You’re excited! The company has okayed your conducting a survey, and you immediately think of a half dozen questions you want to ask every customer. You document your questions, get input from others, and all of a sudden you have a Word document with 36 questions instead of 6. Now, what do you do?
Some clients engage us before they get into the particulars of the survey instrument. Other clients come to us after they’ve already created that 36 question survey. In either case, before you dive into the details of the survey questions, here are 3 Guiding Principles that could govern your decision-making about the overall design of the survey:
Goal-driven – Make sure that the questions are addressing your overall goals for the research. The goals should drive what information you seek, which should drive the structure of the survey and the wording of the questions – it shouldn’t be the other way around. Create the survey instrument around your goals, and when you have that draft put together, make sure each question aligns with what you’re trying to accomplish.
Actionable – For each question, give consideration to what would be done with the information. Could you act upon the results? What will the metrics potentially tell you? Are you evaluating attributes against each other, against historical data, against national benchmarks? And how are you going to act differently based on ratings? For the open-ended questions, are you going to utilize the common themes to improve operations, change strategies, reward and recognize others? If the question is not actionable, why would you even ask?
Balanced – Ensure that there is a relatively even mix of questions seeking positives as well as questions seeking opportunities for improvement. This is something that few of our clients consider. Some clients are primarily looking for constructive feedback – and the tone of the survey can get the customer thinking too negatively and elicit too many negative stories. Others are looking just for positives to use to market themselves internally or make themselves look good. Instead, the survey should be balanced. Research should help you to identify what is not working well while also helping understand where you can strengthen your strengths.
Let the goals of the survey drive the focus of the questions. Ensure that the questions are structured to be actionable. Create an overall balance of identifying what could be better as well as knowing what already is providing a great customer experience.
Design your survey to align to the G.A.B. Guiding Principles.
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