5 Steps for Writing Perfect Survey Questions

Customer satisfaction surveys are an easy way to listen to the needs and experiences of your customers. But just because you have a survey tool doesn’t mean you’ve built a survey that will get you the results you need. Feedback from surveys can be a powerful business indicator, but such surveys are of little value if their response rates are low.   


Planning like a proCrafting a survey that will garner a high response takes thoughtful planning. Before you even write your first question identify your goals, target audience, and desired type of feedback for your survey. Keeping these items in the forefront of your mind will help you write questions that are relevant – and the more relevant the question, the more likely you are to collect responses.  


Here are our five best practices for creating survey questions.

1. Focus on the goal

It’s tempting to fill up your survey with as many questions as you can think of but long surveys lead to survey fatigue and higher rates of abandonment. If you set the survey objectives from the start, you’ll be able to confirm that each question you write relates to the goal of the survey. As you’re working through your survey, ask yourself whether each question is absolutely necessary or if it’s just providing “nice to know” information.

2. Use Simple, Precise Language

Complex questions can lead to confusion for participants which may cause them to leave unanswered questions or abandon the survey completely. When drafting your questions, remember to think about your audience and their background. If possible, you should avoid abbreviations, uncommon words, acronyms, slang, and compound sentences. The more clearly you state your question, the more precise the responses will be.

3. Write Straightforward Questions

The concept of writing simple questions seems well, simple. But staying consistent is harder than most people think. You should avoid questions that introduce bias, present hypothetical situations, or have double negatives. Furthermore, be aware of double barrelled or leading questions.

4. Short & Sweet Questions

For a simple answer, start with a simple question. If your questions are too long respondents will be less likely to answer. Make sure the answer options you offer make sense and fit all possible scenarios. If you’re having trouble finalizing the answer options, you’ve probably written a question that is too complex.

5. Response Options Need to be Inclusive

You’ve invested the time to write clear and concise questions now make sure the answer options you have provided make sense for all possible scenarios. For example, if a survey asks you “How do you get to work?” and then presents “A. Car”, “B. Bike”, and “C. Walk” but you take the bus – how would you answer the question? Providing “None” or “Other” as answer options would make this a more inclusive set of answers. Additionally, making it a multi-select question would allow for someone to select more than one method, say “Bus” and “Walk”. A good tip for testing your answer options is to ask a small group to read through the survey. This is one method of collecting feedback that you can incorporate into answer options you may have overlooked.


It might seem like a lot to remember when building your survey but take it step by step. When you’re using SoGoSurvey, the Design tab is your canvas to create powerful surveys from scratch, modify existing surveys, or build from templates in our Survey Bank. And if you’re looking for a little help you can put our design experts to work on your survey project.


Need help with your survey project? Sign up for a One-on-One session! Bring your questions and we’ll review the design of your survey, help you schedule invitations and create specific reports for your business needs.