1 in 4 mobile apps, once downloaded, are never used.
Now that I have your attention (presumably), the first words of wisdom I have on the subject are that the perfect B2B survey is unlikely ever to be written. But by following very simple “best practices” in creating surveys, their effectiveness and value can be maximized – and the impact of preconceived notions that might skew the results can be minimized.
The heart and soul of any survey, and therefore the area in which preconceived notions are most harmful, is the style in which survey questions are worded. Neutrality can be surprisingly difficult to achieve in a survey question, even if the researcher isn’t hoping for a certain result and allowing that hope to creep into the question.
The classic example of a preconceived notion affecting a survey is the leading question. For example, if a manufacturer redesigns their website with the objective of making it easier for distributors to use, they may perform a survey to see how well their efforts worked. Too often, the desired outcome creeps into a survey question such as:
Here we see a question that would be somewhat difficult for a respondent to answer in the negative, regardless of their actual user experience. Which is, perhaps unintentionally, what the question writer is hoping for. After all, of course they’re going to like the new site! It has to be better! We’ve added functionality!
Much more effective would be something like:
This style, more specific to user experience and more objective, is much more likely to produce useful results -- particularly if there is also a question about “How many times have you accessed our website since it was redesigned on (date)?”
Avoiding leading questions, and building in objectivity, might well be the most important way to ensure useful results in a B2B survey. But there are a number of other best practices to follow in achieving this goal, including
For additional tips on creating survey questions, check out this guide to better surveys.
All in all, creating the right survey questions for objectivity and maximum value is part science and part art. In my next post, I’ll talk about some ways to combine the two.