The Business Survey Question Guide

The Business Survey Question Guide

Well-designed business survey questions can reveal deep insights about your company, product, or service. Business surveys can help you focus your research so you can make smart growth decisions.

A good business survey can support unparalleled growth. Any business owner who wants to improve or grow their business can benefit from conducting regular business surveys. 

In order to gain actionable insights, however, you need to ask the right questions. This guide explains how to create the right business survey questions for your target market, the kinds that will elicit valuable responses. 

What is a Business Survey? 

When conducting any type of business survey, your goal is to gather information and insights that will help you understand and improve specific aspects of your business. The questions that you include will depend upon your motivations for conducting the survey. 

Business surveys are used in a variety of ways. They are frequently used to understand how well your company is meeting the needs of your target market.  You may use them to better understand your existing market or explore new ones. A business survey is also used to understand company operations and/or employee satisfaction in order to improve processes. 

By asking the right questions, you can gather specific insights that can help you grow your company. We’ll dive into the different types of surveys and provide you with sample business survey questions to help you create your own business survey. 

Customer Satisfaction Survey

One of the most common types of business surveys, customer satisfaction surveys seek to measure how satisfied your customers are with your product, services, or company as a whole. We will cover the four primary types of customer satisfaction surveys here.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

The Customer Satisfaction Score survey assesses customer satisfaction with your company, product, or service. The survey contains a small number of questions that directly relate to the customer's experience. The responses on a CSAT survey are done on a scale, typically, 1 - 5 or 1 -10.

Examples of CSAT questions include:

  1. How satisfied are you with your purchase of [product name]?
  2. How satisfied were you with our checkout process?
  3. How satisfied were you with your recent experience with our support team?

Net Promoter Score Survey (NPS)

The purpose of a net promoter score survey is to determine how likely it is that existing customers will recommend your company, product, or service to a friend. Much like the CSAT, this type of survey is also scale based, but there is only one scale (1-10). A positive NPS score is a good indication of how satisfied your customers are with your company. 

Sample questions include:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how likely would you be to recommend [product name] to a friend?
  2. On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague? 

Customer Effort Score Survey (CES)

Using the Customer Effort Score (CES), this metric-based survey measures how much effort is required for a customer to use your product or interact with your company (e.g. with a help desk or sales rep). These questions use a 5-point scale to determine the effort score.

Examples of CES questions are:

  1. Overall, how easy was it to solve your problem with [company name] today? 
  2. How easy was it to [state action here]? 

Visual Rating Surveys

This type of survey uses emojis (e.g. hearts, starts, emojis) to quickly gauge customer feedback during or after an experience with your company.

Some examples include:

  1. How would you rate your experience with our customer service team today? (Happy face / neutral face / sad face)
  2. How happy are you with your recent purchase of [product name]? (User is able to select any number of the 5 stars displayed)

Market Research Survey

Often included in market research, market research surveys are conducted in order to better understand the market for your product or service. You may conduct a market research survey in order to plan an effective marketing campaign, determine viability for a new product or feature, or identify new customer segments. 

The purpose of your survey will influence the type of questions you want to include. It is important to include demographic questions in your survey to help you better understand the market.

Example of market research questions include:

  1. Where do you live? 
  2. How old are you? 
  3. How long have you been using [product name]?
  4. Would you recommend [product name] to a friend?
  5. How much money do you usually spend on [product category]?
  6. What is your least favorite thing about [product name]?

Employee Satisfaction Survey

An employee satisfaction survey is an excellent source of information for improving both employee retention and business operations. If you deploy this survey to the entire company, it is important to include demographic information to help draw more accurate conclusions. 

Example questions include:

  1. On a scale of 1 - 10, how happy are you with your work-life balance?
  2. Do you feel that your role and responsibilities are well-defined?
  3. Have you thought about looking for a new job in the past 6 months? 
  4. What reasons would you have for looking for a new job?
  5. Do you feel that your workload is reasonable?
  6. On a scale of 1 - 10, how supportive is your manager when you have a problem?
  7. Do you feel comfortable discussing a problem or issue with your manager?
  8. What is the most challenging part of your job?
  9. Do you feel appreciated for the work you do?
  10. If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?

Brand Awareness Survey

You can conduct a brand awareness survey to measure the recognition and awareness of your brand amongst your target audience or consumers in general. Brand awareness surveys can help you plan effective marketing campaigns and identify new sectors for growth.

Questions to include in this type of survey are:

  1. Which of the following brands have you used?
  2. Which of the following brands have you heard about?
  3. Do you currently use [product category]?
  4. When is the last time you used [product category]?
  5. Have you heard of [company/product name] before?
  6. How likely are you to switch to [competitor brand] should they offer cheaper prices?
  7. Which brands would you use for [a need, an industry practice or service]?
  8. How was your experience with our [company/product]?
  9. Of the following brands, please select the one that you feel is the best.
  10. How likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend?

Product Satisfaction Survey

The product satisfaction survey focuses on how satisfied your customers are with your product. The questions should be designed to help you gauge overall satisfaction, see how your product measures up to its competition, and understand how you can improve your product.

Examples of product satisfaction survey question include:

  1. How long have you used [product name]?
  2. How long have you been using our product?
  3. How frequently do you use [product name}?
  4. How happy are you with [product name]?
  5. On a scale of 1-10, how well does [product name] meet your needs?
  6. What is your favorite thing about our product?
  7. What do you dislike about our product?
  8. How likely are you to recommend [product name] to a friend?
  9. Which of the following features do you use?
  10. What would you improve about our product?

Best Practices for Creating Business Survey Questions

We hope that these business survey questions will inspire you to create your own business survey to gain new insights about your target market, for various businesses needs. In order to leverage these questions to uncover valuable insights, we will leave you with some best practices for creating survey questions:

  • Before creating your questions, determine and write down the purpose of your survey. Each question should support the survey’s purpose. 
  • A short, focused survey will achieve a higher response rate. You may get better results by deploying several short surveys, rather than trying to get all the answers from one, long survey.
  • Ensure that each survey question is clear and well-written so respondents do not spend unnecessary time trying to understand the question.
  • Make sure your question responses are appropriate for the question type

Make an Impact with the Right Business Survey Questions

Business surveys are a cost-effective tool that businesses can utilize to improve the customer experience (CX), streamline internal processes, and increase profitability. The advent of professional online survey platforms has encouraged many businesses to conduct surveys on a routine basis to establish benchmarks and monitor improvement. 

While these tools make it easy to deploy surveys, they will not provide the answers you need unless you take the time to create thoughtful business survey questions. Each question must relate back to your survey’s purpose in order to focus your findings.

When you start by creating a business survey with the right kind of questions, you can expect your survey to reveal deep insights that will have a positive impact on your business. 

Frequently asked questions

What is a business survey?

A business survey describes a wide variety of survey types that are performed in order to help a business gain insights about their company, products, and/or services.

What are some examples of business surveys?

Examples of business surveys include customer satisfaction surveys, market research surveys, employee satisfaction surveys, brand awareness surveys, and product satisfaction surveys.

What is a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)?

A Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a type of business survey that measures customer satisfaction with a company, product, or service via numerical, scaled responses. The result of the survey is represented as a numerical value of 1-5 or 1-10. (i.e. “satisfaction score).

What is a brand awareness survey?

A brand awareness survey is a type of business survey that is used to measure a brand’s overall recognition within a target market.

What can be done to encourage a higher response rate for business surveys?

A short, focused business survey that contains well-written questions may achieve a higher response rate than a longer survey.

Demographic Survey Questions to Reel in Your Target Market

Demographic Survey Questions to Reel in Your Target Market

Demographic survey questions are the backbone of much of today’s survey research, as customer data has become increasingly important to businesses.

Although questions about age, marital status, education, or gender may seem simple on the surface, the data they provide is invaluable for segmenting your audience, targeting specific groups, and gaining profound survey insights.

But demographic survey questions are tricky; if you ask too many in your survey, you’ll annoy your participants. If you use a poor word choice, you risk making your audience suspicious or even offended. 

In this article, we gathered the most common and useful demographic questions, examples of how you can use them in your surveys, and tips on making the most out of each.

Demographic Question #1: Age

How AGE information can be used: 

  • Create and polish generational-based personas. Age is often the defining factor in how people interact with your products, make decisions, or view things. No wonder there are so many age-based customer personas such as “40 y.o. office worker” or “17 y.o. college student.”
  • Obtain age-unrelated insights. We often use age to segment different groups because we often perceive generations as different. But obtaining information about age also allows you to see when age doesn’t have any impact at all, making discoveries about how similar different age groups can think about the same things. 
  • Combine with other age-related available data. There’s a vast body of research online that focuses on behaviors and insights about different age groups. “Millennials more often…”, or “Generation X opposes…” You can combine this data with age-related insights from your surveys to obtain even more deep insights.

Tips on asking about the AGE: 

    • Use ranges. Age is sensitive information, so you’ll have a much higher response rate if you ask people to choose a range (e.g. 18-23) instead of providing a specific number. 
  • Use broad ranges or narrow ranges. If you survey the general audience, make sure you provide age ranges to cover all groups. (e.g. below 18, 18-23, 24-33, … above 65) If, however, you know that you’ll be surveying a group of young people and need more detailed age information, you can add more narrow ranges (17-18, 19-20, 21-23, other).

Example of AGE demographic question:

What is your age?
Below 18
18 – 24
25 – 34
35 – 44
45 – 54
Above 54

Demographic Question #2: Gender

How GENDER information can be used: 

  • Form gender-driven insights. Beware of jumping to conclusions when it comes to gender-specific insights. Often, survey data might surprise you. 
  • Expand to other audience groups. If you know that the target audience of your product is of a specific gender, you might target other gender groups to expand to other markets (e.g. popular men-driven gaming publication is looking for ways to expand its female audience)

Tips on asking about the GENDER: 

  • Don’t go all-in. Healthline currently lists 64 terms for gender identity, and if you ask participants to choose one out of 64, your survey will probably end sooner than you expect. List 5-6 most common options and cover the rest with “other.” 
  • Provide the way out. Gender is a sensitive topic, and some people might not want to share their details on it with you. Make sure to add the “Prefer not to answer” option to keep them in. 
  • Gender is not sex. Sex refers to biological distinction. Gender refers to the social or identity distinction. Don’t use “sex” and “gender” interchangeably in your questions. 

Example of a GENDER demographic question:

What is your gender?
Prefer not to answer
Other (please specify)

Demographic Question #3: Ethnicity

How Ethnicity information can be used: 

  • Diving into the cultural background of a specific group. Ethnicity may play a big role in people’s lives and affect their opinions by way of the traditions and customs they follow. As such, their views may occur through the lens of the culture that’s tied to their ethnicity.
  • Enrich location-based surveys. There might be locations where a certain ethnic group holds the majority. Collecting information about ethnicity helps you discover hidden correlations or their absence by comparing survey data with data from larger audience samples. 
  • Target message to a specific ethnic group. If you have a business and want to join a message that resonates with certain ethnic groups, ethnic-driven surveys might be a great way to obtain actionable insights.  

Tips on asking about the ETHNICITY:

  • Make sure people can check off multiple answers. In the age of 23andme, more and more people consider themselves belonging to several ethnic groups, so provide your respondents with the ability to select several answers or you risk turning them away. 
  • Remember that ethnicity and race are different. Although closely connected, race and ethnicity are different. “Race” defines the largest categorization of people, while ethnicity is a subgroup, tied to a nationality. For example, “White” is a race, whereas “Irish” is an ethnic group falling under that race. 
  • Eliminate the words “ethnicity” and “race” if possible. Race and ethnicity are sensitive topics and often serve as a basis for discrimination. Try using the word “category” and let people choose the answer from groups as the following example shows. 

Example of ETHNICITY demographic question:

What category describes you best?
White (e.g. Polish, German, English, Russian, etc.)
Hispanic Latino or Spanish origin (e.g. Mexican, Puerto Rican, Mexican American, Cuban, etc.)
Black or African American (e.g. African American, Haitian, Somalian, etc.)
Asian (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese)
American Indian (e.g. e.g Navajo, Mayan, Aztec, Nome Eskimo community, etc.)
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
Middle Eastern or North African (e.g. Syrian, Egyptian, Lebanese, etc.)
Some other race, ethnicity, or origin  

Demographic Question #4: Marital Status

How MARITAL STATUS information can be used: 

More often than not, the information about marital status may not appear to be necessary, as other demographic questions will provide much clearer insight into your target audience’s choices and behaviors. 

But there are cases where it can be an important differentiator, e.g. when you want to target very specific demographic groups, such as recently divorced people, etc.

Tips on asking about MARITAL STATUS:

    • Beware of misinterpretations. It’s easy to jump to conclusions based on people’s marital status, especially with so many stereotypes and anecdotes floating around. In this case, it’s better to trust your data and numbers than the gut.
    • Consider if you need this information. As with almost any demographic question, better ask yourself how you are going to use his data before adding the question. 
  • How to appeal to this demographic: To make the most use out of this demographic, consider the products, services and shopping behaviors of married respondents. These may be more willing to spend on vacations or activities designed for two. 

Example of MARITAL STATUS question:

What is your marital status?
Married or in a domestic partnership

Demographic Question #5: Income or Employment

How Income or Employment information can be used: 

    • Obtain the economic profile of your audience. Income and employment are both strong differentiators for almost every survey as financials play a great role in how people choose what they buy and what they do.
  • The differentiator in finance-specific surveys. If you are conducting a survey about finances, e.g. asking people about how they manage their personal spending habits, both income and employment will have a great impact on the results of your survey. 

Tips on asking about EMPLOYMENT and INCOME:

  • The money is in the follow-up. Research shows that if you ask participants to provide a specific income number with the “Don’t know” option, and then follow up with a question with income ranges (e.g. $10,000 – $20000), you’ll get more responses and than merely asking income range off the bat.
  • Estimate based on other data. Not all people like to share their income details, but you might obtain income-related data indirectly. For example, if you already asked about respondents’ location and employment, you might check average salaries for that area and come up with an approximation. 

Example of Employment survey question:

Full-time employment
Part-time employment
Underemployed (wage is below industry average)
Full time freelancing
Unemployed (looking for work)
Unemployed (not looking for work)
Unable to work

Example of Income survey question:

How much total combined money did your household earn in 2020?
Less than $20,000
$21,000 – $30,000
$31,000 to $40,000
$41,000 to $50,000
$51,000 to $60,000
Above $60,000

Making The Most Out of Demographic Questions

Demographic questions help directly identify your target audience along with obtaining unique insights about a specific group of people.

Just make sure you only use those demographic questions that you really need for your research. For example, if you know that your audience is predominantly students, there’s rarely a need to ask for age, education, and type of employment. 

With online survey platforms, demographic criteria can be specified before the survey starts. 

If you want to take your surveys to the next step and collect even more actionable data, why not target groups that you want to survey from the very beginning?

With Pollfish you can target the right survey audience in 160 countries with over 20 various criteria such as age, gender, marital status, income, education, and even mobile device manufacturer.

Try Pollfish now and finally get advanced market insights that you can rely on.

Frequently asked questions

What is a demographic survey question?

Demographic survey questions are used to better understand the identities of the survey respondents. This information can be used to segment the survey audience in order to see how responses change based on demographic criteria.

What information is gathered through demographic survey questions?

Demographic survey questions are used to gather specific, objective information about the respondent, such as age, education, marital status, gender, household income, and employment status.

How can information about age be used when interpreting survey results?

Demographic information about survey respondents’ ages is used to create personas, understand how age impacts actions and beliefs, and identify factors that are universal amongst the respondents and not linked to age.

Why should researchers use ranges as a response to age questions?

Since some people are sensitive about age, respondents may feel more comfortable about selecting an age range rather than stating their exact age.

How many demographic questions should be included in a survey?

To ensure an optimal response rate, it is best to ask only the demographic questions you need to support your survey. When asked too many questions, respondents may get annoyed or bored and decide not to complete the survey.