Businesses need to conduct surveys to better understand and serve their customers.
The problem? Many customers hate taking surveys.
But if the customer doesn’t take the survey, they miss the opportunity to experience better service from the business.
The concept of the business survey is a bit of a paradox—and most definitely a source of frustration for business owners, especially if they can’t get customers to fill them out. But are the customers to blame? Are they all too lazy, or are they just so delighted with your product or service that there’s no need to fill out a business survey?
While some blame can be put on the customer, it’s up to you, the business owner, to evaluate what you can do differently. How is the content of your survey? Perhaps no one’s responding to your business survey because of the survey itself.
Don’t worry; there are a few easy ways to turn a business survey that no one wants to take into a survey that more people will want to take—and you’ll get more insightful responses, too.
Here are five tips for writing an outstanding business survey.
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Depending on what type of data you’re looking for, you’ll want to choose between open-ended questions and closed-ended questions.
Open-ended questions provide more qualitative information and detailed answers to questions that take longer to analyze but provide more valuable information.
The wording should be objective—not a transparent way of leading respondents to say what you want them to say.
- Don’t ask: We have recently upgraded our menu. What do you like best about the changes?
- Ask: What are your thoughts on the new menu?
Don’t assume your respondents know all the details you do. When necessary, give background details to help survey takers respond appropriately.
- Don’t ask: Do you like our new facility?
- Ask: This arena opened in spring 2022, replacing a well-loved stadium built in 1997. If you visited the former arena, how would you compare the two venues?
Alternatively, if you’re looking for quick and easy data to capture and analyze, ask closed-ended questions. Closed-ended questions generate quantitative data that can be easily measured to gauge success and translated into charts and graphs.
A survey needs to speak to the largest number of people possible. Use simple, clear language that most people can understand.
Also, don’t ask two questions simultaneously, such as “How would you rate our customer service and marketing materials?” What if the service was terrible, but they liked how you got them in the door? You can’t improve your business if you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t. Ask one question at a time.
Here at Super Copy Editors, we’ve found that even a minor spelling or grammar mistake can make a big difference in how customers interpret your questions or answer choices. To ensure your business survey is crystal clear and polished to perfection, get your proofreading quote now.
Respondents may skip a question (or the entire survey) if they feel the answer choices provided don’t accurately reflect their experience. Your business survey needs to offer a whole spectrum of options for the respondent to select from, not just the ones you want to hear.
Your business survey shouldn’t contain questions with loaded answer options such as:
How would you rate our service today?
This business survey question leaves no room for improvement or for customers to express their authentic experience if their encounter was subpar. A complete survey question would allow for more possibilities:
How would you rate our service today?
- Choose not to say
Always leave an option for the respondent to not have to answer. This is especially important when asking for personal information.
It’s better to give them an option not to answer some questions than have them get frustrated with being forced to choose and decline to participate in the business survey.
Also, you could always include “Other” as an option and leave space for respondents to enter a personal response. This way, you have the best of the qualitative and quantitative worlds.
The Rolling Stones said it best: You can’t always get what you want.
While you may want to fix all your problems with one survey, you won’t make any new friends by giving them a three-page questionnaire on their most recent experience with your business. You don’t want to overwhelm them with questions.
Pick and choose the most critical questions you want answered by your customers and present them in a compact business survey that won’t take too much time or effort to finish.
Also, it’s a good idea to make each question unique. Repetitive questioning is a turnoff for the respondent and won’t give you any new information. If the respondent doesn’t like the questions, they could start answering questions without putting any thought into them—a practice known as straightlining.
Questions that are answered without any thought put into them are more damaging to your business survey than questions that aren’t answered at all.
The sooner you can get your business survey to the client after their purchase or experience, the better. You can’t expect a reliable answer from someone who used your services many months ago.
People, in general, have short memories. Unless your product or service created a life-changing experience, their memory of buying it will be vague at best. Your business survey should aim to collect the most relevant information possible.
This same principle applies to surveying the habits of your customers. You can ask, “How many times have you ordered takeout food in the past year?” but a customer’s answer probably won’t be accurate. So what’s the point?
Try more relevant questions, such as “When did you last order takeout food?” This is easier to recall and gives you the same general information.
If the last time they ordered pizza was six months ago, they probably don’t eat pizza a lot. If the answer was yesterday or last weekend, chances are better that they order pizza more frequently.
Don’t forget! Download “5 Tips to Write a Business Survey That Gets More Responses” to keep it handy and take action on it. Click here to download it now.
Here’s a bonus tip for writing a highly successful business survey: Make the customer feel like they’re enacting change if they take the time to finish the survey.
If your customers genuinely feel like they’re being asked to help shape the company’s future and improve the experience for others, they will be much more likely to participate.
If customers feel their input matters, they will participate in your business survey.
When you finish writing your business survey, take it yourself and ask some friends or colleagues to take it. Ask them if the questions make them feel valued or if the answer options are only what the company wants to hear.
Don’t be afraid of negative feedback—that’s what makes your business better. Negative feedback from your business survey is welcome, but you don’t want it to result from spelling or grammatical errors that changed the meaning of your question. Have Super Copy Editors look over your business survey to ensure it says what it means and with the proper tone. Get in touch now to get a quick quote for our proofreading services.