We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of receiving a poorly constructed online survey that just takes too much time and energy to bother with.  To help you optimize the quantity and quality of your responses, Checkbox has put together its top 12 online survey tips:

  1. Define the survey’s purpose – Respondents want to know up front why they are being asked to fill out a survey. Use your email invitation and survey welcome page to give a succinct description of the survey’s purpose and thank respondents for their time. If you plan to incorporate respondent feedback into future decisions or business processes, it’s a good idea to share that information up front as well.
  2. Keep it short and sweet – Most surveys, especially customer and employee satisfaction surveys, should not take more than ten minutes to complete.  Surveys that take five or fewer minutes to complete will keep respondents more engaged and will generally produce a higher quantity and quality of responses.
  3. Keep it simple – Word your questions carefully and clearly to make sure respondents understand exactly what you are asking. Prevent the misinterpretation of questions by avoiding jargon, abbreviations (unless explained), and overly complex or long questions.
  4. Ask for personal or demographic information last – The least critical questions of your survey should come last in order to avoid losing respondent interest. If you are more concerned with what respondents have to say regarding your survey topic and less concerned about who they are, leave personal questions until the end of the survey.
  5. Stay specific – Asking multiple open-ended questions will give you a wide range of answers that will make analyzing your results more difficult.  Closed questions with limited options will make reporting on and analyzing survey results much easier.
  6. Be consistent – Consistent question style, tense, and layout will produce the most accurate response set. For example, if your first question asks respondents to rate their overall experience on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, make sure that all subsequent questions use the same or nearly the same ratings scale.
  7. Follow logic – Make sure that one question leads naturally into another.  Generally, initial questions should be broad in nature and later questions should be more specific.
  8. Test, test, test – Issue your survey to a sample of trusted employees or customers to ensure it works properly, to give you an idea of response time, and to give you a chance to clear up any confusing questions before you launch it to your full respondent base.
  9. Think about timing – Take the demographics of your respondent base into consideration when determining the best time to deploy your survey. Avoiding weekends, Monday mornings, and Friday afternoons is generally advised.
  10. Send reminders – If you email your survey, set a deadline to receive the results.  A few days before this deadline, send a reminder to those who have not responded.
  11. Entice – Give your respondents a good reason to take your survey. Many survey administrators opt for a gift or monetary incentive, but often the best incentive is communicating how valuable the respondent’s feedback is and how you will use it.
  12. Share – Last but not least, share the results of your survey with your respondents and let them know what actions you will take based on those results.  If you need more information, create follow-up surveys. But remember, you’re asking them to take the time to help you, so be careful not to take advantage of that relationship.

We hope you have found these 12 tips helpful.  If you would like to learn more about Checkbox Survey, please visit www.checkbox.com or find us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/checkbox_survey.