7 Types of Survey Questions & Survey Question Examples for 2021

types of survey questions

Does creating a customer survey sound like a piece of cake?

It depends. Creating any survey can be easy, but writing a robust customer survey that needs to inform your business decisions on developing customer experience at your business is already at a higher level.

While we support you with well-designed survey templates that make the experience intuitive, engaging, and fun, and by the way – they suggest types of survey questions – you are still the one to decide what content goes in.

Which survey questions should you select? What order do they need to come in? For a thoughtful customer survey, every question matters as getting good quality results relies on it.

Need some help writing survey questions? We’ve got your back. Read on and discover 7 types of survey questions along with survey question examples that will let you write kick-ass surveys every time and build memorable customer experiences.

7 Types of survey questions

Here are the types of survey questions you should be using to get more survey responses

  1. Closed-ended survey questions
  2. Open-ended survey questions
  3. Single-select survey questions
  4. Multiple-choice survey questions
  5. Matrix survey questions
  6. Rating survey questions
  7. Ranking survey questions

However, before diving into a list of survey questions (though you can move right in it if you want), let’s cover some survey basics.

What is a Good Survey Question? 🤔

A good survey question helps you gain definite survey insights and reliable information about your customers.

If you want to gather solid customer insights that will inform your business decisions, make your survey questions

  • relevant to the user’s stage in the customer journey
  • precise to deliver the explicit answer
  • simple and short
  • general and easy at the beginning (to encourage replies and seem effortless) and more specific by the end (once respondents are already committed to finishing it)>
  • well-researched — you don’t want to end up not having all your answers after all.:)

Regardless of the business problem you are trying to solve with a customer survey, you always want to gather information to identify The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Types of Survey Questions (How and When to Use Them)

There’s a variety of different types of survey questions you can choose from, here’re the most commonly used ones.

Whenever you think of conducting surveys, we think of two things:

  • type of survey questions to ask
  • the data we want to collect from selected survey questions

The key aspect of sending surveys is to formulate relevant questions that will help us extract clean data. There are many types of survey questions that you can ask to extract certain answers from the person undertaking the survey.

1. Closed-ended Survey Questions and Examples

Sometimes you need your audience or a focus group to give you a direct answer. A or B, black or white, no or yes. A one-word answer vote is the most accurate for your dilemmas. And this is where closed-ended survey questions come in handy.

Closed-ended survey questions can be answered with a simple yes or no or include a list of predefined answers that respondents choose from.

Take a look at the survey question example below ⤵️

How did you hear about our company?

  • From a friend
  • From social media
  • From a blog post

Free-to-Use How Did You Hear About Us Survey Template

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses are included every month!

Closed-ended survey questions are answered by selecting from a limited number of alternatives, usually multiple-choice, ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ or a rating scale (e.g., from strongly agree to disagree strongly).

This type of survey questions covers

  • Nominal survey questions
  • Likert scale survey questions
  • Rating scale survey questions
  • ‘Yes’ or ‘no’ survey questions

When to Use Closed-ended Questions

We can use the closed-ended questions as a survey opener because they are effortless and easy to answer. They require little time, and it’s usually the gut feeling that drives the answer.

Heard of the foot-in-the-door principle?

So closed-ended questions follow this psychological technique.

It works in the following way. Once somebody invests time in responding to the first questions, he or she becomes more committed and likely to answer the open-ended questions that come next in your survey. So closed-ended questions can do the trick to engage your respondents with easy options first.

💡 Conclusions? It’s always best to combine closed-ended and open-ended survey questions for the best results.

Closed-ended Survey Questions Best Practices

  • After running qualitative research, give you a better idea of what close-ended questions to ask.
  • In quantitative usability studies (tracking products usability by collecting metrics, like time on task)
  • When you have a big sample size (over 1,000 respondents), to make data easier to analyze

2. Open-ended Survey Questions and Examples

Open-ended questions give respondents the freedom to express their opinion or sentiment about your product or process. Open survey questions make great conversation openers and a powerful way to activate users and then transform insights into a long-lasting brand-to-customer conversation.

First, take a look at the survey question example below to see what is it about ⤵️

types of survey questions

What Are Open-ended Survey Questions?

They make a special type of survey questions where you want to discover the customer’s tone of voice, sentiment, and wording to describe the problem. Open-ended question‘s nature is different from the closed ones that are limited to a set of pre-selected options (such as multiple-choice answers, yes/no answers, 0-10 ratings, etc.).

When to Ask Open-ended Questions in a Survey?

Open-ended questions can expose customer needs you didn’t know existed, and they can uncover problems you may not have considered before.

They are especially helpful when you are just beginning your journey with surveys and don’t have too many insights yet. Open-ended questions will lay the foundations and deliver information you can build on later.

What Are the Disadvantages of Open-ended Questions?

Open-ended questions are demanding compared to single-select or multiple-select types of survey questions, so people are usually less likely to respond to these questions.

Besides, they can be exhausting to your respondents. A survey participant may develop a high-quality answer to one or two open-ended survey questions, but later (unless she/he cares) will get worn and reply to other survey questions in a less helpful manner.

Finally, the data you collect from open-ended survey questions takes longer to process than closed-ended questions because it takes a human being to understand results and categorize them manually.

Open-ended Survey Questions Examples

  • What new features would you like us to develop?
  • If you could change something about our product, what would it be and why?

Open-ended Survey Questions Best Practices

  • To get a broad overview of a topic
  • Before planning quantitative research
  • To gain additional insights into the researched topic
  • To assess your respondents’ feelings and attitudes
  • For persona or use-case research

3. Single-choice Survey Questions and Examples

This type of survey question allows respondents to select one answer only.

Take a look at the survey question example below ⤵️

How frequently would you like to receive the newsletter?

  • Once a week
  • One a month
  • Twice a month

Free-to-Use Newsletter Feedback Survey Template

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses included every month!

Single choice questions are best used:

  • To determine a user’s primary preference
  • To resolve a simple issue
  • When you plan to run a mobile survey and want to make it easy for your respondents to answer

4. Multiple-choice Survey Questions and Examples

Are you planning to send out a test survey?

If yes, then multiple-choice survey questions come in handy! Use them to hide the correct answer between other options in your survey to level up the difficulty!

What Are Multiple Choice Survey Questions?

Multiple-choice survey questions are fundamental for survey writing. They provide respondents with several answer options and people usually need to choose more than one answer from the given alternatives. Multiple-choice survey questions are versatile and intuitive. They let you generate clean data that’s easy for you to analyze.

Since multiple-choice survey questions offer the fixed answers, they make it easy for people to complete the survey. Yet, the data you gather from multi-choice survey questions to the options you provide. So, make them comprehensive to avoid a response bias in your survey results.

Multi-choice survey questions seem straightforward. Yet, understanding their different types and use cases will show you their more nuanced nature.

Take a look at the survey question example below ⤵️

What type of content you’re most keen on?

  • Blog articles
  • Infographics
  • Video
  • Audio

Free-to-Use Content Preferences Survey Template

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses included every month!

Multiple choice questions are best used:

  • To collect demographic information
  • To check personal preferences
  • When you intentionally want to offer your respondents more than one option to choose from

5. Net Promoter Score Survey Questions and Examples

This type of survey question measures customer loyalty. Answers to the NPS questions are scored on a 0-10 scale, and NPS ranges from -100 to +100. Based on the given scores, customers are divided into three groups: promoters, passives, and detractors.  NPS = % Promoters – % Detractors.

Take a look at the survey question example below ⤵️

How likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or colleague?

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses included every month!

NPS is best used:

  • To quickly check how satisfied a customer was with the service you provided
  • To spot any broken processes
  • To identify customers who could become your brand evangelists
  • To identify customers who are unhappy with your product/service and address their issues before they decide to leave

Read the full guide of one of the most important customer satisfaction metrics NPS.

6. Matrix Survey Questions and Examples

This type of survey question has one or more rows of items that respondents evaluate on a scale from very satisfied to very unsatisfied.

Take a look at the survey question example below ⤵️

Please rate how satisfied are you with each of the following:

  • Support team
  • Delivery service
  • Quality of products

types of survey questions

Matrix questions are best used:

  • To cover various characteristics or subtopics of a particular topic
  • When you have a few interconnected questions with similar answer options
  • To reduce the length of your survey

7. Rating Survey Questions and Examples

This type of survey question assesses how respondents feel about individual items; they measure a positive or negative response to a statement or question.

Take a look at the survey question example below ⤵️

How would you rate our product?

types of survey questions

Rating questions are best used:

  • To get insights on what customers value
  • For user experience research
  • To instantly get a user/customer input

8. Ranking Survey Questions and Examples

Ask respondents to compare different items and to rank them in order of importance/value.

Take a look at the survey question example below ⤵️

Please order items from most to least important in terms of online food delivery:

types of survey questions

Ranking questions are best used:

  • To rank multiple items
  • To find out what features/aspects of your product/service customers like best
  • To drive product development that aligns with customer priorities

How to effectively combine different types of survey questions?

Now that you know what type of survey questions you have at your disposal, it’s time to learn how to effectively combine them.

Start by identifying the goals you want to achieve with your survey, like:

  • Figuring out the main churn reasons or,
  • Evaluating a newly introduced product feature

In the churn scenario, keep in mind that your customer might lack the motivation to answer your survey, as they’ve already decided to part ways with you.

You could start with a multiple-choice question – in case there is more than one reason your customer is leaving you.

Some might even be willing to provide you with more information on their churn reasons, so it’s worth including an open-ended question like: ” could you please tell us more about why you’re leaving? “

Getting more insights will help you better address these issues, and hopefully, reduce your churn rate in the future.

Evaluating a newly introduced feature could be as simple as including an NPS or a rating question. If your customer is satisfied with the feature – great.

If not, you could ask an additional question with a matrix question to investigate the issue further without requiring too much time from your respondent.

Generally, whenever you can, try using closed-ended questions. If you require additional information, use multiple choice questions or matrix questions.

Apply open-ended questions selectively, and preferably not as your opening question, as it might discourage your respondents from completing your survey.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve learned a bit about what types of survey questions you can use, and how to combine them to make the most of your surveys.

If you’re searching for a survey platform, be sure to check out Survicate – it offers a wide survey selection (including mobile surveys, web surveys, email surveys) with all questions discussed above included! There’s a free version, so you have nothing to lose!

Kasia Kowalska

Senior Content Specialist @Survicate. Passionate traveler and a massive fan of American stand-up comedy!

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