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Advantages & Disadvantages of Closed Ended Questions

Boost your response rate by strategically asking closed-ended questions with pre-determined multiple choice answers. Tally the quantitative data into scores and swiftly calculate various CX metrics.

Closed-ended questions are survey or feedback form questions that provide customers some predefined choices of answers to choose from, which may be in the form of options like Yes or No, ratings from 0 to 10, opinions from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, or a range of options depending upon the context of the question. Basically, the customer is not asked to write their opinion in their own words. Instead, they can choose one or multiple options from the provided choices.

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When designing a survey on a survey software or tool, you can choose different types of questions. You can choose to ask closed-ended questions or open-ended questions. Both have their own pros and cons. 

You can read our article to understand in detail when to use open-ended vs. closed-ended questions

In this article, we focus on closed-ended questions explaining their advantages and disadvantages in detail. 

Closed-Ended Survey Templates Examples

There are different types of closed-ended survey templates that one can choose to capture feedback from their users. It could be around market research, product feedback, employee experience, patient feedback, or any other type of survey. We have given a simple example of an NPS survey that can be asked as a closed-ended survey question to capture insights from users regarding their likelihood to recommend the product.

Use this Template

Advantages of Closed-Ended Questions

There are many advantages of using closed-ended survey questions, especially when you desire to receive a high response rate from your busy customers. Let’s review them here.

  1. Easier and quicker to answer
    Closed-ended questions can be answered easily without consuming much time as the customers just need to select one of the available answer options. They don’t need to think much and write the answers in their own words.
  2.  Help in obtaining measurable and quantitative data
    Closed-ended questions are perfect when you need to have quantitative statistics to measure different CX metrics like CSAT, Net Promoter Score, CES, etc. With a fixed number of answer options, you can easily ascertain the number of people selecting each option.
  3. Better understanding through answer options
    At times, some customers do not fully understand the question, but when they look at the available options of answers, they get clarity of what is being asked. This type of survey collection that offers options to choose from makes it easier for the users to assess the question and answer accordingly. 
  4. Customers are more likely to respond
    Due to paucity of time, people nowadays avoid filling out time-consuming feedback forms, but when they are provided with answer options to choose from, they usually fill out the forms, which helps in having a better response rate.
  5. Help to get rid of irrelevant answers
    When open-ended questions are asked, the chances of irrelevant answers increase, which makes it difficult for you to gather and analyze feedback data. On the other hand, closed-ended questions have predefined relevant answers to choose from.
  6. Comparable answers
    The answers to these feedback survey questions are easy to compare because only predefined answer options are available for the customers to choose from. You can easily compare the response of various demographic groups with each other.
  7. Easily customizable
    Closed-ended questions are easy to replicate and modify as per the requirement. They can be customized on the basis of the type of survey, type of organization, type of products and services it provides, and response required, etc.

Advantages of Closed Ended Survey Questions

Disadvantages of Closed-Ended Questions

While there are plenty of advantages, there are also some drawbacks to using close-ended questions. Let’s review them here.

  1. Unable to provide detailed information
    This has to be the biggest disadvantage of closed-ended questions. With the help of closed-ended questions, you can get to know the ratings of the CSAT survey or CES survey but not the details of it. You can even collect data from NPS surveys but not gain data regarding the reason behind the rating. Even if you give options regarding the reason for the rating, the customer cannot actually tell his full experience and why he rated low/high.
  2. Cannot help to receive customer opinions
    Closed-ended questions cannot provide you the information regarding what exactly the customer thinks and feels about your organization and the products/services. This hampers you from getting real customer insight.
  3. It is not possible to cover all possible answers
    Every customer is different and has his own unique view. Even after trying your best to cover all possible answers in the options, there are high chances that the answer desired by the customer is not available there. In such a situation, customers can get irritated and leave the survey midway or may choose a similar answer.
  4. More choices can create more confusion
    Sometimes, there are so many choices for the customers to answer that he gets confused about what to answer.
  5. Can suggest answers that the customer may not be thinking
    There may be a case where a customer would not even be thinking about a particular aspect or idea, but the options in the closed-ended questions make him think in a completely different way.
  6. Customers having no opinion will also answer
    It may be possible that a customer doesn’t have any opinion or knowledge about a particular aspect but just to complete the survey and give feedback, he chooses one of the available answer options. This can give you false information and irrelevant customer feedback data.
  7. Not possible to find out if the question is misinterpreted
    If a customer misinterprets a question and answers accordingly, it would not be possible to ascertain that he has misunderstood unlike in open-ended questions where you can have an idea about the misinterpretation of a question by reading the answer from the customer.

Disadvantages of Closed Ended Survey Questions

All you need to do is carefully draft your feedback form by selecting a number of closed-ended and open-ended questions or a combination of both.

With Zonka Feedback, you can fully customize your feedback form using an online survey builder and choose from over 30+ feedback question types.

Nikhil Dawer

Written by Nikhil Dawer

Oct 09, 2019

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