March 14, 2011|Checkbox Blog, News, Survey Data, Reporting & Analysis|

Why do we send out surveys? Whether you represent an online retailer or a university, a one-man-band or a global corporation, we all send out surveys for the same reason:  to get feedback, answers and above all INFORMATION.

After asking the right questions, the next most important step in the data collection process is analyzing your results. What is the point of distributing a survey if you aren’t going to use the resulting data to make improvements to your company/offerings? Sure, surveys show customers that you care about their opinion and continued business, but the ultimate goal is to obtain information about existing customers to help you gain new ones.

If you’ve sent feedback surveys using a professional survey creation and data collection tool like Checkbox Survey you already have all of this information in a visual report or export just waiting for analysis. The sad truth is, however, many businesses/organizations are at a loss when the time comes to analyze their findings. Below are a few “best practice” tips to help you make sense of all that survey response data.

  1. Keep it together! Try to keep your survey questions, responses, respondent profiles, reports, and any other relevant survey data together and on-hand in case you need to cross reference anything. It’s a huge time-saver to be able to manage user information, create and deploy surveys, generate reports, and share your findings, all in one application.
  2. Determine your goals: Why did you deploy this survey? Are you looking for feedback on specific products or services? Do you want to know if your customers are generally satisfied with your business? You probably already listed these objectives back when you initially created your survey. This list is your analysis guide. Keep it handy as you sort through your survey results.
  3. Look for red flags: Do an initial scan of your survey results (especially open response questions) for any inconsistent answers, comments indicating confusion, or questions that were left blank across the board. If any of your questions were misunderstood by respondents, be sure to leave these out of your analysis. Always, always, always test your survey questions on live bodies before making a survey live to respondents to eliminate any confusing questions.
  4. Big picture first, details later: Once you’ve determined your survey was understood by respondents and that the results are usable, look at the big picture. Based on rating scale questions or “satisfaction” questions, what is the overall attitude toward your company/services? Are there any areas that need improvement? Are there any areas that respondents seem very satisfied with? You might find you are doing something different  in areas that received high satisfaction scores that could be used to improve low-scoring areas in the future. After you know the big picture you can dig into individual questions for more detailed explanations.
  5. Break it down: If your survey reporting application has a filtering tool, this is a good way to break down your results into groups based on response information, date/time, or user attributes such as region or gender. Filtering can reveal response trends based on demographics and help you make any necessary changes in these areas. Maybe you will discover some of those big picture themes are more or less prominent in certain groups. Checkbox allows you to generate unlimited reports for any given survey, so you can apply as many filters as you need.
  6. Cross Tabulation: By comparing two or more survey question responses you can sometimes uncover additional information or determine important outliers that would otherwise go undetected in an initial survey report. Learn more about using cross tabulation in Checkbox here.
  7. Share your findings: If you are the only designated analyzer on this project, do yourself a favor and get a second or third set of eyes on the data. Share your list of survey objectives with a boss, coworker, trusted friend or spouse and let them have a look at a visual report of your survey responses. If it is a long survey maybe just give them a section or a filtered version. You never know, their fresh eyes might identify an important trend that your data-saturated brain overlooked. Checkbox generates a unique report URL for each survey report so that you can easily share survey reports with others.

Customer feedback is necessary to improve your company/organization, so send regular surveys and analyze the data properly. If all goes well, you will be able to make relevant changes to products/services based on your findings, pleasing existing customers and hopefully gaining some new ones in the process.

For more information on Checkbox Reporting and Analysis tools click here, watch a live or pre-recorded webinar, or contact the Checkbox sales team at or 866-430-8274 (Int’l 1-617-715-9605).