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  • Survey Best Practices



    A survey is of no value if the end user doesn’t complete it. Creating a valuable survey goes far beyond the questions that are being asked. It involves the entire presentation. Below are a some suggestions for increasing the number of survey responses as well as the quality of the responses.


    Unique Subject Line

    When configuring your survey email message, have the subject line differ enough from other Service Desk generated email. This will make the survey invitation stand out and hopefully avoid any email client rules that may delete Service Desk generated emails.


    Offer an incentive in the email message body. The value gained from the surveys far exceeds the cost of a small incentive. Perhaps something along the lines of Complete a Survey for a chance to win one of five $50 gift cards. This is just one extra little thing that can be done to increase the completion percentage.

    Limit the number of questions

    Once you have enticed the users to access the survey, you now want to ensure they complete the survey. You do this by keeping the survey simple and only having a handful of questions. A good rule of thumb is 4-6.

    Maintain question and answer consistency

    Maintain a consistency between the questions and the answer scale. This makes for an easy to complete survey that the user is likely to complete again in the future.

    Example Questions:

    • How satisfied are you with the support technician’s attempts to understand your issue?
    • How satisfied are you with the amount of time it took for a support technician to respond to your issue?

    Both questions are satisfaction questions which would utilize the same answer scale. This makes it easier for the user to interpret, navigate, and complete the survey.

    Example Answer Scale:

    • Strongly Dissatisfied | Dissatisfied | Satisfied | Strongly Satisfied | N/A

    No Middle Option

    Notice in the example answer scale above there is no neutral middle-ground option. This ensures that the user is committing to either a positive response or a negative response. Providing a Neutral or Neither Agree or Disagree option is like a magnet and many users will use this option which greatly handicaps the value surveys offer to IT.

    Leave a Way Out

    Do not force a user to answer a question they do not feel comfortable answering. Either do not make the questions required or add an N/A option to the answer scale for each question. For Survey reports, unanswered or N/A answered questions should be excluded and not influence the total count of asked questions.

    Provide Equal Opportunity

    It is important that everyone who opens a ticket be given an opportunity to provide feedback about the report they received. To ensure this happens, the survey frequency must be set to 1. Setting the frequency to a value higher than 1 provides a greater opportunity to those who open more tickets as they have a greater chance to receive a survey invitation.

    However, setting the frequency to 1 will result in the potential for users to get way too many survey invitations during the life of the survey. This can be very annoying and damaging to the effectiveness of the survey. So to avoid this, configure the survey to ‘Use Stricter Rules’. This ensures that a user only be able to complete a single survey within its lifestyle.

    Survey Trends

    Run a Survey for a quarter then retire it. Make an exact copy of the survey and activate the copy. Repeat this process every quarter. This ensures that the same questions are continuously being asked which allows for a quarter-by-quarter comparison between survey results. When ‘User Stricter Rules” is utilize, activating a new survey every quarter will give all users a new opportunity to provide feedback. A new quarterly survey using strict rules ensures that no user will submit more than 4 surveys a year and that every user who opens a ticket will have an opportunity to provide feedback at any time during the year.


    This article was originally a wiki article created by Gityerfix in 2008

    Edited by Gregg

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