Basics of Satisfaction: Survey Question Design

Sections of this topic

    Initial Design Considerations

    Before you design your survey…

    Clearly articulate the goals of your survey. Answer these questions before you even start. With this in mind, your survey has a 100% better chance of returning meaningful information.

    • Why are you running a survey?
    • What, specifically, will you do with the survey results?
    • How will the information help you improve your customer’s experience with you?

    Make sure that each question will give you the right kind of feedback to achieve your survey goals. When in doubt, contact a statistician or survey expert for help with survey question design.

    Survey design

    The opening should introduce the survey, and explain who is collecting the feedback and why. You should also include some reasons for participation, and share details about the confidentiality of the information you are collecting.

    The introduction should set expectations about survey length and estimate the time it will take someone to complete. Opening survey questions should be easy to answer, to increase participant trust and encourage them to continue answering questions.

    Ensure survey questions are relevant to participants, to reduce abandonment. To minimize confusion, questions should follow a logical flow, with similar questions grouped together.

    Keep your survey short and to the point – fewer questions will deliver a higher survey response rate. If you have sensitive questions, or questions requesting personal information, include them towards the end of the survey, after trust has been built.

    Test your survey with a small group before launch. Have participants share what they are thinking as they fill out each question, and make improvements where necessary.

    Thank your participants after they’ve completed the survey.

    Next time, we’ll discuss specific question styles that affect the quality of your answers.

    (Many thanks to for guidance on survey design.)

    Do you have a favorite survey design that’s worked for you?


    For more resources, see our Library topics Marketing and Social Networking.

    .. _____ ..

    ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman:

    Ms. Chapman’s new book has a name change! The Net-Powered Entrepreneur – A Step-by-Step Guide will be available in April 2012. Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant and social media consultant. She helps clients to establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @