answering the question. Try to use a rating scale questionnaire which would be easier to analyze. A uniform method would make it easier to upload input data from which relevant output can be drawn through use of various softwares.

    3. Target Population

    When it comes to surveys, one size doesn’t fit all. Be specific about your target audience and create the survey accordingly. Use terms that they can relate to. For example, if you want to survey people of a particular region, you can use their local language. Similarly, if the survey is meant for youngsters, your tone can be funky that would attract and not bore the youngsters. For middle aged working people, you are expected to be more professional with the language and tone of the survey.

    4. Clear and simple

    This one is one of the most important points to be considered while preparing a survey. The language should be very lucid. Each word of the survey should be clearly understood by the participant. If a survey contains jargons, the participant wouldn’t care about looking into the meaning of it. He will just skip the survey. The questions should also be direct without much beating around the bush. The participant of the survey must not feel like he is taking a test. It should be a simple activity which can be easily filled out without much effort.

    5. E-mail surveys

    Mailing out the surveys is always one of the options. When the survey is asked to be filled out in a pop-up, a click on the cross is all one needs to get rid of it. And then, even if one is willing to fill it out later, they won’t be interested in making efforts to find it again. Mailing the survey ensures that the survey stays in the inbox of the target respondents and that they can fill it out later given their convenience of time and place. It will also help you promote your survey. If you have a CRM system it becomes even easier to email surveys from within your CRM using an app like Survey Rocket.

    6. Test your survey

    For anything that is important, a ‘test’ is mandatory. Same goes for surveys too. After you are done preparing the questionnaire, test it on various browsers, devices, and operating systems. It should work without any glitch and should be fast to load. Send it out to a first set of people, which includes insiders and close people. See if you are getting the desired results and are able to analyze the data received. Once you are done with the testing part, you can delete all the test data and send out the survey to the potential respondents.

    7. Rewards at the end

    This is a relatively new method being adopted by businesses to get their surveys filled. And, it definitely works! If it is your customers that are the potential respondents, you can offer them a certain discount on their next purchase if they fill out the survey. A code is generated when the survey is filled which they can use to redeem their discount. Leading businesses like KFC, use their invoices to promote these kind of surveys where the bill number is filled out while filling out the survey, which they can use to get the discount on their next purchase.

    8. Compatibility on mobile

    People like to do things on the move, while they are on devices like their phones and tablets; they are more probable to be available to fill out the surveys. Therefore, your survey should be compatible and look good on these devices with smaller screens as well. While testing your survey, mark it in the list to check the survey is working fine from various phone browsers and tablets.

    All these points will help you get more responses to your survey which you can further utilize for effective results. Apart from this, you should keep some simple etiquettes in mind. For example, using the words like ‘Please’ in the beginning of the survey and adding a one line thank you note after filling out the survey.

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