3 tips for writing your survey questions

A key aspects of online surveys: the writing of the questions. It's important that you plan well how to do it, as it will affect directly in the response rate you'll get.

You decided to create your first online survey, you customized it with the look & feel of your brand, and added images to make it more attractive.  Finally, you sent it to your clients and you got very few responses...  Most of the users left your form on the second or third question, some of them completed only half of it, and only a handful fully finished it.

What went wrong?

Don't worry if you have faced this problem, it's possible that your first attempts to create online forms won't give the results you desire.  One of the most important reasons for this type of situation is the lack of a consistent questionnaire, which helps and encourages users to fully complete it.

That's why in this article, we will focus on one of the key aspects of online surveys: the writing of the questions.  It's important that you plan well how to do it,  as it will affect directly in the response rate you'll get.  

How to write questions to get a higher response rate? What things should you avoid? Is it better to treat the customer with an informal or a formal tone? Should I ask short or long questions? We often come across clients who ask us these and similar inquiries.  If you are facing the same dilemmas, we offer you the following pieces of advice:

Speak to your customer in their same language

If your goal is to achieve a high response rate, then you have to make answering your survey a simple and painless experience.  That is where the language you use and the knowledge you have of the audience comes into play.

You have to speak to the customer in the same way that he treats your brand and expresses himself in general.  If it's an older adult maybe it's better to use a formal tone.  If it's a teenager, it will be better to use an informal one.  

If you're surveying a specific audience (for example, web developers), focus on knowing their slang and their way of expressing themselves, and try to reflect this in your online survey.  On the contrary, if you are facing a diverse audience (for example the customers of a gas station), try to speak in a formal tone (but not excessively) and be simple (without underestimating them).  

Define the general goal of the survey and the individual one of each question

Your form should follow a narrative, so you should organize it in such a way that it follows a logical sequence, since this will make customers feel more comfortable when answering it. 

For example, if you want to know the experience that the clients of your restaurant had, start by asking them what they ate and what qualities stand out in your place.  Leave questions like: “Would you recommend it to a friend?” or “Do you want to leave us your contact information to receive promotions?” to the end.  

At the same time, make sure each question addresses a clear objective.  Don't expect your clients to answer multiple things in one question at once, as this will only frustrate them and make them drop it.  Don't ask them at the same time what they ate and if it was tasty, it's better to ask it in two separate questions.  

Avoid long introductions

Long questions with tricky introductions are the perfect excuse to make the client get bored, feel uncomfortable and abandon your survey.

Also keep in mind that while they are completing a survey, many other things can act as factors of distraction.  Anything that makes them lose their attention will make the client close the survey and search for another time-killing activity, like social networks, music apps, or audiovisual content, etc.  Therefore, it's advisable to be direct and to avoid long speeches that don't add any value and that can cause loss of attention.  

Some companies use long introductions for each question in their forms as a way to influence or guide the answers.  This represents a terrible mistake since what you should be looking for it's the exact opposite: to make your customer reply with the greatest freedom and sincerity.

To sum up, the writing of the questions is the key task for the success of your online survey.  It's not something you can solve in a few minutes, so it's important to dedicate all the time it deserves.  

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