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That's why you need to keep your consumer surveys S.I.M.P.L.E.
As a researcher, you need to generate reliable data so you can deliver high quality insights. But you won’t impress anyone with big words and long, winding sentences. Your surveys must be easy for respondents to understand, and concise enough to hold their attention.
It’s a survey, not a test. The harder your questions are to answer, the longer the survey feels. Respondents will tune out or break away when faced with questions that require cognitive effort. Avoid complex interactive tasks that generate the same information but take more time. The less your respondents have to think, the more thoughtful their responses will be!
Avoid jargon, technical terms and any other words you learned after grade school. Treat the survey like a conversation with a friend; use everyday language (“buy” not “purchase,” “use” not “utilize,” “discount” not “promotion”). Try reading each survey question to your mom to confirm it makes sense.
Most people under 35 prefer smartphone surveys to desktop surveys. If they can’t easily complete your survey in this format, you will lose them and your results may be biased. Make sure your surveys are short (ideally 15 minutes or less), that the ratings scales can fit on one screen, and that you can see the full list of response options in one scroll or less.
Every question should address a key research objective. If a survey question doesn't map to a priority business issue, then get rid of it. Same thing goes for any question that’s “interesting” or “nice to have.” By keeping your survey length down, you increase engagement and you generate higher quality data from a more representative sample.
Focus only on the most relevant brands and differentiating attributes. Long pick-lists trigger under-reporting, and long batteries of rating scales lead to break-offs and less varied responses. Measure only competitors that hold high market share, demonstrate marketplace momentum, or pose a direct threat to your own brand(s).
The longer your question, the less likely people will read it. Use just enough words to convey the question. Don’t use 10 words when five will do. Under-explaining is usuallly better than over-explaining. Lead with the most important information and draw attention to key words. See what we did there ?
There are a number of survey question formats that can help you discover what’s most important to your customers. Learn everything you need to know about measuring the key drivers of consumer decision making.
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