Common Pitfalls in Online Surveys
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Common Pitfalls in Online Surveys

Some common mistakes include:

  1. Poor timing: Know your customer’s business cycle. People will not respond to your surveys when they are going through “crunch” time. Similarly, it may matter whether your survey was deployed on a weekday or weekend since the email reading patterns of business customers and consumers are different on those days. You should time your email invitation to reach them at a time when they are most likely to have free time.

  2. Failure to speak their language: Customers should not be burdened with jargon they are not intimately familiar with. Questions should be precise and in simple language. Consider deploying the survey in languages besides English whenever there is a chance that other languages may be primary to a significant fraction of your customers.

  3. Surveys that are too long. If your survey runs longer than 10 minutes, you should
    • Expect a poor response rate
    • Advise your customers in advance (instead of them discovering it as they keep going through your survey hoping it would end soon).
    • Have very good reasons why you couldn’t break that survey into two different surveys to be deployed separately.

  4. No follow through: Every survey builds expectations. If you don’t intend to do anything about issues most of your customers are likely to raise about your organization, consider not conducting the survey.

  5. Invites that never reach your customers: Increasingly, spam filters catch survey invites sent via email. Customers can’t respond to surveys they never received, no matter what the incentive for participation. Ask your online survey provider if they have the ability to avoid the pitfalls of spoofed email which is most likely to end up in spam filters.

  6. No Institutional Memory: Before you deploy your net customer survey, spend some time understanding what issues were explored in prior customer surveys. It may benefit the organization to have a “common section” in the survey that helps you track customer’s perception of your organization in some areas over time and also incorporating some new questions on issues of the day.