Wording Survey Questions: Are Multiple Choice Surveys Misleading?

One question we hear often from the MySurveyExpert community is,

Are multiple choice surveys misleading?

Here’s the bottom line:  They are, if you don’t know what you’re doing and you write them incorrectly.

And “loading” questions or writing “leading” questions can actually cost you money.

Why?  Because the simple fact is is that you need to know what people think; leading questions don’t tell you that.

And here’s the thing:  The more accurately you find that out what your customers think, the more money you’re going to make.

So knowing exactly

  • what people want,
  • what they’ll pay,
  • when they’re satisfied (and when they’re not)

can double, triple, or even quadruple your profits.

That’s why you’ve GOT to write good questions.  Leading questions are bad and costly.

But here’s the problem:  it’s not always obvious when a question is “leading”  or “loaded.”  Sometimes, they’re really tough to spot, particularly when you’re writing questions about your own products and services.

Here are some tips to avoid that leading questions, tips that will help you write GOOD survey questions that make you money:

  1. Use neutral language.  Avoid any terms (either positive OR negative), anything that might get an emotional response.
  2. Balance your response options.  If you’re asking people whether they agree or disagree with a statement, make it “Agree strongly, Agree, Disagree, Disagree Strongly,” not “Agree strongly, Agree, Disagree.”  You want both “sides” to have the same number of responses.
  3. Review, review, review.  Go through the survey yourself, several times, to look for “loaded” or “leading” questions.  Then put the survey away for a couple of days, then come back and look at it again.  Then, ask a couple of other folks to look it over for you and get their input.
  4. Once you’ve reviewed it, pretest it.  Get a small “subsample” of your customers (20 or so is usually enough), have them take the survey, then give them a few questions that ask THEM whether they thought anything was leading, whether they saw any problems with the survey, and so forth.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be finding out what kinds of products your customers want, when they’re satisfied and when they’re not, and much, much more.

And your bottom line will skyrocket.

To get a foolproof system for doing all this and more, view our Survey Questions.

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