Surveys are a great way to monitor your business by gathering feedback from your customers. Feedback that is gathered effectively and analysed correctly can provide a useful understanding that helps you grow your business while strengthening relationships with your customer base. The key is to gather quality information in the first place, which means that no survey should be any longer than it needs to be.
Getting the best possible data is heavily dependent on response rate. Since the more data you have the more accurate your analysis will be, the temptation will be to ask as many questions as possible. This isn’t a good idea, because experience has shown that the longer the survey is, the smaller the response rate will be. A good survey should not take longer than five minutes to complete. Any longer than this and the number of respondents will drop off dramatically.
Longer surveys tend to ask unnecessary questions or questions that some respondents might be disinclined to answer. They also take up too much time, which can often leading to biased responses with only the happiest or angriest people motivated to take the time to respond. A ten minute survey should be reviewed and reconsidered.
A long survey may not be direct and to the point. In which case, you should reevaluate what information you are looking for. Evaluate what you want to know in terms of importance, where what you need to know is included, what you’d like to know is included, if there is space and time, and what would be a luxury to know is excluded.
Too many questions can make the respondent feel bogged down and impatient. Remember that people don’t have to answer your survey at all, they are doing you a favour by contributing their time. So, respect their time by telling them the purpose of the survey and giving them a time estimate for completion. You should also let them know the results of the survey and follow up on any issues that arise. This lets your customers know that their time wasn’t wasted and that you value their input.