A Survey Format for Discovering Expensive Problems

Philip Morgan

One of the ways to learn more about the expensive problem(s) your development shop solves is to survey people. You can survey past clients, current clients, and companies that aren’t even your client at all.Here are some suggestions on how to do that.Nothing kills a survey response rate like a long survey, so keep it short.Nothing gets skewed survey results like closed-end questions that present a false dichotomy or a biased set of answers, so ask open-ended questions.I like these questions for learning about expensive problems:

  1. How does your business make money?
  2. What about your business keeps you up at night?
  3. What 1 or 2 things would improve your business if you learned how to do them?
  4. If you could wave a magic wand, what 1 thing would you change now to make your business better?
  5. Is it OK if I ask you a few followup questions by email?

I love Typeform for creating simple surveys because it’s beautiful, free, and easy for survey takers to use.A 20 to 30% response rate to surveys is normal, even for people who like you and the work you’ve done for them, so don’t get discouraged if you are seeing numbers in that range.Reminding people is 100% acceptable if you do it politely.