Writing a good survey isn't hard, but there are some gotchas if you've never done it before. Here are a few rules of thumb to help avoid the biggest mistakes:
Keep the survey short:
- Phone interviews should be under 5 minutes
- Online surveys should fit on a single screen without scrolling
- IVR surveys should be 5 questions or fewer
- Keep the questions short and use simple language. Avoid jargon or brand names, since there's a good chance customers won't recognize them.
- Always begin by asking the customer to rate the company as a whole, even if that's not what the survey is about. This gives customers who have a problem with the company a chance to get it off their chest so they won't penalize the representative.
- Put the most important questions (usually your tracking metrics) near the beginning. That way they are less likely to be biased by other questions and more likely to be answered.
- Be as consistent as possible with your rating scale. For example, don't switch from a 0-10 scale to a 1-5 scale.
- In the U.S., it's conventional for higher numbers to be better. Don't make "1" best and "10" worst as it's likely to confuse people. (This rule may differ in other cultures).
- Always have at least one free response question.
- Plan on making regular changes to the survey. You won't get it perfect the first try.
Following these rules won't necessarily give you a great survey, but breaking these rules will almost always make it worse.