Short Guide to Crafting Survey Questions

Quick tips to obtain relevant feedback from customers to track and measure improvements to your digital initiatives


Jimmy Soh

2 years ago | 2 min read

To improve customer experience, we must first have a way to accurately track and manage it.

If you’re managing a digital road map with several digital initiatives in your organisation, you may be looking for some ways to measure and improve those initiatives.

A customer satisfaction survey is a useful tool that

1) helps you to measure and track KPIs,

and 2) allows you to understand customers better.

When executed successfully, you’ll be able to obtain useful feedback to optimise your efforts by discovering and removing what doesn’t work; and focus your efforts on targeted/relevant initiatives that address what customers want.


Generally, these are the three broad and straightforward steps to improving your initiatives through surveys:

  1. Design effective surveys — Ensure that the format and types of questions asked are appropriately tailored to the audience and addresses the relevant objectives.
  2. Execute a good campaign — Ensure that you’ve got enough target audience to provide you with sufficient quality feedback.
  3. Analyse and report results — Ensure that you tell a good story to the relevant stakeholders to drive changes and improvements to your digital initiatives.

In this article, I’ll focus more on step #1 — designing useful surveys.

Design Effective Surveys

Here are three main lessons that I’ve learnt from the crafting of survey questions to measure performance and satisfaction:

  • Make it easy to answer — provide available options as much as possible for your audience to choose from; for open-ended questions, limit to one key issue (gets the audience to prioritise).
  • Ensure survey can be benchmarked — the responses from the survey should allow you to benchmark the results across a period of years to track performance.
  • Craft your survey questions to address key research questions — ensure that each survey questions are relevant to address a problem statement or research finding.

Examples for #1: make it easy to answer

Question: “What are the 3 most important features we’re missing?”


  • Design
  • On-premise integration
  • Multi-tenant support
  • Custom templates

Question: “If you could no longer use our system, what is the ONE thing you’d miss most?”

Open-ended response: The product mascot.

Examples for #2: ensure survey can be benchmarked

Question: “Which of the following words or phrases would you use to describe X platform?”

Options (choose only one):

  • Unusable
  • Difficult to use
  • Satisfactory
  • Great
  • Life-changing

Question: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your experience with X platform?”

Response: 8

You can also check out the various methods, e.g. CSAT/NPS/CES to measure customer satisfaction and incorporate them in your survey for benchmarking purposes.

Examples for #3: craft your survey questions to address key research questions

Some simple key research questions can be:

  • How do our customers feel about our existing suite of systems?
  • What kind of features or solutions are our customers looking for?

Survey questions to address the key research questions include:

  • Which of the following words or phrases would you use to describe X platform/system?
  • Suggest ONE new feature you would hope to see in X platform/system that could help you in your daily work.

Potential Pitfalls

Here are some of the main reasons that I’ve seen surveys fail:

  • Lack of responses — questions are too lengthy and involve too much thinking. The uptake rate is likely to be low if there aren’t incentives provided for doing the survey.
  • The survey is unable to be benchmarked — unable to track and measure improvements over time; missed out on opportunities for optimisation.
  • Irrelevant questions — leads to wasted time and effort for both parties.


Created by

Jimmy Soh

In perpetual beta—playing at the intersection between digital technology and business.







Related Articles