Write good survey questions

1. Write down what you want to discover, and the types of customers who can help you find out each piece of information.

For example, if you want to find out whether your customer service is hitting the mark, you would probably focus on your long-term customers who have had the opportunity to interact with the service team a few times.

2. Survey your customer base to clarify or write personas, identify UX issues, inform product and content decisions, or inspire marketing messaging.

Tamara Mendelsohn, VP and General Manager of Consumer at Eventbrite, has successfully run surveys containing a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions. For the best response rates, frame the survey request as a personal favor.  You can get valuable insights by asking questions like: What can you tell us about yourself? This question can also be framed as, “In one sentence, describe yourself.” What are you using [the product] for? What problem does it solve for you? How is your life better thanks to [the product]? What made you buy [the product]? What convinced you that it was a good decision? What doubts or hesitations did you have before buying? What questions did you have that you couldn’t find answers to? Did you consider alternatives? How many websites did you visit before buying from us? Which ones? What was your biggest challenge, frustration, or problem during your visit to our website? Where exactly did you hear about us? How would you describe us to a friend? What would you miss the most if you could not use us anymore? What’s the one big thing we’re missing? What are your biggest everyday challenges? Anything else you would like to tell us?

3. Send an engaged prospect a probing survey asking if they've considered becoming a customer and, if so, what is currently stopping them.

Wait until they’ve engaged a few times – commenting on blog posts, joining webinars, etc. The answers help make the pre-conversion onboarding experience better and ultimately create loyal customers.

4. Add a survey to your onboarding email or thank you page.

Brian Massey from Conversion Sciences says the thank you page survey is his favorite type,  because completion rates are high thanks to the “Liking” effect – When someone chooses you, you instantly become better in their minds, so they’re more willing to help – and the question is posed to actual buyers/leads who made it through the process successfully. Ask questions like: What made you choose this version of the product? Why did you decide to sign up/purchase from us today? What almost stopped you from signing up/buying from us today? What are the top three things that persuaded you to use us? What are the top three things that nearly stopped you from using us? What could we have done to make your decision easier?

5. Ask people participating in user testing to complete a short survey at the end, focused on what they thought of the experience and your website.

Ask questions like: What was the worst thing about your experience? Which aspects of the experience could be improved? What did you like about the website? What other comments do you have?

6. Email customers who drop a subscription or fail to upgrade when their trial ends, asking them how you could have done things differently to keep them as customers.

7. Create pop-up surveys for website visitors, asking them about their current visit and whether they're having any issues.

Ask questions like: What is the purpose of your visit to our website today?  Were you able to complete your task today? If you were not able to complete your task, why not?  What is stopping you from completing your purchase today? Are there any questions you’re not finding the answers to? (If they say “Yes,” ask which ones.) Ask them to assess the website design and functionality on a scale of 1 to 10, and then ask them for a reason for their score.

8. Ask content consumers what else they'd like to know about the topics that your content covers.

On their blog, HotJar asks just one question: What else would you like to learn about? Kissmetrics formerly asked their customers: What are your most burning questions about_____? and What’s your preferred method of learning (reading, watching or listening)?