What does a good survey look like

7 proven practical tips for creating your next questionnaire

Tip 1: How to define your target group and survey goal


Before you start developing the first question, sit down and determine the goal of the questionnaire. What do you want to achieve with the survey? If you don't define a goal in the beginning, you won't achieve your goal either. Sounds trite, but it's true.

Basically you have twoTarget groupsto which you can align the questionnaire development:

  • Employee: Company surveys. This can be organizational surveys (e.g. for participation in an event) or evaluations of employee satisfaction, internal communication or 360-degree feedback for managers.
  • Customers: In the area of ​​customers there is a wide range of definitions: are they end customers, business customers or future customers? Furthermore, market research is a separate, large sub-area of ​​the customer survey.

But now it is not enough to decide on a target group and get started. If, for example, you select “customers” as your target group, then you need a more precise specification for a well-founded survey. Draw a picture of the people you want to interview!

An example:


Your starting situation:


Your company sells affordable, modern furniture online. You know that young people between the ages of 18 and 35 are an important target group: students who move into their study flat share or young families who are setting up their first apartment of their own. In this target group you have noticed that there are a lot of abandoned shopping carts and that there is often a single order. You want to find out why.

Your target group definition for the survey:

End customers (B2C), first-time customers. For the time being, age does not limit her, because that is not a mandatory requirement when placing an order. If necessary, you can address this in the questionnaire and later try to find out during the data analysis whether there are different behavioral whites in the different age groups.

Your objective for the survey could be as follows:

With the online survey, all new customers in the B2C area should be asked about their experience in the ordering process in order to identify possible weak points and to achieve more sales through an optimized ordering process.


Using this example, you can already see how the survey is concretized. On the one hand, when developing the technical questionnaire, you will take into account that you only display the survey for new customers.

If this is not possible with your software, you can, for example, use a simple filter question to find out right at the beginning whether the customer is a first-time customer. You may send existing customers to a simple NPS evaluation and only new customers will point to your questionnaire.

Would you like to find out more about surveys with easyfeedback?

It's this way

Tip 2: How to formulate good questions for the questionnaire


With a few simple rules and tips, you can formulate questions for your questionnaire that your survey participants can quickly grasp. Comprehensible questions make it easier to answer the questionnaire and thus also increase the completion rate.

Use this quick checklist to help you formulate your survey:

  1. Don't incorporate word monsters:"We would like to carry out a customer satisfaction analysis with you." The eye cannot grasp these giant letters and the flow of reading stagnates. You write better: “The satisfaction of our customers is important to us.” The reading flow is much easier and the wording is more charming.
  2. Avoid foreign words:Even if you think you're using common words, your respondent may not be familiar with them. And he won't google it for it. Avoid it if possible.
  3. No negations or leading questions:"Don't you also think that the ordering process could be optimized?" If you also formulate negatively what you yourself see as in need of optimization, your participant will also see it as negative. Especially since you have already put the answer directly into his mouth with the question. Remain neutral on the question:"Which areas in the ordering process could be optimized?"
  4. In a nutshell:Avoid long and complex sentences in the question. Don't try to fit all of the information into one question. In the worst case, this extends over several lines. Make it short and easy to use, if necessary use a second sentence. If you have to explain your question in several sentences, then double-check your question thoroughly.
  5. Communicate at eye level:Do not formulate from above. Communicate with the participants in the questionnaire at eye level. Nobody wants to be patronized.
  6. Avoid internal terms or empty phrases:Make sure you don't sit next to the participant while they fill out the questionnaire. The same applies as with foreign words: Internal designations or empty phrases have as little place in a customer survey as possible. Internal designations may be used in employee surveys as long as the colleagues are familiar with them.

Always ask yourself whether your participants can understand the question as well. Proper use of text and wording will help you ensure that many participants complete your survey and do so as completely as possible.

Stay authentic when formulating

Pay attention to the writing style when formulating. If you practice a relaxed work atmosphere, it is also a good idea to write the survey in the same style.

Stay authentic at this point and continue your communication style: you have oneYou culture in the company from cleaning staff to managing directors? Then it would seem strange to your employees if you suddenly found them in the survey, right?

In a customer survey it can look completely different. You might use this in web and printthe polite "you"? Then stay with the survey.

Otherwise your survey participant will recognize who the questionnaire is from, but textually he will not associate your company with it.

Or can you imagine a hip start-up designing its questionnaire in the writing style of a bank?

Tip 3: How to put your questions in a meaningful order


It is in our nature to want to achieve a perfect result right from the start - also when creating the questionnaire. However, this will hinder you when designing the questionnaire, or cause you to stall again and again. You have two options for moving your way through the development of the questionnaire:

  • The first way: Just start writing, then sort
  • The second way: If you ask questions about a specific process or procedure, then use this procedure as a guide for your survey.

Step 1: write, write, write

To start with, I recommend that you simply write down all the questions you can think of. Then you have an overview of the individual topics that are important to you.

Step 2: make thematic blocks

Sort your questions thematically into blocks. Put these topic blocks in a meaningful order:

  • Simple questions first:

    Work with simple questions at the beginning of your questionnaire. Use simple (click) questions to inquire about target group affiliation.

    At aEmployee survey e.g. the department, location, length of service, position, etc.

    At aCustomer survey would you ask for some personal information here. This gives you valuable data at the beginning so that you can later filter the results according to these criteria.

    Market research is an exception. In this area, it has proven to be optimal to query demographic data at the end.
  • Check for two things:

    As soon as you have sorted the questions, you start to check whether there is any duplication of content. Delete these questions or merge them with what is already there.


Now you have a good structure in your questionnaire. If you go through it, you will feel whether any additional questions are missing in one place or another in order to achieve your survey goal.

Tip 4: How to specify questions


Let's tie in with the example of optimizing the ordering process in the furniture online shop. Here we have a well-defined survey topic. Now we needed the right questions. It's actually very easy now, isn't it?

You want to find out how the ordering process was, so you ask:


The good thing about this method:

  • You get straight to the point and the question fits your objective exactly.
  • You have a very short poll.

So you put your survey online and wait. Then after a few days you pull your results, and lo and behold:

You are facing some nowProblemswho found themselves through this simple method:

  • Working up will be very time-consuming for you!Because the answers are varied and unstructured! From a simple “Good!” To a simple “OK”. From further payment requests to a complaint in the form of a short novel.
  • Many customers are lazy to write: Your customers may have experienced problems, but don't take the time to articulate them. Or they are already annoyed because the order was bumpy. To report on it for a long time is often too much to ask.
  • You are missing details: Now try to optimize your order process. It's going to be a little difficult, isn't it? To get meaningful results, you need more detailed feedback. Even if a customer took the time to respond - what action do you take if you don't knowwhat exactly Was "terribly bad"?

And therein lies the key to planning your survey.

Your solution:

  1. Start from the back: Think about the results you need in order to derive measures from the feedback you receive from your survey. Only these questions are allowed in the questionnaire.
  2. Choose questions and answers that accompany the ordering process: In order to optimize the ordering process from the first contact to the completion of the order, you have to query the individual steps in the course of the order and put them to the test.


In our example, let's tryto concretize the question "How did you perceive the ordering process" and to accompany the customer through all steps from the search to the purchase and to make it easier for him to fill out the survey with answer options:

  • Step 1 | Calling up the website

    How did you find out about (Product XY)?

    () I searched specifically for this product online
    () The product was displayed to me when I visited www.website.de
    () I specifically searched for it on www.website.de
  • Step 2 | Calling up the product detail page

    In the product description, did you receive all the information you needed that was relevant for the purchase decision?
    ( ) Yes
    () No. I would have liked the following additional information:
  • Step 3 | Product selection

    Were you able to quickly find and select the right product variant in the online shop?
    ( ) Yes
    ( ) No, because ____________________
  • Step 4 | Checkout process: customer account

    You had to create a customer account for the order.
    Would you have wanted to place an order as a guest?
    ( ) Yes
    () No.
  • Step 5 | Checkout process: payment

    Which payment method did you choose?

    Would you like other payment methods? If yes, which

    Are you satisfied with the delivery time of 2-3 working days?

As you can see, with specific questions you will receive more and more detailed feedback, on the basis of which you can make decisions about optimization.

Of course, you have to find the right answer options that are appropriate for your situation. You may also split up questions and work with branching questions to keep the questionnaire clear.

The use of open-ended questions

In the example above, we turned an open question into several closed questions. It works because we know the process and because we also know the processAnswer option "Other" can use. Nevertheless, you should always think about using open-ended questions in your survey.

When creating the questionnaire, we tend to plan from our perspective. Of course, because you have the greatest connection to your company or product and want to get feedback on certain areas. But do your customers and employees have the same perspective? Not necessarily.

You provide the answers with closed questions. Perhaps your customer is missing "his" answer option. Or he feels restricted by the small "other" field. Or you already influence it by specifying the answer options.

For product-specific topics or when it comes to theindividual opinion , you will only get limited meaningful results with pure click questions. Each person has a different point of view and different needs. It is difficult to query these comprehensively with ready-made answers.

With an open question, you give the customer or employee the opportunity to give individual feedback and receive answers that you probably would not have thought of.

Tip 5: How to use follow-up questions correctly


Let's assume that you have made the decision internally to conduct an employee survey to determine the satisfaction of the individual employees. With the questionnaire you would like to find out where improvements can be made in the workplace or in internal processes.

The question would then look like this:

With the question you respond directly to the needs of the employees and offer improvements that contribute to satisfaction. But can you use the result to derive specific measures? No.

You will receive a percentage distribution of how many employees would like better technical equipment, but you will not find out any specific details about what can / should be improved.

You can choose two ways to specify your question so that you can also initiate measures after the survey:

Variant 1: Add a follow-up question

You ask an additional question for each of the above answer options, which is only displayed if the participant has selected the corresponding answer option:

Variant 2: Split the question

If you know that all of the answer options will be relevant to the majority of employees, then split the question up. Each answer option becomes its own question, where you specifically address opportunities for improvement:

You can also choose a combination of these variants and your follow-up question can provide specific answer options. This way you can evaluate the survey results better than with an open question.

Would you like to find out more about surveys with easyfeedback?

It's this way

Tip 6: How to find the right questionnaire length


As you plan your survey, you will quickly find that your questionnaire is getting very long because you can think of a hundred things that you would like feedback on. Also great in theory, but remember that the patience of the participants is not infinite. The perfect questionnaire length depends on several factors.

The most important factor is that“Bond” of the participant to your company. The higher the bond, the more you can expect the participant to do:

  • At aEmployee surveyWhere there is high loyalty to the company, the questionnaire can be made longer and more complex.
  • However, if you have aInterviewing potential customers you can't expect participants to take a 30-minute survey. You wouldn't do that yourself either.

A simple example:

You bought a new car. Shortly afterwards you will be invited to a survey by the manufacturer. The bond with the brand is very high here, because you have "actively" decided in favor of this brand and this model.

If a manufacturer, to which you have no connection, approached you with a market research survey, you would then ...
No, probably not.

"Sounds great, then we can ask a long and complex questionnaire for our employee survey, everyone takes part and we get really good feedback every month."

Unfortunately, no.

You will get good feedback in the first month and it will decrease in the following months.

Why is that?

We humans learn very quickly. If we are invited to an employee survey today and go through it, then we know about the scope. If an invitation to the survey arrives in a month, we have the last survey in mind and the "effort" behind it. So here is theParticipation rate sink from time to time.

It is better if you always keep the willingness to participate at a high level. An important point here is the length of the questionnaire. When it was internalized that theParticipation is quick and easy the colleagues are happy to take part in the following surveys.

But sometimes there is simply no way around your questionnaire becoming a little longer so that you can draw usable results from it. Here I have 3 methods for you how you can manage this situation. So you can sometimes create a somewhat longer questionnaire and still keep the dropout rate low.

Method 1: add variety

If you make your online survey lively, you increase the visitor's attention and length of stay.Therefore, use different question types.You will keep the attention high if you take turns using different types of questions as you develop the survey. Always using the same type of questions quickly tires the participant.

Method 2: work with pictures

Images are another way of adding varied content to the survey. If you use a questionnaire as a contact form to offer support, the first question is:

"How can we help you?"

You can now simply type the answers as text, or you can use picture questions to visualize the possibilities. This makes your questionnaire appear livelier and surprises the participant.

Method 3: Save questions without sacrificing results

With a simple trick you can shorten your questionnaire, or you can add another additional question without changing the length: Give yourself previously known questionsInformation inSurvey link.

For example, at the end of the survey you want to see which of your customers gave which feedback. Since you have the customer number, you can transfer it with the survey link and no longer have to query it.

With different mechanisms likeUrlParameters & variables, or multi-links Good survey software offers the possibility to put information in the survey link that shortens the questionnaire.

Tip 7: How to define mandatory questions in the questionnaire


With your questionnaire, you want to receive as much feedback as possible and you hope that every participant answers every question. The option of the mandatory question comes in handy. While it's tempting to make every question a mandatory question, you should use this option wisely.

  • Questionnaire course based on the answers given

    If you design the questionnaire flow individually with filters, jumps or logics, you have to activate the mandatory question option for the filter questions. Otherwise no individual course can take place
  • Which question is used to evaluate the results?

    It is recommended to set certain questions as mandatory questions with which you want to evaluate the result later. For example, in an employee survey: Here, the question about department affiliation should be mandatory so that you can later evaluate the result properly based on these answers.
  • Which question is most useful?

    Depending on the topic of the questionnaire, there may be one or more questions that make up the absolute core of the survey. These questions should also be answered. Here it is in your interest to set this as a mandatory question.
  • Put yourself in the participant's perspective when choosing mandatory questions

    Every mandatory question must be answered. If the participant cannot or does not want to provide any information, he or she will or must cancel the survey at this point and you will lose feedback.
  • From a psychological point of view, it can make sense to ask many mandatory questions

    This is done so that each question is “actively” perceived. In this case, however, you should in many cases offer an option that the participant can continue the questionnaire even without an "answer".

    There is also the “No information” button. This allows the question to be answered technically, but without the participant having to give an answer.

Conclusion: Use the right methods for developing questionnaires


With the right methods in mind, planning a good survey is not that difficult. Admittedly, such a survey is a bit time-consuming, but by using good software you can gain a lot of time when evaluating the survey.

Because you shouldn't rush anything when planning. Thoroughness and accuracy are required here. And to limit your self-discipline from time to time and to forego one or the other question.

This is the only way to ensure that your questionnaire has a corresponding response rate and that you can derive important insights and improvements.