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What Are Surveys? (Survey Types, Question types and Benefits)

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

30 May 2024

8 min read

“Surveys are so long; they take up a lot of our time.”

“Every time I make a purchase, I get spammed with countless surveys.”

“They are filled with endless questions, one after the other. I’ll complete it later!”

This is what many survey respondents lament about surveys. Many people feel this way- That survey is dull, drab, and an absolute waste of time! Filling them out feels like a chore at best. We keep putting it off for another day and finally forget about it. As people develop shorter attention spans, a survey seems to be the last thing that engages them.

A typical response rate for a survey is in the range of 5% – 30%. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Surveys can be engaging and conversational and can offer you a great experience. What matters is how we go about designing them, placing ourselves in the shoes of the survey taker.

Understanding what surveys are is the step in the right direction toward crafting more engaging surveys!

So, what are surveys? How do we go about creating surveys, and most importantly, what can we do to make the experience of taking surveys more interesting?

What Are Surveys?

A survey is a method of collecting data from a group of respondents. These surveys can have numerous purposes and can be carried out in many ways. Surveys are the foundation of research, and the data is collected in a standardized procedure to avoid bias.

Information is collected through a well-structured questionnaire and is an excellent source of insight for all sorts of fields ranging from media to social sciences. Survey data can be collected face-to-face, through telephone, offline surveys, and online surveys.

What are online surveys?

Online surveys are used for gathering valuable insights and feedback from your audience. Whether you want to assess customer satisfaction, improve your products, or make data-driven decisions, surveys are the way to go.

We embedded a sample customer satisfaction survey to help you understand how an online survey looks. It’s a quick and easy way to see how online surveys work and how they can benefit your business. Try it here!

Customer Satisfaction Survey

With online survey tools like SurveySparrow, make your surveys more conversational and boost your survey response rate. Transform dull questionnaires into interactive experiences that keep respondents interested and engaged. Are you interested and would love to explore more? Sign up below

Now, let’s come back to the topic.

The data gained from Online Surveys can be used to gain feedback on products and services, enhance existing features, implement new marketing strategies, etc. One of the main reasons for the online survey’s popularity is its broad reach and ease of use. Respondents can take these online surveys at their own pace and convenience.

Why Online surveys are important?

Online Surveys help you ease your work and save a lot of time. Let’s look at its importance.

Accurate and Easy to Analyze

The respondents often find an online survey easier to use than its counterparts. Traditional offline surveys require people to copy and enter all the collected data into a database. This leads to errors. In online surveys, the margin of error is significantly reduced. Collected data are analyzed in real time, and results can be inferred without any delay.

Wide Reach

These days, internet access is widespread. Online surveys thus have a wider reach, and participants can respond at any time and place. Convenience and ease of usage also play a huge role in the popularity of online surveys.


Online surveys have yet another advantage of branding. Organizations can stand out by using their theme colors and logos in the surveys. Online Surveys can be customized to fit in with the company’s branding, as this can help them connect better with their brand.

Ready to use templates

Leading online survey tools have ready-to-use survey templates that researchers can choose from – these surveys are industry-specific and can help send out surveys quicker. It can save time and money!

How to conduct a survey

Surveys look simple enough, but for them to be truly effective, a lot of thought and planning needs to go behind them. Take time to ponder through the survey questions and how effective they will be before designing a survey.

Define your objective

What is your goal? What are you trying to uncover through this survey? What is surveys and its purpose? Your objective would be your cornerstone throughout drafting the survey. Without one, you would be left only with data, and insights from such data would do you no good.

Define an objective before crafting the survey- Are you trying to find out what your customers feel about your products’ latest features, or Are you trying to gauge how employees feel at the workplace through an employee engagement survey? Choose your questions accordingly.

Select your target audience

The quality of your survey data would narrow down to the quality of your target audience. Only a relevant target audience can provide the quality data needed for your survey. It may include customers, employees, or certain people who are using your products. The next step is to determine your target audience’s sample size or size, i.e., the total number of respondents who would take your survey.

Choose the respondents with the proper demographic characteristics like age, gender, race, etc. These would vary along with the objective of the survey.

Types of Surveys

Surveys play an essential role in your workplace. They are not limited to customer feedback and research. Ever heard of Employee 360 feedback surveys?

There’s no better way to Gain a full picture of your employees’ strengths and feedback than from Employee 360 feedback surveys. Instead of relying on just one or two opinions, 360-degree feedback factors in responses from their immediate reporting manager, their team members, and various people who work with them in the workplace.

Rating them in multiple areas of development can help assess their skills in a balanced and well-rounded manner. It gives them insights into their performance in addition to how they are perceived within the organization.

Customer feedback surveys

What do customers think about your business and its services? Is it favorable? Knowing what your customers think of you is always beneficial, and their feedback can help you further improve your business offerings. Understanding what surveys’ role in establishing a great customer relationship is crucial for your business.

That’s where customer feedback surveys come in handy. There are numerous ways to understand if your customers are satisfied and rate their user experience. Here are some of the most common customer feedback surveys for the same:

1 Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): Usually used for products and services, CSAT Surveys measure customers’ satisfaction with what they have purchased. They would then be prompted to respond to a suitable option on the Likert scale.

The CSAT surveys could be sent out immediately after the interaction with your service so that the experience would be fresh in their minds to elicit honest feedback. A sudden negative score indicates an issue that might need immediate attention.

2 Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS Surveys, on the other hand, let customers rate how likely they are to recommend your product/service to their friends or colleagues. This is done on a scale of 1 to 10. Scores that range from 0 to 6 are detractors,7-8 are passives, 9-10 are promoters. If you have more promoters, then it means most of your customers are satisfied.

3 Customer Effort score (CES): The user experience with your products/services is of paramount importance. A critical aspect of user experience is how much effort it takes for a customer to use your products. It includes a 5-point scale that ranges from 1 to 5.

Customer Exit Surveys

These surveys measure how well your services/products were able to meet your consumers’ expectations. Typically sent at the time of cancellation, it will give you the insights you need to understand why your customers left. This Valuable feedback will let you enhance your productivity and reduce the attrition rate of your business.

Are you looking for the perfect online survey software? There are tons of online survey software out there, like Typeform,and Qualtrics, to name a few. Out of this, Typeform is quite a popular tool, but it also comes with drawbacks. One of the most notable is that users of the basic tool experience a difficult user interface.

On the other hand, SurveySparrow, a Typeform alternative, has a wide array of survey templates to choose from, offering an engaging survey experience. With its chat interface, SurveySparrow can boost survey completion rates to 40%

Chatbot for websites

Consumers are looking for easier ways to communicate with companies. Gone are the days of calling a customer support executive and waiting for them to understand your query. Chatbots are here to improve your customer service. They are nothing but programmed chat interfaces that can interact with a website visitor.

Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular year by year. Owing to the progress in Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, chatbots are responsive and much smarter than their prototypes.

They are like assistants and guide you through a website. They are available 24/7 and are programmed to answer website visitors’ queries. Feed them with a bunch of FAQ questions, and you are all set to go! Chatbots are adept at converting website visitors into potential customers who can be routed to your sales team by acting as virtual assistants, suggesting product recommendations, and scheduling appointments at lightning speed.

Based on your requirements, you could either go for a simple chatbot pre-programmed with primary keywords or advanced chatbots based on AI, ensuring a basic understanding of language and communication.

What are survey question types?

What are surveys, and what’s the most important feature, you ask? It’s questions, of course! Surveys are comprised of questions, and the right type of questions are essential for their success. There are many ways to ask questions in surveys, and some of the most used types are:

Entering a Text: 

Often quoted as the most reliable, text-based questions allow respondents to provide open-ended feedback. Including many of these types of questions in your survey can lead to fatigue, so it is advisable to limit their usage.

Multiple choice:

What are surveys without multiple-choice questions? Most common and most easy to use, they let users select one or more options from a list of answers. Single-answer multiple-choice questions are the most common ones. A radio button can be used to select one answer out of many. On the contrary, multiple answer multiple-choice questions let respondents check off all the choices that apply to them.

One of the drawbacks of multiple-choice is that it forces respondents to limit their answers to those options. What if your respondents feel that none of the answer options applies to them? If they choose just one option, it might cause bias in your results. One way to solve this problem would be to include the “other” option at the end of all your options or a comment field to enter their answer.

Rating Scale:

Rating Scale questions showcase a scale of answers ranging from 1 to 10, or 0 to 100. The respondent can select their order of preference and choose a number that most accurately sums up their response. For Example, 1 refers to not likely, and 10 refers to most likely.

Net Promoter Score(NPS) is an excellent example of these types of survey questions.

Matrix Table: 

Matrix types of questions are useful for collecting multiple information in one question. It’s a great way to condense your survey, but a word of caution- Extensive matrix tables can get complicated and are difficult to use on a mobile device.

Likert Scale:

Likert scale measures opinions on a variety of topics. The range of options starts from “Not at all likely” to “Extremely likely.” Likert scale questions work well for Employee feedback surveys that measure opinions on workplace satisfaction.

Other notable survey question types include slider, ranking, and dropdown questions.

The Benefits of Online Surveys

Many may ask what surveys are and their benefits. Surveys have a lot of benefits, such as being an excellent tool for gathering qualitative feedback. Moreover, it’s quick and easy to build. Some other advantages are:


Surveys are affordable. Online and Mobile Surveys have only a small cost per person when compared to administering an offline survey. Moreover, the number of respondents can range to thousands.

Substantial Insights

Surveys collect information from a sample, and the results gathered are often extrapolated to a larger population. It is used to gain insights into their characteristics by choosing an accurate sample.


Most surveys are anonymous, allowing the candidates to give candid answers without the fear of being judged. This gives way to more accurate data that reflects the respondents’ true opinions. Surveys pave the way for detailed and open feedback compared to other forms of research tools.

Online surveys are the most convenient and widely used of all the flexible modes in which a survey can be administered. For the past decade, online surveys have been the most popular form of survey for companies to collect data. This data is then utilized to formulate strategies for their business models, improve customer service, and create more effective marketing strategies.

Wrapping Up

Surveys come in a variety of formats, templates, and designs. Creating useful surveys requires a great deal of planning and foresight. Choosing the right platform and making the survey short and easy to understand are some of the ways by which you can create a good survey. A good survey is the best way to get accurate feedback, which will do wonders for your business. Now that you understand what surveys are and their purpose in collecting feedback, you can utilize them as a strategic tool in giving your business that much-needed competitive edge.


Kate Williams

Product Marketing Manager at SurveySparrow

Excels in empowering visionary companies through storytelling and strategic go-to-market planning. With extensive experience in product marketing and customer experience management, she is an accomplished author, podcast host, and mentor, sharing her expertise across diverse platforms and audiences.

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