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Feedback Management

Avoiding Dichotomous (Yes / No) Type of Questions in Your Feedback Surveys

Avoiding Dichotomous (Yes / No) Type of Questions in Your Feedback Surveys

How do you interact with customers through surveys? While surveys by themselves seem a good idea to know what a customer wants, it’s not everything. Customers can like the idea that you’re reaching out to them, but nobody wants to be riddled with unnecessary questions that take up their time. But then, they don’t want ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions that doesn’t take into account their views as well.

Creating a survey questionnaire can be tricky. Remember, it is this set of questions that will help you determine the positives as well as negatives of your business, helping you work towards achieving a common objective. While some of these questions may be open-ended, you'd have to include questions where respondents are required to choose from a set of options.

However, it has been observed that many business establishments make the mistake of incorporating dichotomous questions (the ones having Yes/No answers). Although they may seem easy to analyze, they defeat the purpose of conducting a survey in the first place.

The problem with Agree / Disagree Questions or Yes / No Questions

These types of questions are very easy to comprehend, but they suffer from critical problems at both users’ and the analytics’ end. These kinds of questions tend to force the consumer or respondent to make a choice between two options, regardless of whether or not they truly agree. It is very likely that the customer would choose the option that doesn’t describe his actual feelings about your product or service.

You eventually end up with incorrect analytic reports. There are several examples how this can occur. Let’s take an example of this question – would you purchase from us again? The answer to this question depends on the mentality of the customer. Also to this, it also depends on the customer’s expectations from your brand.

Your customers can be as different as chalk and cheese. One might think – “I have purchased this one, and it wasn’t a bad experience. I might give it another shot.” He ticks ‘yes’.

Another person registering the feedback might feel – “I have already purchased this one, and the experience wasn’t overwhelming. I would certainly not visit again.” He chooses ‘no’.

In this case, the same question has received two different answers because the customer wasn’t offered an option that rightly described his feelings. It is worth noting that the answer to this question varied depending on the customer’s expectations from the brand and not the quality of service. In other words, your question has been misinterpreted.

Is there any alternative to dichotomous questions?

Dichotomous questions are binding and don’t give customers the opportunity to share their opinions. In the above example, if respondents were provided progressively increasing options such as strongly agree, agree, not sure, disagree and strongly agree, you'd give more options, which would make the feedback precise.

As a matter of fact, analyzing surveys require users to give precise feedbacks. If your ‘feedback form’ questions fail to bring out the true feelings of the customer, then you aren't succeeding.

It is vital that you follow the survey above tips while designing a feedback form. Don’t be under the false impression that customers don’t care about your business. Your questions as well as the options that you’ve also furnished play a key role in the outcome of the survey.

Published on May 28, 2015. Updated on Mar 13, 2020.

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