Short surveys suit the social age

An article by Nielson Group over 10 years ago recommended to keep surveys short.

In a time of lightening fast social news feeds and 140 character updates, this advice would have even greater currency.

“One goal beats all others when designing a customer survey for a website: maximize the response rate.”

Low response rates are going to bias the results because only the committed users will have taken the time to participate.

The antidote, according to Nielson, is to keep your surveys short - very short.

“The highest response rates come when surveys are quick and painless.”

Like many things in life, making things simpler is actually harder. Can you pinpoint the one or two questions that are most important?

A Harvard Business Review articleThe One Number You Need to Growsuggests that only a single question needs to be asked in order to understand customer-satisfaction.

It’s author, Frederick Reichheld, is the author of a book, The Ultimate Question. It’s revised edition talks about how net-promotor companies thrive in a customer-driven world.

Recognising that the majority of your target audience are busy people is one step toward appreciating they don’t have time to answer your 20 survey questions.

Keeping things simple, asking a single question, will increase participation to a broader cross-section of people.

Your question is more likely to be shared through social networks, resulting in more awareness of your organisation and it’s efforts to listen to the voices of many, rather than just the “squeaky wheels” who can be bothered with long surveys.