Keeping your surveys short


A few days ago, I went to a boutique theater that I haven’t visited in about a year. When I purchased the tickets, the cashier asked if I wanted to fill out a customer survey. I had some time to kill, so I agreed, expecting to get a brief questionnaire. The survey I received was anything but.

I don’t recall exactly how long the survey was, but I’m guessing it contained at least thirty questions over a four-page span. The questions ranged from the obvious to the absurd. Clearly, nobody on the theater staff thought about the need for keeping things short, so every question the committee came up with was included.

In fact, the survey was so long that I refused to fill it out at all. I’m sure that many other customers will do the same. With a survey or any other form of customer feedback, brevity has a big impact on response. By whittling the questions down to the most useful ones, you’ll get higher response rates and more honest answers. When in doubt, keep your survey to a single page, and start with questions like these:

– How did you hear about us?
– What are we doing well?
– Where do we need to improve? What one thing could we do to make you visit us more often?
– Would you recommend us to a friend?

By getting this key information, you’ll gain insight into where customers come from, what they like and dislike about your organization, and how likely they are to spread the word to other prospects.