12 useful tips for online surveys and forms

Online surveys are one of the best ways to keep track of what your customers and clients think about your business or organisation.

To gather feedback and reviews from customers and clients in an organized way and then act on the basis of the gathered data will increase the growth of your company as well as increasing your view amongst your customers and clients.

To help a little to retrieve data from your customers and members, we’ve put together a few hints and tips that we hope you will find useful when conducting online surveys in the future.

1. Define a clear purpose with the survey

Identify what information is absolutely the most important for you to get in from the recipient of the online survey. Boil down what it is you want to get out to a few key questions that will give you the information. 

For example, when creating an online post-purchase survey, you should only ask questions related to the actual purchase the customer made. It is easy to add “just one more question” when you create the form. 

Make sure to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in the results before you start working with the survey questions.

2. Keep your survey short

Online surveys and forms with the best response rates are those that take less than 5 minutes to answer. All surveys that take more than 10 minutes to answer should either be rebuilt, or you should add a give-away or some other incentive for the respondent to answer the survey.

Another good thing to remember is to keep the number of possible answers to the questions to an absolute maximum of 10 options. Too many response options makes the respondent confused, and the survey will take longer to complete. 

Break down the question several smaller ones and think about other ways to construct the question and available options.

3. Structure the form for simple readable results

The key to get results that is easy to interpret is to ask questions with clear options that create results that are easy to analyze and visualize. 
An example of such a clear question might be:

What services do you use from us? 
1) Fitness
2) Massage
3) Personal training

If you have too many open questions that require the respondent to write answers in free text (for example: How do you like our gym?), the analysis will take time and the form will take longer to fill out. 

Questions with predefined alternatives makes the form easier to fill out and it gets easier for you to evaluate the responses. Use the option “Other” where it is necessary, and provide a text field to enable the respondent to enter their own custom response.

The text field will always appear automatically when you use this function in Formogram.

4. Ask one thing at a time

It is relatively easy to end up adding questions that are ambiguous, like “Do you like chips and soda?”. This question will get ambiguous answers that are difficult to foresee. If possible, divide the questions best results.

5. Avoid leading questions

Construct the questions in a way that the respondent is not leaded in any particular direction regarding the answer. A bad example would be “Surely you would recommend our company to your friends?”.

Instead, use the “Would you recommend our company to your friends?”. Leading questions does not produce objective answers. Always thing about how the question can be constructed in a neutral way.

6. Minimize the number of mandatory questions

Too many mandatory questions makes it more time consuming to answer the survey as a whole, and often results in a reduced response rate. Make sure that only the most important parts of the survey are made mandatory.

7. The order of questions are important

The order in which you display the questions are important for how committed the respondent will be to complete the survey. Ensure that the first questions are interesting and easy to respond to. 

If you need to ask questions about geography, name, shoe size, etc., add them to the end of the form in order not to scare away the respondent. 

If the respondent has taken the time to answer the questionnaire important issues, he will be likely to answer even the more boring questions at the end of your form as well.

8. Keep a logical flow

Grouping related questions together, preferably divided with section breaks or headlines, will make larger forms feel less demanding to fill out for the respondent.

9. Test the survey on selected responders

Once you are finished with the form, it is good to have it tested by a few colleagues or friends. Ask them to keep track of how long it takes for them to respond to the survey and how they experience the flow of questions etc.

This helps you evaluate the design of the form. You will also get responses that you will help you evaluate if questions provides good results that are easy to evaluate and measure.

10. Display an estimated time for the survey

To display an estimation of the time required to complete the form in the form invitation and just above the questions gives the respondent a good chance to plan their time. 

Take the opportunity to inform about how the results will be used. Try to be as personal as possible when sending invitations to fill out the survey, rather than directing the invitation to the the group of invitees.

11. Send survey invitations to the right people

Make sure that the survey invitations are sent to the recipients that are really interested in the topic that the survey is about. 

The invitation does not need to be sent to all your contacts as it is not likely that the response rate increases with the number of invited respondents. 

Answers with the best quality comes from genuinely interested respondents and those are the ones that you really want feedback from.

12. Share the results with the respondents

When the survey is completed and the results are analyzed, it´s a good gesture to share the insights you gained from the analysis with the respondents. 

If respondents feel that they are part of the change process in your company or association, they are more likely to respond to your future surveys.

Good luck with future surveys using Formogram!

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