Although, these are great tools for gathering consumer feedback, it is important for every one to understand the difference between a questionnaire, survey form and poll so as to know when it is best to apply each of them. This article clearly outlines the differences between a Questionnaire vs Survey vs Poll using their features. Customer feedback is a very important aspect of every business as its analysis is what helps optimize customer experience. Many times that often, the importance of customer feedback has been said and reinforced by various popular names and organizations in the business world.
According to Scott Cutler, CEO of online resale market place, StockX: “The best marketing comes from creating a great customer experience.”
Questionnaires, survey forms and polls are the popular tools used to gather feedback from customers. Although the gathering of feedback is a similar purpose of questionnaires vs surveys vs polls, they are different terms that shouldn't be used interchangeably. The distinction among a questionnaire, survey and poll lies in their definitions, content gathered and appropriate time of usage. Addressed below are questionnaires, survey forms and poll and examples of what they look like.
Questionnaire vs Survey vs Poll
A survey is perhaps, the most popular tool used by brands for getting customer feedback. Surveys are made up of a list of questions with the sole purpose of gathering detailed, in-depth information whose analysis will help optimize customer experience. It is the best option to use when your purpose is to collect data from multiple sources and analysis it with the goal of improving your business or brand’s services.
Survey questions may be in the form of open or closed-ended questions with long and short responses. It could also be multiple choice fields or the use of scales to provide options e.g. "on the scale of 1-10 how helpful did you find our customer care representative?’. Surveys could also be used to test customer’s loyalty by asking questions such as “how likely are you to refer us to your family and friends?’ and then providing a rating from 1-5: 1 being not likely, 5 being very likely to recommend.
The data sought to be collected may be quantitative (numerical) e.g. “how many…” or qualitative (non-numerical) “what do you think about...”
A survey involves not only the questions but the process of collecting and analyzing the statistical data. The questions are set in a way to gather information which will be analyzed to understand feedback and not mere information about a person which doesn't really give in-depth feedback to be analyzed. Surveys are usually filled in minutes, some longer than others. This is a major distinction between survey vs poll. Also, it's results are not made available immediately but after analysis. Many times, its results aren’t made available at all but put to good use in implementing new ideas and policies to help improve the brand.
To get useful information to suit your purpose for the survey, it is important to ensure that the questions set are tailored towards getting information on the purpose of your survey. Also, such questions need to be clear and concise as broad questions may lead to misinterpretation by consumers and then gathering of unimportant information.
Questionnaires are generally used to get simple information about a person or opinions which do not require analysis. They refer to a set of questions used to gather information. They are usually narrow in scope with a purpose of gathering just one set of data e.g. a job application questionnaire or a medical questionnaire.
The major difference between a questionnaire and a survey is a questionnaire simply refers to a set of questions used to get information while a survey involves not only the questions but the process of collecting and analyzing the data. A Questionnaire may form part of a survey if its end goal is for data analysis. They could also be narrow in scope with a purpose of gathering just one set of data e.g. a job application questionnaire or a medical questionnaire. Simply put, a survey is always made up of a questionnaire but not all questionnaires are surveys.
Questionnaires could also be used to gather quantitative or qualitative data. Questionnaires can also be used by brands even when not forming a survey in some stances, for example, a questionnaire could ask questions aimed at knowing that customer better so as to know what better way to serve them or used in building an email list of customers to aid dispensing of information.
It is important to make sure that your questionnaire is not made up of too many questions as the many the questions the less engagement it gets. Questionnaires take little time to fill except when forming a part of survey.
Polls are the fastest way to get, gauge and compare opinions. A poll is usually made up of one question with a number of options to choose from. Polls are usually targeted at a certain audience to get their reactions and opinions hence the questions are personalized to suit these target audiences. Polls are the best form used on social media to get opinions from consumers on something related to your brand. It could be on existing goods and services or new ideas or to get information as to why people are visiting your brand. This helps you tailor your services to suit their needs more. One difference between a survey vs poll is that poll seeks to get customer opinion on one question unlike a survey that is made up of multiple questions.
Polls are relatively easy to make and require no form of complexity. However, it is important to make your question simple and straightforward and also not provide too many options. A clear, concise, short poll is likely to get engagement as consumers won’t think too much about sparing few seconds to answer. It is also important to not ask multiple questions in one poll as it defeats the whole purpose of a clear and concise question. You are seeking to make engagement with the poll so try to make fun, relatable and engaging questions.
Polls are usually filled in a matter of seconds as they most times involve just choosing one option as an answer to a question and its results are given almost immediately.
Feedback is necessary in certain dealings as it gives one knowledge on areas of adjustment and improvement. Bill Gates during one of his Ted Talk noted the importance of feedback in his famous quote:"We all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve."
The Questionnaire vs Survey vs poll debate can be clearly outlined under these headings:
1. Questions Contained
The types of questions asked by the brand depends on the purpose it seeks to achieve. When such purpose is asserted and the questions are tailored to suit it, it is then important to know which form is best suited for those questions.
Feedback surveys deal with in-depth detailed questions so as to get answers whose analysis will help understand customers view on the brands products and services as well as areas of adjustment and improvements. Polls consist of one question with multiple opinions from which a customer will pick one. Questionnaires are made up of straightforward questions often requiring little or no details except when forming a part of a Survey.
2. Content Gathered
For polls, the content gathered are opinions on a question to ascertain the highest choice or opinion. Such opinion isn’t in-depth or analyzed and polls never include the sharing of sensitive information by the consumer. The customer feedback needed is already narrowed down the poll question and customers need not comment outside the choice picked by them.
The contents gathered in a feedback survey are various information, opinions and experiences of customers which is thoroughly analyzed and used to shape the services rendered by the company in the future. Here, consumers can give detailed opinions or comments on questions asked or information sought for by the brand. Surveys may include asking personal information such as Costumer’s names, emails, age etc.
Questionnaires involve gathering basic information on a single matter such as emails, personal medical information etc. The questions are often close ended questions such as Yes/No questions. However, once forming a part of a survey, the content gathered changes to that of a survey; in-depth information and opinions for analysis.
3. Time Frame Needed
Polls are usually filled in a matter of seconds as they deal with choosing from many options on a single question. Feedback Surveys take a longer time to fill as they ask detailed thought provoking questions. Questionnaires may vary between a few seconds or minutes depending on whether they form part of a survey or not.
It is important to try and make your form (questionnaire vs survey vs poll) short and engaging. This is so that consumers will not feel like engaging with this forms will take too much of their time.
The results for polls show up in a matter of seconds. Consumers are able to see the result of polls almost immediately after making their choice. This is unlike Feedback Surveys whose results are properly assessed analyzed before results are shown. This may take days to weeks. More times that often, results are not shown but rather put into implementation of new ideas or adjustment in the rendering of services. If shown, results from surveys are shown in form of statistics and general opinions and not each result of each customer.
Questionnaires if forming part of a survey, functions like a survey in terms of results. If however are stand alone, the results are shown and put into use immediately as they need no analysis.
5. Right Time to Use
Polls are used when one needs opinion as regards a question, (e.g. if Consumers will like a new idea or service), when immediate feedback is needed. They are also the best option when asking a question for and engagement without needing any detailed responses. Brands through their social media platforms may use polls to begin a healthy and fun debate between consumers.
Feedback Surveys are used to get information on a set of questions ranging from experience, opinion, comments, and recommendations. They are used when one seeks detailed responses to analyze to get a clearer picture from the customer’s point of view. Surveys are best used when you need to ask lots of open ended questions and you are certain you will be acting on the comprehensive feedback gotten.
Questionnaires forming part of surveys are used for the same purpose of surveys. Rather than close ended questions, open ended questions will be used to give room for comprehensive feedback. However, Questionnaires may also be used alone to get information relating to one subject matter.
When a brand needs to get customer feedback and has to choose which form to use between Questionnaire vs Survey vs Poll, it needs to answer questions like:
- What is the purpose for the feedback?
- What information does it seek to find?
- How urgent is the feedback needed?
It is extremely important for brands to get periodic feedback from their customers. This helps them understand whether or not they are satisfying their audience needs and the areas they need to improve in. Questionnaires vs surveys vs polls are various forms which can be used to get customer feedback. It is very important to note that whichever tool among Questionnaires vs survey vs polls you choose to use, it must contain interesting engaging questions which is sure to grab the attention of consumers and encourage them to fill.
A great form builder which allows you create engaging online forms which is sure to ease your feedback process is forms.io . It doesn’t require much effort or knowledge in form creation, everything is seamless and easy to do. Visit forms.io and let your customer feedback process become easy.