Customer surveys play an invaluable role in the due diligence process, but consulting teams may find it difficult to discover meaningful insights if people taking the surveys don’t have the qualifications and experience to provide qualified responses.
That’s why screener questions are so important. These questions are designed to identify suitable respondents and make sure they only see relevant questions. As a result, the data collected will be more accurate and useful.
Screener questions sometimes act as bouncers, stopping unqualified people from taking surveys in the first place. At other times, these questions are ushers, directing respondents to appropriate parts of the survey and skipping those that don’t apply.
By acting as both gatekeepers and guides, survey questions:
- Provide targeted, trustworthy results: Responses from unwanted respondents will be minimized, if not eliminated entirely.
- Cut down analysis time: Consulting teams will not need to filter out discrepancies from the final survey data.
Screener Questions Start With Respondent Profiles
To design effective screener questions, consulting teams need to determine exactly who they want to take the survey. The requirements may be complex, as due diligence projects often require teams to capture information from people meeting strict criteria — more targeted than panel providers can deliver.
Many dimensions may need to be considered for respondent profiles, including:
- Demographics such as age, gender, race, and income
- Awareness and usage to determine how familiar the respondent is with the product or service being researched
- Firmographics such as employment level or title, industry, location, company size, and company revenue
- Psychographics such as interests, values, and opinions
Firmographics are particularly important for B2B surveys. They can help ascertain essential information, such as whether the respondent handles buying decisions.
Screener Question Best Practices
Keep these practices in mind as you design surveys.
Initial screener questions always go at the beginning of the survey, so people who don’t meet the basic criteria are weeded out immediately. More screener questions can be placed at the beginning of each group of questions to determine if those questions are appropriate for the respondent.
Think of screener questions as a funnel, narrowing as people progress through it. Start with the broadest questions and work your way to the most targeted ones. No panel is perfect, so do not make assumptions about your respondents.
Number of Questions
While screener questions are important, too many questions might frustrate respondents and lead to survey fatigue. Aim for 15 screener questions or less.
Multiple-choice screener questions usually provide better results than yes-or-no questions, as they require more thoughtful responses. Unless your multiple-choice list is all-inclusive, be sure to include a “none of the above” or “other (please specify)” option.
Concealing Companies and Clients
Multiple-choice questions are especially helpful when you need to disguise the name or type of the company you’re researching — a common situation in due diligence projects. For example, if you’re looking at a company that makes virtual reality games, asking “do you play virtual reality games” identifies the purpose of the survey. Instead, it might be more appropriate to ask what type of video games the respondent plays and make virtual reality games one of the options.
Strong screener questions are just one part of effective customer surveys. Download our Associate's Guide to Surveys to learn more.