Declarative data: how to ask good questions? - YourCX

Declarative data: how to ask good questions?


The stage of designing questionnaires and formulating the questions is one of the most important steps in development of an effective CX strategy. The quality of questions has the effect not only on the usefulness of the data and the reliability of subsequent analyses but also on the broadly understood UX. In this article, we present some principles to follow when preparing survey questionnaires.

  1. Define your target audience

After identifying the areas to be covered by survey (more about that [here]), you should precisely specify your target audience. It is important to define both the context in which the users will be and the emotions accompanying particular activities. A user evaluating a two-week stay in the tropics is different from a person using an internal search engine in an online store that offers, for example, electronics.

  1. Ask: what for?

You should ask yourself that question first and foremost in the context of identifying the general goals to achieve through the survey for which the questionnaire is developed. An example of that may be a survey conducted after contact with the consultant via livechat, which can be aimed at improving the quality of the service provided, identifying technical errors and collecting individual evaluations of consultants to be used later in training and awarding of bonuses. It is important to think about how particular questions will contribute to the achievement of those goals, and here, detailing the purpose of  each question is helpful.

  1. Specify question types

The next step should be assigning a question type to each matter concerned. The most significant types of questions used in YourCX questionnaires include:

  • Single choice questions (radiobutton)
  • Multiple choice questions (checkbox)
  • Open or partially open questions (the latter are used to facilitate the process of analysing open answers, and consist in including an open field in one of the two options, e.g. “Is there something we can improve?” with the options: “No” and ” Yes, enter your suggestion: “)
  • NPS questions (evaluation of the likelihood to recommend a website, service or brand,
    using a 0 to 10 scale)
  • Continuous scale questions (evaluation using a -2 to 2 scale, the rating score selected with slider)
  • Single or multiple choice matrix questions (the so-called „tables” where various matters can be evaluated)
  1. Ensure your questionnaire is logical

Avoid questions with the answers limited to “yes” or “no” and as far as possible use the scaled questions. There is a difference between a “very helpful” and “sufficiently helpful” consultant. Remember also that the entire questionnaire should be based on a similar logic of the scale, i.e. if the negative answer for the first question is placed on the left and the positive answer to the right, then the next questions should have the answers arranged in the same way.

  1. Think about data segmentation

In addition to the issues related to the initial determination of goals during the first stage, it is important to take into account the methods of subsequent analysis of the data collected. In that context, segmentation is extremely important – that is, combining different types of questions to verify hypotheses or to assess the relevance of a particular issue for the overall condition of a website or brand. For example, segmentation of purposes of visits by NPS or evaluation of navigating on the website will help identify users’ goals in achieving of which they encounter the most problems. In that context, you should also consider using the so-called „dual importance mapping”, which will be described more precisely in another article.

  1. Adjust your questions to precise profile of users

In the Internet communication, it is common to use „you” when addressing people, hence there is nothing wrong in using that informal direct form in the surveys. It is important, however, to take into account both male and female forms, if applicable. For more specific groups, such as business clients or luxury goods consumers, the use of more formal forms should be considered.

  1. Ensure simplicity

When creating the questionnaires, follow the KISS rule – Keep It Short and Simple, and keep the language simple too. Do not expect respondents to spend more than 10 minutes on completing the survey. Too long questionnaires and over-complicated questions make the respondents stop focusing, drop out, or even get nervous, which is not acceptable for the surveys aimed at improving users’ satisfaction. Remember to avoid the understatement and minimize the share of answers based on misunderstanding of questions.

  1. Organize the questions

Start with general questions, and then later with those slightly more detailed. If you plan using demographic questions, always put them at the end of the questionnaires. Such approach will allow gradual introduction of users in the topic, followed by gathering key information and finally its silencing at the very end. Such designed questionnaires are clear for users, decreasing the number of abandoned completions and increasing the quality of answers.

  1. Test!

Logical errors, language problems, or unclear questions can have a disastrous impact on the quality of results received. Regardless of whether you prepare surveys independently or in a team, before they are published make sure they are reviewed by someone not involved in their designing. Also check how long it takes to complete the questionnaire.

Creating survey questionnaires is a craft that requires intuition and care about the details. In addition to following the rules above, it is worth looking at how the existing surveys are designed. YourCX clients using consultancy services are fully supported by an expert team that prepares ready-made questionnaires responding to all research needs. Customers using only YourCX analytical tools receive access to many professional and freely customizable questionnaire and question templates.

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