Where do you stand with customers? How do they rate your brand? Thumbs up, thumbs down, somewhere in betwixt? Ho-hum or hey-hey?
For answers, marketers often utilize the survey. But how accurate is the feedback therefrom? Much depends on the source. If survey questions were crafted with care, a rich, golden harvest is a strong possibility. But if questions missed the target, expect some hair-pulling from staff and supervisor. You’ll all be ankle-deep in muddy feedback – and won’t even know it. Feedback’s funny that way. Real stealthy.
Crisp, mud-free feedback requires a clean start – questions tailored and molded for maximum precision. Your first objective, therefore, is brevity. Be mercilessly concise with those questions – without sacrificing content, intent, or meaning. Trim, cut, squeeze, ditch, and clip as you must. But purge questions of all extraneous matter.
This load-lightening offers two major advantages: First, questions will be a quicker read – always a plus for time-crunched respondents. Second, they’ll strike with greater impact.
Un-muddied survey answers also depend on relevance. Ask only questions entirely germane to your stated goals. If they don’t belong, boot ‘em. For instance – do you really need to ask – “What’s your favorite planet?” Unless you’re selling astronomy gear, nix such a question.
Finally, ask a respectable quantity of open-ended questions. Multiple-choice or yes-no are acceptable in limited doses. But only open-ended questions invite elaboration. Info will flow like the mighty Mississippi, deep with details about mindsets, attitudes, and most of all, feelings. A trickle is all you’ll get from a directive such as ‘Rate this style on a scale from 1-10.’ Even if you say ‘please’. Far better to ask: “Why did you choose the polka-dotted parka?”
Not that the short-answer question is forbidden. Survey developers should drop these generously into the initial stages of the survey – then build to more detail-oriented inquiries for a spectacular and revealing finish.