Before launching a new product or feature into the market, it is a good idea to find out what your target audience thinks about it. To do this, you need to reach out to a small, yet relevant subset of your audience and ask for feedback. This is what is called a pilot survey.
A pilot survey is one of the most effective methods of getting real-time feedback on your product from your target market. Asides from powering data-driven decision-making, they also help you save time, cost and ultimately create a product that everyone loves.
A pilot survey is a mini-survey where the researcher sends out a questionnaire to a smaller sample size compared to the actual target audience. By collecting information from a convenience sample, you can predict the response patterns of participants and make any required changes to your research.
The main objective of a pilot survey is to test the research tools including the questions, survey structure, and distribution channels. If done in the right way, it helps you to discover challenges that can affect the main data collection process.
As an organization conducting market research or trying to gather feedback on a product or service, you can send out your pilot survey to some of the stakeholders in your company including employees. A pilot survey isn’t just about collecting relevant information from respondents; it is also about testing your survey functionalities at different touchpoints.
In addition to the actual survey questions, you can include some of these questions in your pilot survey to help you get specific and relevant feedback from respondents.
1. How difficult were the survey questions?
This question helps you to know if the survey questions were easily understood by respondents or if they need to be simplified.
2. Did you have any challenges navigating the application?
While the answer to this question may be peculiar to a respondent, it also helps you to understand how to make the user experience on your product better.
3. Do you think that all the questions listed are relevant to the research topic?
Here, you will get to know if you need to refocus some of the questions or take them out altogether.
4. How long did it take you to complete the survey?
This question gives you a fair idea of your survey response time; from different perspectives. You can aggregate the data you get and interpret the information to help you know if you need to shorten your survey or include more questions.
5. The survey was well-designed.
The structure and presentation of your survey affect the quality of responses that you get. By listing this question in your pilot survey, you can find out if you need to change the survey layout.
6. Were any of the questions unfamiliar to you?
If a particular subgroup in your convenience sample is not familiar with your questions, they cannot provide relevant information and this can affect the validity of your research data. You must ensure that the questions cover the vast majority of your research target audience.
7. Did you feel excluded from the survey at any point?
This question is extremely important for researchers who intend to gather data from a diverse sample size. From the feedback provided by pilot phase respondents, it is easier for you to identify any incidences of exclusion in the survey questions and design.
8. Did you complete the survey?
Use this question to track the possible dropout numbers that can show up when you launch the actual survey.
9. If you didn’t complete the survey, tell us why.
This question helps you to find out why respondents did not complete your survey. You can also structure it as an open-ended question which allows you to get more context around responses.
10. How would you rate the survey design?
A good survey design and layout boosts the number of survey responses and also reduces your survey drop-out rates. This question would help you know if you need to improve the survey layout.
11. Please state any recommendations or suggestions that can help us make this survey better.
This question is very important because it helps you to sample ideas from prospective respondents. You can act on these ideas to improve the actual research exercise.
12. Did you find any of the questions offensive or degrading?
In the course of collecting responses in the pilot survey, you need to know if any of your questions come across as offensive or degrading to any of the subsets in your target audience. Offensive questions can negatively affect your survey in the long run and prevent you from achieving your goals.
13. Are there any grammatical errors in the product copy?
A pilot survey is also an opportunity to review your product copy. Respondents can point out typos, spelling errors, and also grammatical errors that need to be fixed.
14. How did you access this survey?
If you intend to use multiple survey distribution channels to administer your survey, then this question is a must-ask as it helps you to identify the most effective survey sharing channel for your research.
15. How easy or difficult was it to access this survey?
This ties to what we have said in the previous point. Ask respondents to identify the most effective survey distribution channels for the different groups in your target audience. This will help you to design an effective survey distribution method.
16. What is your preferred survey sharing option?
This is an easy way to discover the survey distribution preferences of your target audience; especially when you are dealing with large and vast sample sizes. For instance, you may discover that the older population prefers paper surveys, unlike the younger people.
17. Are there clear instructions for completing the survey?
To gather the most relevant data and prevent invalid responses, you need to clearly spell out what is required from respondents and how the entire process will happen. This question allows you to know if the instructions you have put together are clear, simple, and easy to understand or if you need to work on them.
18. The survey questions are vague.
19. Did you enjoy completing this survey?
20. How likely are you to share this survey with your network?
21. Is your privacy respected and protected?
22. Will you like to know what the research is all about?
Your survey should include a clear description of its purpose, aims, and objectives.
23. Will you like to know how your data is used?
You should provide a clear detail of how the data from the research will be organized and processed.
24. What features would you like to see in the product?
Respondents may have some feature requests for the product and this question will help you know how to make the product better.
25. Are the answer options exhausting?
This question will help you know if you have too many options listed in your survey.
Use this survey to collect feedback from beta testers of your product to help you improve on product functionalities and overall user experience. This survey will help you to identify any challenges that users experience and to gather actionable insights for data-powered decisions.
Use this concept testing survey to get feedback on new product concepts and features before launching them into the market. This form makes it easy for you to test the market’s reception of your product or service, and make the needed improvements.
Our mobile app feedback survey is an easy way to collect feedback from users on the overall functionality of your mobile application. You can ask questions about different product features including the user experience and app aesthetics. It helps you to improve the mobile application for users.
Do you want to know what your target audience would like to hear on your podcast? Then use our podcast survey template to find out what listeners think about your podcast plus the topics they want you to discuss. The responses you get will help you improve your podcast content.
Our product survey is an easy way to test your new product feature and know what the market thinks about it before going live. This form allows you to collect real-time feedback and suggestions from your target audience to help you cater better to the specific needs of the market.
In this article, we’ve shared some of the best things about pilot surveys plus a handful of the best questions you can add to yours. If you want to eliminate multiple trial and error phases in your business, you should add pilot surveys to your product launch sequence.
Formplus has multiple ready-to-use templates for pilot surveys—all you need to do is sign up for an account to get started with them. You can also build your pilot survey from scratch using our drag-and-drop form builder which gives you access to different form fields and cool features.
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