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Opticom’s top 10 tips for an effective customer survey


It can be easy to think market research or customer satisfaction surveys are best done in house, especially during times of budget constraint. Why pay an external party to do something you can just as easily do yourself? Perhaps because not all surveys are equal…

Opticom’s Project Manager, David Weller, explains that conducting an effective survey is not quite as simple as it may at first appear: “Time and again, we consult for companies who have previously conducted their own research, only to find that they have wasted valuable internal resources without yielding meaningful results. Often, problems occur because the questionnaire and methodology have not been properly designed.”

Here are David’s top 10 tips for getting it right first time:

  • Be clear about what you want to learn from the survey, both as a whole and from each question.

  • Make sure the questions are consistent and posed in such a way as to produce reliable answers that can be measured effectively.

  • Check the questions flow logically and avoid repetition.

  • Balance length with structure – everyone is short of time these days so only ask what you really need to know.

  • Remember the recipient will be asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ They must feel that the outcomes will directly benefit them, so ensure your questions are relevant to your audience.

  • Understand that not all questions are equal. Badly worded questions can switch off the recipient, confuse their answers or affect the validity of conclusions, so word each question carefully.

  • Avoid ambiguity in both questions and possible answers.

  • Use clear concise language that is easily understood.

  • Don't combine questions.

  • Avoid leading or biased questions – this is the biggest problem in most questionnaires, and it means your results won’t be valid.

“Collecting the wrong information can produce misleading insights which could lead to unwise business decisions, so it really is important to do this right. And if you get stuck, you know where we are!”
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