February 14, 2020

The 3 Cardinal Survey Sins, and What to Do about Them

Member365 users create a?lot of survey’s. Our Customer Success team has had years of experience helping membership-managers build and manage them, and in that time has identified a few common mistakes made by Member365’s many survey-builders.

In our customer support calls, we’re quick to point out when these common errors are being made. Fortunately, they’re all easy to fix – so we thought it would be a good idea to share them with you through the Member365 blog!

Here they are:

Using Text Boxes for Yes/No Questions

The most common mistake we see our users making when creating their survey’s is using the wrong kind of field to capture information. Specifically, its a common mistake for membership managers to use text-based fields to manage what either?are or?could be Yes/No or True/False questions.

The Problem with Text Boxes for Binary Questions

Asking ‘Did you enjoy our event?’ and following up with a text-box might seem just as effective as a true/false field.

To a person taking your survey, this might be the case. For someone collecting and analyzing survey data?after a survey, it adds a lot of unnecessary effort.

This is because there are many ways to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. ‘Yes’, ‘Yep’, ‘Y’, ‘Correct’, ‘True’, etc. are all equivalent in meaning, but require a lot of manual work to sift through and organize.

If your survey creation tool defaults to text-boxes, investing a bit of effort on the front-end of your survey project to convert them to binary fields like True/False can save you a?lot on the back-end when it comes time to gather and analyze survey data.

Reducing Questions to Yes/No

‘How did you enjoy your event?’ is a complex question to address. “Did you enjoy your event?” is straightforward and simple.

In the first case, a survey recipient needs a text box to adequately respond. In the second, all we need is a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ button.

If it’s the case that you’re using this question to get a quantitative impression of event-attendant satisfaction, there’s no need for the ‘how’ question, or a text-box follow up. Yes/No fields are easier for your user to complete, capture all the data you need, and spares you the work of sifting through who-knows-how-many text responses for the data you’re looking for.

Adding Too Many Memo Boxes

Memo boxes are optional text fields besides survey questions that offer survey participants the ability to add information or insight to their responses.

Tacking these onto survey questions seems like a no-brainer. After all, respondents don’t?have to fill them – and why?wouldn’t you capture more information if it’s available?

Though it might not feel intuitive, there’s actually good reason to use memo boxes sparingly. Their appearance on a survey increases Cognitive Load (read more about this concept here).

Despite?being?optional, memo boxes don’t feel optional, and can have a big impact on not only decreasing survey completions, but decreasing the quality of data your survey collects.

Think about notifications on your phone, or unread emails in your inbox. Despite the fact that you don’t?need to address them, their existence can create a sense of obligation. When a survey participant opens your survey up for the first time, too many memo-boxes can overwhelm them.

Overwhelming those who seek to take your survey encourage them to either abandon your survey right away, or skim through it quickly. In these cases, you either get no data at all, or poor data as respondent’s fail to take the time necessary to deliver the insights you’re interested in receiving.

Not Adding Segmentation Questions

Some questions are less about collecting data from an audience, and more about making the task of?analyzing?it easier.

Failing to ask questions that help you organize survey respondents into relevant groups can create a nightmare for your future self when it comes time to pull multiple reports for cross-referencing and analysis.

This is why it’s so important to take some time in consideration of?how you intend to use survey data after it’s collected. Consider important demographics or segmentation’s relevant to your organization, and ask questions that allow survey recipients to tell you what segment they belong to. For example:

  • Use a drop-down list to ask if a survey recipient is a ‘retailer’, ‘distributor’, ‘shipping service’, or ‘manufacturer’.
  • Use box-fields to let respondents identify themselves as a ‘contractor’ or ‘business’.
  • Not certain if everyone falls into your categories? This is a great use for a memo box, as it allows those who don’t fit to offer new ideas for categorization.

Solve Problems?Before They Become Problems

Addressing these common survey-creation errors?after you’ve sent a survey out is always more difficult than?preventing the problem from happening.

That’s why, next time you build a survey (and hopefully for every survey thereafter) you’ll keep in mind the subtle, but common, errors membership managers fall victim to when building their surveys.

By reducing your response fields to true/false whenever possible, approaching optional memo-boxes strategically, and including fields designed to self-sort respondents into relevant categories, you’ll be better able to capture the insights you need?and find it far easier to manage captured data when it comes time to draw reports and analyze responses.

Want to learn more about optimizing survey’s? Don’t forget to check our articles on the topic below:

Improving Your Event Survey Strategy

Strategic Post-Event Survey Tips

Share This Story...

Subscribe to the Member365 Newsletter

Get the latest from Member365 delivered directly to your inbox subscribe today!