Creating Product Management Surveys that Deliver Results

January 31, 2017

A well-designed product survey can reveal valuable insights into your customer’s needs, wants, and purchasing habits, increasing product growth, retention and impacting the product roadmap. Through customer interviews, running surveys, and examining analytics Product Managers can gather actionable data. Fortunately, powerful, easy to use tools like Alchemer make it faster and easier to get results.

So how do Product Managers create a robust and informative survey? Below we’ve outlined the path to designing great surveys that lead to reliable data and ultimately inform product decisions.


Define Your Survey Goal

It all starts with your goal. Set your goal and treat it as your guide throughout the entire survey process. By identifying and vetting questions by the goal, you will avoid common pitfalls, ensuring you stay on track asking questions that result in informed action, keeping your survey concise and targeted.  

Questions to ask when defining your goal:

  • What do you want to learn?
  • What actions do you plan to take?
  • What will be included in the final report?
  • Who will take your survey/Who is your audience?

The answers to these questions will guide your survey design and what you want to convey with the data. Take the time to do the hard work up front, working with your team identifying the critical data to glean from the survey from the targeted audience will set you up for success.


Identify your Survey Audience   

Decide who you want to target and how you will reach them. Who are you trying to understand? Get specific. Is it a general audience or is it a subset of your customer base?

How many people do you need to survey to inform decisions and action appropriately? By identifying your survey sample size, or the number of people from your target population that you distribute your survey to, you can understand the impact on your costs and data.

How will you find your survey audience? You can focus on a variety of methods for finding and reaching your audience. Use the infographic below to help guide you.

Alchemer_Flowchart_Reaching Audience.jpg

Design Your Questions for Your Goals and Audience

When creating your survey questions continually ask yourself: “Will this data allow me to draw conclusions I set out to address.”

Before finalizing your questions consider using a two-phased approach to your survey. First start with one-on-one interviews with a small group from your target audience. Use this opportunity to dive deep into questions, allowing for open-ended questions and follow-up questions.

This first step will guide you into the second phase by providing valuable feedback to guide your survey questionnaire design and then administer it to a larger survey sample size.  

Considerations when developing survey questions:

  • Decide what kind of questions to ask. Do you want to ask qualitative questions (exploratory, usually freeform) or quantitative questions (answers are pre-defined)?
  • Write straightforward questions. Keep questions brief, simple, relevant, specific, and direct.
  • Make sure your phrasing is relevant to your audience. Ask yourself: will the demographic I’m speaking to understand this question? Will they care about this topic?
  • Eliminate bias. Remove or change leading questions, suggestive questions, sensitive topics, highly technical language, and questions that cause survey fatigue.

For further ideas and information check out our Sample Survey Questions That Go Beyond the Template and Building Your Survey With the Right Questions.


Design Your Survey’s Appearance

Question sequence, type of question, length of the questionnaire, color, branding, and images, as well as non-question text all have a substantial impact on the overall respondent experience. Consider the following when formatting your survey:

  • Surveys are conversations. Group questions by topic and allow them to unfold in a logical order.  
  • Keep your survey concise. If your survey is less than 5 minutes, a respondent can typically answer five quantitative questions per minute or two qualitative (open-ended) questions per minute. If your survey exceeds 5 minutes, you will be more likely to receive feedback when using an incentive. It is also important to keep messaging clear and as simple to complement the longer format.
  • Keep titles, questions, and answers short. Respondents will not answer long questions. A well-designed table can help with more complex questions.  

Ensure that you are keeping your data pure by avoiding survey bias. Learn strategies to prevent survey bias.  


Distribute Your Survey!

How you distribute your survey depends largely on your audience. Get to know your audience and really think of where they will be most receptive to connecting with you. The above infographic is a great place to start. How to Reach Your Audience is another great article to inform your tactics.


Analyze and Report Your Data

You’ve done the strategizing, brainstorming, conducted the survey, but now you have to figure out how to convey the data to have the most impact.

We’ve highlighted four steps that will help turn your responses into useful, actionable reports. We have included links that will provide you with a deeper dive into each of these measures.

Clean Data

Before you start analyzing and acting on your survey data, you need to make sure it’s the highest possible quality. Fortunately, Alchemer offers a Data Cleaning Tool that allows you to scrub your survey data thoroughly. Learn the importance of clean data and how to get started.

Run Initial Reports

Once you’ve cleaned your data and refreshed yourself on your survey goals, it’s time to do a first pass at creating your reports.These initial reports are designed to help you determine if you are answering your original questions if the data is in the expected format, and whether you see expected trends.

Analyze Data 

Based on your initial reports analyze your data for the major findings. Learn how to segment and filter your data to dive deeper into your results to inform your report and each learning objective.

Create Final Report(s)

There are four stages of the reporting process, during which you reveal the brilliant findings of your well-designed survey to the world.


Act on the Data You Collect

Maybe you want to launch a new product or determine your customer satisfaction levels. Whatever the reason you began your survey in the first place, the project isn’t over until you do something about what you learned.

To make sure that your project creates action, design a monitoring tool for action. Note when the changes that your survey data suggested were implemented, and start measuring results.

Create a short survey that goes out to all stakeholders to get their input on the effectiveness of the study.

To finish off a project it can be useful to pull together an overview of all your data, the final return on investment information, and how you’ll be incorporating the group’s feedback into your next survey project.

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