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Do surveys still have a place in 2024?

Surveys aren’t a new technology. In fact, they’re actually a lot older than you might think. Scholars have even dated surveys back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Of course, the technology we use today has come a long way with big names like Survey Monkey founded in 1999 and YouGov in 2000. So with such an old technology, does it still have a place in today's world of research? We think so. Although slightly outdated there are undoubtedly still ways to use the traditional survey and get solid, actionable results. But it’s more important than ever to get it right. 


Let’s get personal  


At worst a survey can be a nuisance to the recipient. They’re everywhere when you think about it. A device with red, amber and green buttons stationed around every corner asking for feedback. Your inbox is probably full to the brim with requests for feedback on everything you’ve bought from a new car to a new toothbrush. The key to not being a nuisance? Timing, personalisation and letting the client know how filling the survey out will benefit them.  


Think about the type of survey to send  


You can split surveys into two camps. Relationship vs transactional surveys. Relationship surveys should be used on an ongoing basis with customers who use your services regularly. Whereas transactional surveys should be used to measure the success of one particular client interaction. The types of questions for each type of survey will vary, too.  


Transactional survey questions should be specific to the most recent interaction. For example: ‘How would you rate your recent experience with our team?’ Compared to a relationship survey which may ask: ‘How likely are you to maintain a relationship with [business]?’.  


Relationship surveys are better for asking wider-reaching questions about your ESG strategy or brand for example. Asking questions like this in a transactional survey can over complicate and switch off your respondents.  


Make use of Net Promoter Score surveys  


To capture the overall state of the relationship between the respondent and your firm, use a Net Promoter Score survey. This allows you to both gauge future buying intent and client loyalty. 


Get the timing right  


Transactional surveys should be sent as soon as possible after a client interaction. This is when the emotional response from the respondent will be highest and you’ll get the best quality results. We recommend no longer than 3 or 4 weeks post-interaction to send these out.  


Relationship surveys should be ongoing. The timing of these will depend entirely on how many clients you want to survey, the type of survey and how frequently you interact with them.  


Don’t include too many questions 


When it comes to crafting the perfect survey, less is most definitely more. Whilst you may want to know everything about your clients, the key is to think about what information is really going to help you improve your service. The shorter the survey the more responses you’ll receive and the better quality results. For relationship surveys think 5-10 minute completion and for transactional these should be no more than 5 minutes.  


Don’t make questions too wordy or complex  


It can also be tempting to creatively word questions and include examples or other angles to look at things from. But don’t. Write the question out as simply as possible, in as few words as possible. A straightforward question will deliver straightforward, concise responses.  


Bottom line: anything more than a line of text is too much.  



Make use of pilots  


If you can get a survey live and pilot it on a small scale you can gauge the length of the survey and completion time to understand if you’re on the right track. Most survey providers also let you see abandonment rates and where respondents abandoned so you can highlight tricky questions which may be stopping people from continuing.  


Put open-ended questions at the end  


Closed questions should be used upfront. Even better use question types with rating responses e.g. ‘on a scale of 1-10…’. Abandonment rates are highest on the first question so you want to make getting past this screen as easy as possible.  


Open-ended questions are more likely to be answered once a respondent has committed time to the survey. Decide whether to make these mandatory to answer based on the value the answers will give you.  


Ask the client’s key point of contact to send the survey request  


You’re most likely to get a good response rate if the survey request comes from the person the client has the most day-to-day contact with. It can be tempting to ask the most senior member of the team to send this, to stress the importance of the survey, but this won’t work. They’re more likely to do this for someone they have a strong relationship with.  


So that’s it, in a nutshell. Surveys definitely still have a place in today’s world but with so many feedback requests flooding personal and professional inboxes, it’s more important than ever before to make sure your survey is well-crafted.  


If you need help creating the perfect survey or client measurement programme, contact us and speak to one of the team.  




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