Creating a customer survey is hard work. Not only do you have to ensure your questions can deliver truly valuable insights, but you also have to consider design, distribution, and usability issues.

We know how painful this process can be, which is why we’ve created a pre-survey checklist to put your nerves at ease and help you launch the perfect customer survey.

1. Creating your customer survey

  • Select the right survey question types: Writing a proper question is one of the most important parts of a survey. There’s the multiple choice questions, the rating question, the open-ended form, etc. Do you know when to use which? Use this survey question types guide to learn how to use each question format for better survey results.
  • Start with the most important questions: Always start your surveys with the most important questions. If your survey needs to include sensitive questions, such as demographics, include them at the end of the survey since they could make some respondents uncomfortable and impact completion rates.
  • Ask only what is needed: To maximize your response rate it’s best to keep your survey questions as short as possible. Determine the least number of questions required for your survey to still give valuable answers and stick to just those.
  • Don’t include biased language: Make sure your questions don’t favor a particular response over others. A good way to avoid biased language is to have your questions reviewed a third party.
  • Keep language simple: Avoid using complicated words. In general, try to keep words at a 7th to 8th-grade reading level since the higher up you go the more people will find your survey difficult to understand.
  • Avoid asking multi-barreled questions: Don’t ask your respondents about two or more items in a single question. You can easily turn these type of questions into separate items on your survey.
  • Add a survey title and description: A survey title and description will ease respondents into your questions. Your survey description should be brief, describe the aim of the survey, and thank users for participating.
  • Include a “Thank You” page: When a respondent has finished taking your survey make sure they’re redirected to a custom page that thanks them for their time and participation. If you’re offering a participation gift, you should include it here as well.
  • Add the “Not Applicable” option: Include the option of “Not Applicable” to not force your respondents into picking an answer, despite it not being relevant.
  • Use logic mapping to personalize your survey: Use tools such as survey logic, merge fields, and survey piping to personalize your surveys and increase the quality of your results and completion rates.
  • Include multilingual support: When surveying an international audience make sure your survey supports all the relevant languages.
  • Use the same rating scale: When your survey involves a rating scale question, use the same rating scale throughout the survey. For instance, if one question rates from a scale of 1 to 5, then so should every other question.
  • Double check for typos: Respondents might overlook a poorly misspelled word or two, but it becomes a problem once it repeats throughout your survey. Typos draw attention away from your survey, possibly corrupting your survey data.

2. Designing your survey

  • Maintain brand style: Your survey should also use the same style, font, and button color as your brand, so respondents can make the connection between the survey and your company.
  • Use a font size of at least 16 pixels: Users can’t answer what they can’t see. Play it safe by using a font size of 16 pixels for your survey.
  • Use a contrasting background image: If your survey includes a background image, make sure it’s in contrast with your text so it doesn’t distract respondents from the questions.
  • Check for mobile friendliness: 50% of surveys are taken on mobile, so check that your surveys are optimized for both desktop and mobile.

3. Distributing your survey

  • Decide on a distribution channel: This will depend on the goal of your survey. There are many survey distribution options: A website widget, email, a website embed, mobile app, text message or even social media. Check out our blog post on how to distribute surveys for more guidance. If you’ve decided that email is the way to go, then be sure to follow the steps below:
    • Keep the email short and to the point. Simply explain why the survey matters and offer your incentives if there are any.
    • As mentioned earlier. mobile usage is on the rise so make sure your email looks good on mobile.
    • Try sending the email again to subscribers that didn’t open the first email.
    • Send a thank you email to your respondents and if relevant show them the survey results.
  • Set up your third-party integrations: To gather a deeper analysis from your survey you should integrate its results with existing customer data. We recommend connecting your survey with a CRM like Salesforce.

4. Testing your survey

It’s necessary that you test the survey before considering it ready to go. Send it to yourself and your colleagues to make sure nothing is overlooked.

Here’s what needs to be checked:

  • The merge fields are working properly.
  • The survey logic works (do this by trying out every question path).
  • Your survey responses are being mapped to Salesforce (remember to pull this data out when you’re done testing.)