Survey Design

As you are probably aware, surveys serve as the best medium to gain insights into real business analytics. 

Customer-centric companies are always engaged in market research and customer feedback collection to improve their understanding of their consumers in an ever-competitive market. Not only are they an easy approach to gather information but they can cater to responses from a wide variety of audiences.

Survey results help you: 

  • Discover what your customer needs are
  • Indicate where and what improvements must be made
  • Improve customer engagement with your brand
  • Know why your customers are leaving
  • Measure and understand Customer Satisfaction Metrics like NPS, CES, etc. 
  • Predict future sales

One of the first challenges you’ll face on your journey to surveying your customers is getting customers to participate in your survey program. As much as you want to know your customers better, your customers won’t necessarily respond to you with such eagerness if not approached in the right manner. Given this reality, survey design and its layout matter a lot. Surveys can deliver very unfulfilling results if they are not conducted in the right way. 

Think about it – don’t we all dread filling out those old-school type forms? They’re time-consuming, boring, and never-ending!

Not to worry. In this blog, we’ll be discussing survey design guidelines and also our top tips to give your surveys a fresh new look and keep your non-respondents to a minimum.

Guidelines: Survey Design

Relevant Questions (For The Win!)

One major factor that can throw customers off the track is irrelevancy in the questions you ask. If you sell bread, you’re going to ask about its taste and quality, perhaps not about what their opinions on the upcoming elections are!

It is always important that you keep the customer’s interest in mind, whilst only asking questions that customers can see will help you improve the service for them. It is better to leave a question open-ended rather than leading the audience towards the desired response through leading questions. Read more about Open vs Closed questions and when to use each here. 

Short and Sweet

This is our biggest pet peeve! Nobody. Want’s. To. Complete. Your. 30min. Survey!

If a customer has agreed to fill out your survey, it is important to respect their time and temperament. Keep the survey short, relevant, and enjoyable to fill.

GroHawk allows you to put your most important questions at the front and make sure the survey automatically saves, so if your respondent navigates away or gets bored, you can still lock-in the answers they have shared up to that point. 

Pleasing to the Eye

Survey Design: Best Practices, Guidelines & 3 Pro Tips! 1

The addition of visual aids always helps in attracting and retaining customer attention. For example, adding a small animation of thanking the customer and requesting to share is much more convincing than just writing it at the end of the survey.

The survey itself also has to be appealing to the eye. Ensure font size and the colour is easy to read and ensure the answer buttons, fields are intuitive and do not require much thought. 

Tip: Implement a progress bar into your survey so users know how far along they are and how much longer left!


No different from any other human interaction, surveys without humour may not engage the respondent and keep their attention. The use of light humour in your survey would engage your respondents until the end. Of course, keeping in mind that the humour used does not affect the clarity of the question and their responses.

Tip: Mixing up your types of questions through the survey will go a long way to retaining your respondents’ attention span. Use a mix of radio buttons, open text questions, and closed questions.

Offer an Incentive

This one can often divide opinion, even within our office here at GroHawk. But one thing is for sure, there is no harm in testing to see if this works for you!

Similar to when people download an app just to take part in a lucky draw or watch a promotional video to gain game credits, some added incentives can make the customer more likely to interact with the survey in a more productive way. 

For example, if you own a restaurant and are collecting feedback on the food from your customers, you might offer a discount voucher on the survey completion. This not only reduces the abandonment ratio for the survey but it can also help to promote your business.

Survey Design

See how clever this Nike’s survey advertisement is. They’ve added an incentive for survey completion and with that, they’ve also made an attempt to filter the responses. “Do you train or play games?” is this one question that will indirectly only attract people who actually do that.

Now, a bear trap to be wary of is the unintended consequences that can arise from offering incentives. It may be the case that you get inundated with multiple “fake” responses by consumers who are solely motivated by the incentive and fill out the survey with random answers.

Touch on what is familiar!

Here are a few fun ways to collect customer responses:


Just like in the case of marketing, personalisation can be a complete game-changer when collecting surveys. According to a survey conducted by Linkdex, 70% of consumers expect brands to offer personalisation and provide tailored experiences. 

Personalised surveys are proven to increase customer participation, engagement and make them feel super special. This means they are more likely to take a positive brand image and turn into happy clients who will buy from you again and recommend you to others as well. In other words, your request to complete a survey can in itself be a loyalty builder if done correctly (woohoo!). 

Here’s the thing. Creating and sending out personalised surveys is not that difficult. You just have to follow a few steps and you’re on your way to winning clients’ hearts. The first step is knowing your respondents and categorising them into segments based on demographics and particular interests. Now, all you have to do is design the survey whilst keeping in mind who your target customer segment is. I.e. don’t send a survey to laptop purchases asking them how their new phone is!

You can also personalise surveys based on the scenarios. For example, here we have Airbnb who sends out the same survey to two different people.

survey design best practices
survey design

Notice that the email is well-personalised for each case. 

Using Mobile Features

Try to keep in mind what devices your respondents are likely to be responding from.  If you’re sending out surveys via email, you can incorporate some really fun features of laptops and mobile phones. Try to embed some options like doodling, drag & drop, swipe for a fun fact and giving a ‘share with others’ option.

Survey Design: Best Practices, Guidelines & 3 Pro Tips! 2

Audience Poles

Poles have become extremely popular recently with their implementation on popular apps such as Instagram and Twitter. Similarly,  perhaps you could add mini-poles and then display their results to the respondent in real-time. This will increase your customers’ engagement with the survey. 

A few Extra (but essential) Tips:

Be in the Moment

Please don’t be that company which surveys it’s customer weeks/months after their purchase or visit! By this time, not only have the majority of consumers forgotten about the details of their experience but should you survey somebody who in fact had a negative experience with your brand, you are simply re-opening a can of worms! 

Hence, try to be in the moment and ask for feedback right away! We recommend that you reach out at the latest within 7 days of a consumer’s interaction with your brand. The sooner, the better and there are platforms such as ours which can help you automate this process. 

Don’t forget the Follow Up

There is only one thing worse than not collecting feedback. Not acting upon feedback! 

survey design

Try to challenge yourself and continue the conversation via email, call or social media. Just like leaving your business card to stay in touch, you can leave a call-to-action at the end of your survey. 

Depending on the results of the survey, let your consumers know that to expect next. If they scored you poorly, let them know one of your team will reach out within 24hrs. 

If they had a great experience and praised you, now is a great time to remind them how important they are and ask them for a social referral or Google/Facebook Review.

Whatever you do, please don’t do nothing! 

Apply the Marketing Mix

We’re all familiar with the 4 P’s of Marketing Mix – Product, Price, Placement and Promotion. Let’s apply this to collecting surveys. The survey is now your product that you want to “sell” to as many respondents as possible. It’s free of cost but customers have to invest their time and effort into it! We already discussed that surveys should be short and relevant so customers don’t feel drained out. 

The next in line is the ‘placement’ which matters a lot in survey collection. Most often, surveys are collected via emails and in-app pop-ups in the later stages of the customer journey. Such kinds of surveys help you gauge customer satisfaction. 

In other words, put your survey where your customers are most likely to respond. Do they use email, SMS or your website most often?

Feedback can also be collected physically in a store. Consider placing an interactive touch-screen tablet or a kiosk at a place in your store to collect feedback from customers at the moment. This could be placed at the entrance/exit or just beside the counter. Attract attention to the kiosk by a cool graphic, video or a promotional offer that will surely get the customer to click on the screen. 

Survey Design: Best Practices, Guidelines & 3 Pro Tips! 3

Last but not the least, promotion! Promoting your survey results is a thing that many companies fail to pay attention to. Promotion can be done in many ways; here we’ll share a few proven techniques. 

  • Post your survey results on your website or social media accounts so more people can see you take surveys seriously and are listening to your customers. Remember, most consumers have been burnt by poorly done and misused surveys in the past. Show that you are different!
  • You can also create a web page dedicated to customer testimonials on your website. GroHawk has a testimonial widget which allows you to feed these responses directly in for your website visitors to read. 
  • You can ask your most loyal customers to share the survey on their social media accounts and spread the word among their friends, family and colleagues. This way you can reach your potential customers through your promoters. 
  • As discussed above, try offering an incentive so that more people participate in your survey program. Nike, for example, has a promotional program which provides a gift card on successful survey completion
Survey Design: Best Practices, Guidelines & 3 Pro Tips! 4

There you have it. Our top tips and best practices for successfully designing your first kick-ass survey. If you have any questions or want our team’s opinion on your draft survey, shoot us an email on info@grohawk.com.

Why is survey design important?

Good designing improves the overall appeal of the survey and reduces the chances of abandonment. Survey design is an art that only a few can master. Learn how you can create pro surveys here!

What is the main purpose of a survey?

Surveys help gather customer feedback, suggestions and thoughts. To deliver good CX, it’s essential to make informed decisions based on real customer insights. That’s why surveys are conducted frequently to keep delivering excellent customer experiences.

How to prepare a survey?

  • Define your goal (What do you want to know?)
  • Define the target audience (Who do you want to ask?)
  • Choose survey medium (Where to ask?)
  • Prepare questions (ask direct, relevant and short questions)
  • Create a layout of the survey form
  • Test the survey internally
  • Follow design guidelines given here
  • You’re set to go!

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