Friday, April 16, 2010

Successful Survey Tips: Setting Your Survey Up For Success

I've been thinking about the "zen" of doing a successful survey.  As with many things, it's taking the time to perfect specific techniques that ultimately leads to not only high response rates, but high quality feedback that actually means something.

I've pulled together a series of  successful survey tips that I'll be sharing with you over the next few days.  Take those in and why not add your own successful survey tips.  When the series closes, I'll include your tips and put out a best practices list!

As I was thinking about this series, it dawned on me that none of these tips are actually new.  Yet, it's our skill at implementing each of these elements that ultimately determines our success.  The next thing that popped into my mind was the "Wax on, Wax off" scene from the "Karate Kid" and how the learning to do basic mundane actions can yield winning results.  Enjoy.

  • Focus on what decision you’re making. This is a twist on setting a survey objective.  Often the reason we do surveys or gather feedback is to collect data so that we can make a decision.  State the decision that you are making and include the criteria of the decision.  For example, “Should we launch product X?”  You might say that if more than 100 people are very likely to purchase product X at price Y, then you will go forward.  This puts a laser focus on the questions that you will include in the survey.

  • Use an invitation with well written subject that grabs the respondent’s attention.  It’s no secret that respondents are focused on what’s important to THEM and not you.  Write your invitation in a way that points out the potential benefits to the respondents in filling out the survey.  The invitation is actually a PR opportunity for you to communicate to your respondents that you are engaged in creating a product or service that will benefit them.  It’s an opportunity to differentiate your organization from others and highlight some potential improvements that your competition may not be offering it.  Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.

  • Use an introduction that makes the respondent feel important. Just because you’ve sent an invitation doesn’t mean that you should ignore the introduction to the survey.  Today’s respondents want to know what you’re up to.  Use the introduction to the survey as an opportunity to make them part of your team and include them in the development of something new and beneficial that will bring them value.  This will put them in a mindset to provide honest and valuable feedback.

What are your successful survey tips BEFORE the survey even starts?

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