Have you ever jumped head first into writing a survey, only to find yourself feeling overwhelmed? Or collected data and not known what to do with the results? What you need are well-thought-out survey goals, built on a firm understanding of your survey topic. This is how your questions will ensure actionable and targeted results.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed or at a loss, take a look at a few things that you, dear designer should have on your survey to-do list before you start to design your survey.
1. Identify your goals
Before you jump into writing your questionnaire, think about what you want to achieve with the resulting data. If you never lose focus on your goals, you’ll be able to write questions aimed at getting you high quality, actionable data.
For example, let’s say you own a clothing store and have decided to conduct a customer feedback survey. Before you get started, it’s important to decide how your store will use the data it collects.
Two ways you’ll use the survey data:
- Improve overall customer experience
- Target high-profit customers
Now that you know how you’ll use the data, you can develop your survey goals:
- Measure customer satisfaction and identify ways to improve satisfaction
- Identify your customer demographics and how much they spend
From here, it’s only a matter of deciding which questions will give you the information required to address your research goals. For the first goal, this may mean asking rating questions on different aspects of the customer-business relationship like service, pricing, product, and location. In addition, consider asking open-ended questions on how your store can improve.
For the second goal, beyond asking demographic questions, you could also ask for more behavioral information—how often do customers shop at your store? How much do they spend?
2. Know your target audience
Your target audience, otherwise known as the population of your survey, refers to the people you’ll be getting to answer your survey. Before you start designing your survey’s length, questionnaire vocabulary, and collection method, it’s essential to know exactly who will be responding to this survey.
Fact is, a survey should be presented differently based on the people giving the responses. Think about the difference between a healthcare survey targeting patients versus one targeting doctors.
The idea here is to ensure you’re catering to your respondent’s knowledge level, lifestyle, and amount of commitment to the survey. Knowing your audience helps you plan even more for your survey, like the following:
- How to send out your survey: is it better to send everyone in your address book a link to complete the survey via email or ask them to complete the survey in-store on an iPad?
- Which words to use: Regular customers may be familiar with specific styles or designs (e.g., Nike Flyknit), but infrequent customers may not be. Don’t use words or jargon that a large group of your respondents might not understand.
- The length of your survey: Your most devoted customers will likely stick around for a long survey. Your unhappy customers won’t.
Now let’s return to our earlier clothing store example. Say your target audience are frequent shoppers in the 18-24 age demographic.
- How to send out your survey: Your customers often come into your store during their lunch break, you’re probably better off sending them a link via email so you don’t waste their time with an in-store survey. On the other hand, if you only want people who have come to your store to respond, an in-store survey might be more appropriate.
- Which words to use: Avoid industry terms like “POS” or “point of sale” system. Regular folks just know it as a cash register.
- The length of your survey: You’ll be sending out the survey to all your customers—both satisfied and dissatisfied. It’s more important to not upset your dissatisfied customers even more, so keep it as short as possible
Another thing to keep in mind: survey takers may not be as invested in responding to your survey without incentive. We talk more about how to effectively offer incentives here.
You’re one step closer to the perfect survey
Once you’ve identified your goals and the survey’s target audience, you should have a great understanding of the questions that should be asked, how they should be presented to respondents, and how to analyze the responses to get actionable results. So what are you waiting for?
Start building your survey plan today and get ready for data that will take your business in the right direction!