Choosing the Right Questions with Web Survey Tools

July 20, 2009 by  
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When using web survey tools you want to ensure that you are asking the right questions in the right way. Even small mistakes in terms of the usability and intuitiveness of your customer survey software can lead to dramatically worst results than you would otherwise be receiving.

Learn how to ask the right questions, in the right way at the right time and you’ll see far more success. The best way to take full advantage of your web survey tools is by integrating several different types of questions in the same survey to keep things flowing smoothly and to elicit the best responses from your survey takers.

Mixing in Question Types with Web Survey Tools


I think too many people get bogged down in trying to project a “consistent” image and only asking one type of question, for example only multiple choice questions on this survey and only short answer questions on that survey.

But in doing so, the people using your customer survey software are going to be lulled to sleep and you won’t get the best out of them. Mix up the questions you ask to see better results. Use this guide to help you distinguish which types of questions to use when with your web survey tools.

When to use multiple choice questions: Use multiple choice questions when the answers fit into general categories, you are only looking for one answer and your survey takers will only have one answer. This kind of question is the easiest to complete, and generally is best used in the beginning of surveys, almost like a warm up.

A sample question would be, “How did you hear about our new promotion?” With answers including told from a friend, browsing the web, email advertisement, and others.

When to use check box questions: Check box questions are best used when you expect people to have more than one response to a question you are asking.

A sample question would be, “why did you purchase our new product?” with check box results including options such as price, brand name, new features, came recommended, and so on.

When to use rating questions: Rating questions are best when you want to get a clear understanding of something that took place, and a person’s happiness or displeasure with it. You could be general or very specific with the questions depending on your needs.

A general rating question would be, “How satisfied are you with your relationship with our company?” Specific questions could proceed that general question, asking the customer survey software taker to rate their satisfaction with your customer service team, with your email newsletters, with your new product line and so forth.

When to use short answer questions: I love using short answer questions as follow-ups to multiple choice questions or rating questions. They are great when you have a general answer from the responder already, and now want to gain more specific details using your customer survey software.

Today’s web survey tools make it easy with their logic systems to display certain questions specifically based on the responses given from a previous question. Leave short answer questions towards the end of a survey, when a person has a clearer idea of what the survey is about and when they are more in touch with their thoughts on the issue.

For example, after asking a person to rate the ease of their transaction on your new website, popup a short answer text box that corresponds with the result. If they answered “confusing” or “difficult”, the short answer could read, “How could our current system be improved to make the process easier?” If they answered “quick and easy” you could ask why they thought so, or you could skip the short answer question altogether.

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Is this the only way you can use your web survey tools? Of course not! To begin with, there are many more types of questions than the ones listed above, and you shouldn’t try to use a formula- but that’s the point. Instead of being rigid in your development, learn to mix in different questions and different styles of questions to elicit better responses from the responders to your customer survey software.

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One Comment on "Choosing the Right Questions with Web Survey Tools"

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