20 Feb 2011

Focus Your Online Surveys

We need to know our customers in order to succeed. One way to get to know them is to let them answer a survey or questionnaire. But you need to plan this and not give in to the temptation and give the customer too many questions.

Keep it short
SurveyMonkey took 100,000 surveys which were 1-30 questions long, and analyzed the median amount of time that respondents took to complete the surveys. In an perfect world the average time it takes to answer a question should not vary based on the length of the survey. But the world is not perfect, as we all know. And the result shows that the longer the survey, the shorter the respondent used on each question.

Number of
Average seconds spent
pr question
  Total survey
    completion time
1 751 min 15 sec
2 402 min
3-10 302-5 min
11-15      255-7 min
16-25 217-9 min
26-30 199-10 min
Source: SurveyMonkey (February 2011)

In fact in a survey longer than 30 questions, the average amount of time spend on each question is only half of that compared to surveys with less than 30 questions. Knowing this you must tune your survey or questionnaire because you want as many as possible to completed the surveys and the respondents to stay focused all the way through.

This means you'll have to:
  1. Ask only relevant questions.
  2. Make the questions easy to understand.
  3. Test your survey.
If you do this you should get more completed surveys and, perhaps even more important, a better result.

Read How Much Time are Respondents Willing to Spend on Your Survey? by SurveyMonkey.


  1. Really trustworthy blog entry I have ever found.. Its also informative information.

  2. The first step of any online survey research project is to identify the problem you wish to solve. Do you want to introduce a new product but want to gauge market interest? Is your company losing customers to the competition? Are people downgrading their services? Every step you take from here on forward should be based on solving your problem.
    online sales

  3. Thanks for sharing this information. In a perfect world time for taking a question answer is based on survey.

  4. This is a very relevant article for anyone interested in measuring customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Especially the automation part I find quite interesting and relevant

    Customer Service Survey Questions