How Many Questions Should You Ask on a Customer Survey?

How Many Questions Should You Ask on a Customer Survey?

Posted By : Affiliated

You already know that customer surveys are essential to customer experience, but there are so many variables that can determine whether the results of your surveys yield valuable data.

One of the variables that is easy to control and can have a big impact on responses is the number of questions you ask in your survey.

Fortunately for today’s companies, there are a number of online survey providers who have been able to collect ample data about ideal survey length and how the number of questions in a survey influences the responses you get.

What the Research Says

The more questions you add to a survey, the less time respondents will spend on each question. This is a fairly logical conclusion to reach, but what is not evident in that fact is how less time on each question can lead to less reliable results. According to SurveyMonkey, who were able to analyze more than 100,000 surveys, users who were sent a 1 question survey spent an average of 75 seconds answering that question while users sent a survey with 26 to 30 questions spent just 19 seconds on each question. The resulting data from the longer surveys becomes less reliable because by the questions at the end of the survey, respondents are rushing to get to the end rather than providing good answers, a behavior known as satisficing. Satisficing can have an impact on your results because the less time respondents spend on each individual question, the less consideration they are giving to their answers and the less useful your data becomes. The other issue is that you do not know how which survey responses are the results of satisficing and therefore unreliable.

How to Apply Data to Your Surveys

When putting together a customer survey, you’ll want to carefully consider the existing data. Every customer survey you send out will likely have a different goal. It is critical that you identify that goal well before you start writing survey questions so you can tailor your survey towards that goal and ask the right number of questions to achieve that goal.

Some survey goals you might consider are:

  • Finding out if hold times are impacting VoIP customer service
  • Ensuring VoIP customer service reps are effectively addressing problems
  • Learning whether new products are relevant to current customers

Further, you’ll want to consider the audience for the survey. Someone who has made a recent purchase will be much more likely to spend a little more time on the survey than, for example, someone who has not heard from your brand for months. While someone in the latter category may answer one or two questions, someone in the former is more likely to answer a longer survey.

The Bottom Line

As SurveyGizmo puts succinctly, “Ask only as many questions as you need to achieve your goal.” This message of brevity is the reason that so many NPS surveys ask just a single question and leave an optional answer box to explain your rating. If your questions do not take into account your survey goal as well as your audience, you risk users rushing through the survey and your data being less than useful.

If you want to learn more about how to get the best customer feedback possible, download our customer experience toolkit below.


Contact Us

OUR Locations


419 Century Plaza Dr. #200
Houston, TX 77073
(281) 442-9797


2105 Donley Drive #300
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 977-8787


730 Avenue F #210
Plano, TX 75074
(972) 852-4000