6 Problems With Online Surveys And How to Avoid Them
Are you making these online survey mistakes?
Survey questions generally must clearly ask a specific and pointed question if you want them to yield effective results. When an individual taking a survey is confused by the question, he or she will typically not answer the question in a way that is useful to you. After all, if the respondent believes that the question means one thing and you believe that it means another, the response will not yield any information that is reliable or trustworthy for your needs.
Another common issue with surveys is having questions that are too lengthy or wordy. It is easy to lose meaning when the questions are too long. More than that, the respondent may feel overwhelmed or may even lose focus when the questions are too long. The best questions are those that are short, direct, and to the point. They have a specific purpose, and they generally have short answer options that are easy to understand. Respondents are busy and may easily become distracted. They typically want to spend a few minutes at most answering questions, so they should have short, direct questions and answer options that help them to feel as though they are progressing through the survey with speed. After all, a survey will reveal limited or meaningless information if the respondent fails to answer all of the questions.
When your survey relates to the pros and cons of a feature or a product, you want to obtain specific information about it. Some questions may simply ask for broad or undefined information about the problems a consumer may have or why a consumer chose one product over another one. However, the information that is provided by the respondents through the survey may not adequately define what the problem specifically is or how a consumer may prefer the company to address the issue.
Many surveys that companies use today ask consumers to rate their experiences on a scale of one to five or one to 10. This may give a general indication about whether a consumer feels neutral, positive or negative about a certain area that is being questioned in the survey, but the response is rather arbitrary. For example, a consumer that rates an area positively on a scale of one to 10 may offer an 8 when they are completely satisfied with the experience, but he or she may not give a 10 as a response because of the belief that a company can always do better. On the other hand, a customer may give a 10 when they were not completely satisfied but because they do not want store staff or management to get fired or in trouble. These are purely arbitrary opinions that are based on a person’s value system or beliefs. They may indicate a positive or negative experience, but they do not provide any useful or real information for a company to improve upon.
While it may be important for companies to obtain freely written or open-ended responses from their target audience through surveys, it can be difficult to quantify or analyze these responses. For example, one question may be an open-ended response option that asks the customer to state why they selected one product over another or to describe their experience. Software programs can be used to analyze the responses by picking up commonly used words in the answers, but when you have hundreds or thousands of unique responses, it can be difficult to fully quantify them in a manner that is beneficial to the company in any real way. This is a contradiction to the fact that customers should be provided with space to clarify their responses freely, and it generally means that businesses may need to read through each of the responses carefully to get a better idea about what the customers actually believe or think.