4 Easily Avoidable VoC Survey Design Flaws

A successful customer experience survey should prioritise the quality of responses as well as quantity. Customer experience must extend to the survey being completed. Creating a survey isn’t just about getting answers to the questions you want to improve your business. You need to factor in user experience and design practices when you send out a survey. If it frustrates your customer to navigate your survey or if it takes them 15 minutes to complete, inevitably boring them, your survey design isn’t very good and the quality of your results will be negatively impacted.

Poor survey design can apply to aesthetic issues, practical issues, and issues with the questions you ask. More serious flaws that can really affect your results can be in the questions themselves. 

Display and Navigation Issues

Oftentimes businesses fail to test their surveys on actual users to see how it shows up on various devices. The device on which a survey is appearing should not be a barrier to completion. A customer shouldn’t have to flip their smartphone horizontally so that they can see the full text of the questions and answers. And they shouldn’t have to scroll forever on their desktop. 

Your survey should be optimised for both mobile and desktop responses. If a customer needs to flip their smartphone horizontally to see the entirety of a question, your survey needs to be redesigned to be more mobile friendly. This is why grid or matrix layout questions should be avoided. 

Staying “On Brand”

The tone, design and general branding of your survey should match the other communications you send to your customers. Many surveys look boring and antiquated when compared to a business’ high-tech and aesthetically pleasing website. Your survey should be as engaging and well designed as your other customer-facing materials.

Furthermore, the tone of your survey should be consistent with your other communications as well. If you tend to be jovial and casual in your usual communications with your customers, it’s because your content team has likely established that your customer base responds well to that kind of tone. Extend the usual tone of your business to your survey and align with the people responsible for general communications to ensure that your survey remains “on brand.”

Maintaining Relevance

While a survey may provide you with an opportunity to pick your customers’ brains that you normally wouldn’t have, tread lightly. Keep the survey questions relevant to their experience. It’s best not to insert marketing related questions into a CX survey and not to try to ploy your customers with sales tactics. It isn’t effective.

The second part of relevance relates to only asking questions that you don’t already know the answers to such as their personal or contact details, the date of their purchase or what they bought. This should all be integrated into your system and including questions like these discourage customers from completing the survey. They have a major impact on survey length and they require too much customer input. 

Length and Clarity

Keep questions succinct and clear. It is important to avoid using any industry jargon or terms and phrases that might be specific to your business operations. You can’t be certain that your customers will grasp your meaning, which may lead to them abandoning the survey. 

Research has shown that open-ended questions and questions that are complicated to answer increase drop off rates. This isn’t surprising, as it requires significantly more effort to answer these questions than a multiple choice. If you include free text fields in your surveys to learn additional information from your customers, don’t make them mandatory. 

But the distinction between transactional and relational surveys is important. While it is usually ok for relational surveys to be a little longer than transactional, in each instance the shorter the better. We can easily keep transactional surveys shorter due to the treasure trove of additional contextual data that can be integrated from their interaction with the relevant touchpoints of your business. 

Survey design isn’t as easy as it may seem, and trivial distinctions can have a significant impact on results.