Design Surveys People Love to Answer

Erica YlimäkiErica Ylimäki
Last edited: June 27th, 2024

Create customer surveys that measure customer satisfaction, collect open feedback and turn feedback into testimonials.

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Creating surveys that people actually enjoy answering can significantly boost your response rates and provide you with valuable insights.

Whether you’re gathering customer feedback or conducting market research, the design of your survey plays a crucial role in its success.

Let’s dive into some essential tips and best practices for designing engaging surveys that yield high-quality data.

Set Clear Goals

Before you even start drafting your survey questions, it’s vital to have clear objectives.

Ask yourself: “What do I hope to learn from this survey?”

Defining your goals helps you stay focused and ensures that every customer feedback question serves a purpose.

For instance, if your goal is to understand customer satisfaction, make sure your questions are geared towards gauging their experiences and opinions.

Pro tip: Create qualitative surveys that also collect quantitative data! More from general questions to specific questions.

Different Survey Design Types

After defining your goal, decide on what type of survey design you’d like to use.

Survey Design Type Examples

  1. NPS (Net Promoter Score) Surveys: Measure customer loyalty by asking how likely they are to recommend your business to others.
  2. CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) Surveys: Gauge customer satisfaction with a product or service.
  3. Star Rating Forms: Simple rating scales using stars for quick feedback.
  4. Video Reviews Forms: Collect video feedback from customers, which can be used for testimonials.
  5. Google Review Forms: Encourage customers to leave reviews on Google to enhance your online presence​.

Customize Survey Design

When creating online surveys, it’s important that your audience understands who is sending the survey.

Therefore, focus on making the survey look like your brand!

Survey Features to Customize

  • Colors used
  • Logo
  • Font used
  • Tone of voice in survey email and question wording
  • Thank you page

The right survey design will get you more responses, because people will be able to recognize your brand.

Try our survey-maker that’ll help you nail those aspects.

Effective Survey Design: 101

  1. Use logical order in questions
  2. Start with closed ended broad and general questions
  3. Let respondents use their own words by using open ended survey questions
  4. For longer surveys (more than 3 questions), use engaging questions such as dropdown menu options and video recording
  5. Test your survey process yourself to notice any flaws

Okay, those are just my two cents quickly explained.

Here is some more general advice to help you survey designers think like a pro!

Keep It Short and Simple

One of the primary reasons people abandon surveys halfway is because they are too long or complicated. Aim to keep your survey short and straightforward. Avoid unnecessary questions and focus on what’s truly important. This helps strike a balance between the depth of information you need and the time commitment you’re asking from your respondents.

Use Clear and Concise Language

Your survey questions should be easy to understand. Avoid using technical terms or other industry specific jargon that might confuse your respondents.

Instead, use plain language that is accessible to everyone. This helps in ensuring that respondents can answer accurately without spending too much time deciphering the questions.

edit question

Mix Question Types

Incorporate a variety of question types to keep the survey interesting.

  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Likert scales
  • Open-ended questions
  • Video
  • Image uploading

Using different question formats can help maintain respondent engagement and provide richer data.

Offer Incentives

Consider offering an incentive to encourage participation. This could be a discount on future purchases, entry into a prize draw, or a small gift card. Incentives can significantly boost your response rates, but make sure they are appropriate and ethical.

In other words, reward all respondents, not just the happy ones.

Otherwise, you’ll end up getting inaccurate answers.

Common Mistakes in Survey Design

Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to fall into some common traps when designing surveys.

Avoid these at all costs to get high-quality survey responses.

Leading Questions

Leading questions suggest a particular answer and can bias your results.

For example, instead of asking,

  • “How wonderful was your experience with our customer service team?”

You should ask,

  • “How would you rate your experience with our customer service team?”

This avoids pushing respondents towards a positive answer.

Double-Barreled Questions

These are questions that ask about two different things at once, making it hard for respondents to answer accurately.

For instance, “How satisfied are you with our product quality and customer service?” should be split into two separate questions to get clear and actionable feedback.

Too Many Open-Ended Questions

While open-ended questions can provide valuable insights, too many of them can overwhelm respondents and lead to survey fatigue. It’s best to use them sparingly and place them towards the end of the survey.

suspicious man stroking his beard

Not Pre-Testing Your Survey

Before sending out your survey to a larger audience, pre-test it with a small group.

This helps you catch any confusing questions or technical issues that might affect your response rate. Pre-testing ensures that your survey is clear, concise, and ready for your target audience.

Make Survey Design Mobile-Friendly

With more people accessing the internet via their mobile devices, it’s crucial to ensure your survey is mobile-friendly. A responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes can make it easier for respondents to complete the survey on their phones or tablets.

Provide a Progress Indicator

Let respondents know how much longer they have to go with a progress bar or indicator.

This can help reduce drop-off rates as people are more likely to complete the survey if they know how much time it will take.

Follow Up

After the survey is completed, follow up with your respondents to thank them and share any key findings or actions taken based on their feedback.

This shows that you value their input and can encourage them to participate in future surveys.

Moreover, make sure you follow up to those who didn’t respond! It might be that it slipped their minds. Ask at least twice.

Embrace Innovative Methods

Traditional customer surveys are becoming less effective as people grow tired of answering lengthy questionnaires.

Instead, consider innovative methods such as video testimonials and feedback tools.

Using video allows customers to express their thoughts more freely and can provide richer, more nuanced insights. Plus, it’s more engaging and can lead to higher participation rates​.


What makes a good survey design?

A good survey design is clear, concise, and focused on specific goals. It uses a variety of question types, avoids bias, and is pre-tested for clarity.

How can I improve my survey response rates?

Keep your survey short and simple, use clear language, offer incentives, and make sure it is mobile-friendly.

What are common mistakes to avoid in survey design?

Avoid leading questions, double-barreled questions, too many open-ended questions, and not pre-testing your survey.

Why is it important to set clear survey goals?

Clear goals help ensure that your survey questions are relevant and focused, making it easier to gather actionable data.

How can I make my survey more engaging?

Mix question types, use a conversational tone, offer incentives, and provide a progress indicator.

How much do surveys cost?

Survey pricing differs between software. It can be based on:

  • Monthly response limits
  • Email limits
  • Surveys created

Erica Ylimäki
Erica Ylimäki
Erica Ylimäki is a Growth Marketer at Trustmary. She is an expert in how to grow the organic traffic of a business with effective SEO strategies, and how to utilize reviews on different CMS and platforms.


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