drill down questions

New Question Type: Drill Down Questions to Improve Respondent Experience and Data Quality

New Question Type: Drill Down Questions to Improve Respondent Experience and Data Quality

drill down questions

Drill down questions are useful for instances in which you want to ask your target market or target population a question that includes multiple options. This does not necessarily entail a large number of multiple choice answers, but rather multiple prompts that relate to one question topic.

This allows you to include various inquiries into one question, without needing to worry about the relevance of the questions. As such, you can dig deeply into one topic with one question, by adding multiple relevant follow-up questions.

This method is not simply useful to collect better data, but to improve the survey respondent experience. 49% of consumers have left a brand in the past year due to poor customer experience. You should therefore always strive to provide a good CX for your customers.

Given that you’ll be largely studying your customers, surveys grant you an opportunity to give your customers a good CX on yet another touchpoint.

This article explains drill down questions, their importance, examples and how they appear on the Pollfish online survey platform. 

Understanding the Drill Down Question

The drill down question is used to help respondents choose from a list of options, with each option existing as a kind of prompt. Usually, respondents answer the prompt by selecting from a drop-down menu.

That is to say that the drill-down is not a primary question with follow-up questions, but a set of dropdown selection menus hierarchically defined. 

As such, the drill-down question is a question type used to narrow down a respondent’s choice from a broad to a specific answer. Therefore, it involves multiple prompts, which exist as relevant follow-up questions, each presented with its drop-down menu

With each following question (or prompt), the topic under investigation, i.e., the one that is originally asked about, gets more and more narrow. In this way, the researcher gets to drill down on the topic, hence the name of this question type.

First, your respondents choose from a general drop-down list. Then, based on their answers, they are presented with specific follow-up prompts with lists as a means to “drill down” their answer. In this way, the respondent is providing data that starts at the general level and becomes more specific with each follow-up prompt or list. 

For example, you could first have respondents select a car brand, then they would select a car model and finally, they would choose the year of the car’s manufacture.

The Importance of the Drill Down Question

This kind of question is important for a variety of reasons. 

First off, the drill down question type should be used when you need your survey participants to respond to multiple interdependent questions. This is important as it not only organizes and sets up your questionnaire in a more logical (and relevant) way, but it also allows you to ask multiple relevant follow-up questions right under one question.

This will ward off boredom and frustration from repetition, as some respondents may grow tired of seeing what’s essentially the same topic being asked of them continually in the questionnaire. 

Instead, you can group that topic under one question, by setting up different follow-up drop-down lists (or prompts) in it. 

In addition, you’ll be able to evade different types of survey bias, namely the survey scope error. This bias arises when a survey does not include important items required to fully answer the topic of study. Failing to ask important questions on certain aspects or sub-topics will result in respondents giving incomplete or inaccurate answers.

This will tarnish your survey campaign and your overall research study. While the survey scope error may appear daunting to avoid, it can be done with drill down questions, as they allow you to include a variety of follow-up questions relevant to the main topic at hand and its various subtopics.

This makes it easy to include all essential survey questions while curbing the length of the survey. Regarding the latter, this is possible, as these follow-up prompts exist as drop-down lists, which are easy to select. 

What’s more, is that these questions are essentially another major way to include relevant follow-up questions. Thus, they can be used as an alternative to advanced skip logic. This survey method routes respondents to proper follow-up questions, based on their answers to a previous question.

Drill down questions grant you the same capability, the only difference being adding follow-up lists per a single major question. Skip logic instead redirects respondents to new questions, those that are not bound under one main question.

The drill down questions also make for a more engaging survey experience for your respondents, who, as aforementioned, are usually going to be your customers. 

Rather than setting up questions in a boring multiple-choice setup, drill down questions to create a more visual and simple way to answer a question.

They are also more inclusive in terms of answer options, as you can add a long list of answers per each drop-down menu in each follow-up prompt. Because of this, these questions help you build customer convenience while gathering critical data on consumer preferences.

All in all, this new question type will provide you with a strong means to collect relevant survey data and improve your survey respondent experience. 

Drill Down Questions on Pollfish

This question type brings a new interface to the Pollfish platform. That’s where drill down questions can play a pivotal role.

To reiterate, the drill down question type helps you gain more in-depth data from your respondents. An advanced question type, it is powered with built-in logic to allow you to retrieve answers quickly

Instead of presenting respondents with a long list of options, drill down questions include a functionality that lets you narrow down the options through a step-by-step way, or rather, by way of multiple prompts.

How to Use Drill Down Questions on the Pollfish Platform

To use this kind of question, you must first go to the questionnaire section of the dashboard. On the left-hand panel or by using the “Add new question” button, choose the Drill Down question option. 

Pollfish offers 2 ways to add the drill down values, either by uploading from an Excel/CSV file or by adding the values manually. Pollfish demands the values to be added in a row-like format delimited by columns (in the Excel) or by commas (in CSV or manual).

Importing via Excel or a CSV file

  1. In the Excel editor, add a column for each dropdown to add to the question. The 1st row must contain the dropdown labels, which you can later edit if needed on the questionnaire page. In the following example, the drill down question will contain 3 dropdowns, narrowing down from the country level to the city one.
    using drill down questions
  2. Then, include rows that represent each possible combination of the dropdown values. Some of the values can be repeated, eg. in the following screenshot. For example, since we need to add different states and cities of France, the country category “France” is repeated 4 times.
    drill down on Excel
  3. (Important) Consider checking the structure of the file before uploading, as any malformed rows (containing a fewer number of values than the number of labels) will result in an error.
    using drill down questions on Pollfish
  4. You can save the file as an Excel or CSV and then upload it to the Pollfish questionnaire. Click on the drill down question.
    drill down question
  5. Select to upload via the “Upload a file with pre-filled options of drill down” and proceed with uploading the file you previously created.
    drill down Pollfish
  6. Once uploaded you can both check the number of different unique values added per dropdown and preview the flow of the question.
    drill down question preview
    drill down preview on Pollfish
  7. Once the survey has gone running, the drill down question dropdown values cannot be edited, only the labels are editable. 

Manually adding values

You can also manually add all the possible combinations for the hierarchy of dropdown levels. In the screen opened you should enter the labels of the dropdowns and the values that they will contain.

how to use drill down questions

Using logic and recall with the drill down question 

Display logic based on a drill down question allows you to hide or display questions based on any level or combination of levels, for example, create a logic rule based on the exact car brand and model type to display a follow-up question, like in the example below.

You can also recall the drill down answer in a following question.

drill down questions

Drilldown results & exports

Once responses have been collected at the survey, the drill down question has the format of a single selection question, where the count and percentage of responses are displayed for each combination of levels provided. You can also switch between the tabular, bar chart view, or pie chart view for the answers.

drill down question results

Curious about how to build your ideal survey? You can learn how to make your own survey in just three easy steps on the Pollfish online survey platform. 

The Benefits of Drill Down Questions 

This new question type has various advantages along with their aforesaid importance. Take your survey to the next level by applying this question type to one or more questions. But first, let’s learn about its specific benefits.

The following lays out the advantages of using drill-down questions:

  1. Allows you to get very specific customer data under just one question
    1. This is because each follow-up prompt gets more specific, based on the answer to the previous one.
  2. Easy to answer 
    1. It aids the respondents in selecting their answer option without going through a long list of answers.
  3. Great for those with short attention spans
    1. This question avoids using long and highly detailed answers. 
  4. Garners highly refined responses 
    1. It allows you to add multiple follow-up prompts, allowing you to get to the nitty-gritty of any subtopic or aspect you’d like to explore.
    2. As the respondents get to select every option based on previously listed questions, the drilled down answers come out to be highly refined. 
  5. Creates an engaging survey experience
    1. This question provides more stimulation by getting respondents to answer in a kind of step-by-step way that’s slightly more visual.
  6. Uncovers more customer personas 
    1. Given that interrelated questions occur at every level, you can use this question type to uncover your customer personas in further detail. 
  7. Speeds up the survey process
    1. With built-in logic, this question type allows you to reap answers more quickly from respondents and avoid having to apply logic yourself.

Forming the Ideal Survey

Virtually no respondent wants to answer long and detailed questions. That’s where the drill down question comes in, allowing you to collect drilled down information without boring or tiring your respondents with long-winded questions. 

Instead, you can quicken the process of answering surveys by helping respondents find the relevant answers they’re looking for, without going through a single endless list. As such, form your ideal survey by opting for an online survey platform that offers this question type.

But there’s more when it comes to choosing the right online survey provider. You should go for a  platform that enables you to survey anyone.  As such, you’ll need a platform with a reach to millions of consumers, along with one that offers the Distribution Link feature

The former works by way of Random Device Engagement, which targets and gathers respondents where they voluntarily exist in different digital channels. It distributes surveys randomly, across a wide network of digital properties. This includes websites, mobile sites and mobile apps, making for a randomized survey deployment. 

The latter feature (Distribution Link) empowers you to send your survey to specific customers, instead of only deploying them across a vast network. Thus, you can target respondents you know to be your customers via email and social media or drop your link across digital channels of your choosing, such as landing pages, homepages, etc.

It is also important to use a mobile-first platform, as mobile dominates the digital space and no one wants to take surveys in a shoddy mobile environment.  

The online survey platform you opt for should also offer artificial intelligence and machine learning to remove low-quality data, offer a broad range of survey and question types and disqualify low-quality data

With an online survey platform with all of these capabilities, you’ll be able to form your ideal survey, one that garners key customer data while providing a good CX.