7 Mistakes to Avoid when Developing Customer Surveys

Sending out ineffective surveys does a disservice to both your business and your survey takers. Whether you create paper, online, or telephone surveys, we’ve compiled a list of common mistakes to avoid in order to ensure your survey will yield optimal results.

  1. Skip your homework
    Failing to properly plan the survey from start to finish will lead to poor results and frustration all around. Make sure you determine a clear objective for the survey and choose your target audience. Think carefully about the best time to launch your survey. Allowing at least one week for response collection can ensure your survey encompasses a broad range of people and opinions.
  2. Fail to set time expectations
    Be clear about survey length. Explain the reason for the survey, and provide an estimated completion time. A survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete if you want a high response rate. If the survey takes longer than ten minute, the survey takers should be incentivized for their time.
  3. Ask the wrong type of questions
    Start backward. Before you start creating survey questions, consider the goals of your survey. The information you’d like to collect will guide which survey question type to choose. Multiple choice questions are ideal when you have a fixed number of options, rating scale questions are often used to measure customer opinion or attitudes, demographic questions allow you to gather information about the respondent, and comment/essay box questions allow for open-ended responses. A good survey should include a mix of question types.
  4. Haphazardly ask questions
    Question placement is important to the success of your survey. Place demographic questions at the end of the survey as they may be perceived as intrusive. Group questions on similar topics together to ensure a logical flow. Realize that open-ended questions may result in useful testimonials or sound-bites, but will require a manual process to analyze fully. Closed-ended questions generate results that are easier to analyze but offer more shallow insights. Make sure every question is necessary.
  5. Word the questions poorly
    Vague or poorly worded questions will confuse respondents and ultimately render your data less useful. Keeping language simple and direct will make your questions easy to answer. Ask only about one idea at a time. Avoid high-level vocabulary words or double-negatives in questions. Make sure you’re not asking loaded or biased questions. Avoid using adjectives and adverbs as much as possible.
  6. Skip the testing process
    Send your survey to friends, employees or colleagues as part of the testing process. Gather feedback about the clarity of the questions and the response options. Check with them that the survey flow is logical and that it could be completed in a reasonable amount of time.
  7. Neglect to take action
    It is imperative to actually take the time to learn from your surveys, and more importantly, analyze and leverage this data to guide future marketing efforts and improve products, services and overall customer experience. Click here for some best practices for capitalizing on the feedback you receive from your surveys.


If designing an effective survey seems like a daunting task, or your current survey is not returning the results you need, Grow-Corp can help.

As a full service B2B Marketing Communications company, Grow-Corp uses effective in-house consulting services, strategy, copywriting and design to build integrated end-to-end solutions that adapt to your company’s needs. We offer strategic input based on our deep business understanding and familiarity with the high-tech and industrial markets. You benefit from our 15 years of experience covering all aspects of marketing communications – alternative strategies, copywriting, design and execution. Our professional and experienced team cuts through the noise to deliver a compelling proposition that meets all your needs. We specialize in connecting the dots between the different messages emanating from the company into one clear, concise and convincing message.  For over 15 years, our marketing and strategic advice has helped many businesses and industries, from both start-ups to established multi-nationals around the world. Now, let us help you.

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