Skip Logic: The Survey Bunny Hop

Have you ever watched a rabbit feeding? She has an over-riding goal—filling her belly—but she does it by nibbling here, then over to the left, then back to the right, seeking the tastiest morsels. Wouldn’t it be great if our surveys could be just as selective and responsive? Routing individual survey respondents to the parts that are best for them? Now, by using skip logic, they can be.

skip logic

High Survey Expectations

People are used to seeing online surveys and some receive invitations fairly often. But because they have been so exposed to online surveys, their expectations are pretty high. So if your surveys are very professional, you’ll have a higher chance of thoughtful, careful responses. Conversely, if the survey strikes them as careless, they won’t give the same level of attention and diligence. One of the things that creates that professional look is a survey that offers a customized feel to the user, the feeling that you’re talking to them, not just anybody — and that’s where skip logic comes in.

In the old days, survey designers really didn’t have a lot of options when it came to customizing the online survey experience to each participant. Everyone saw the same questions and the same answer options, but that’s not true anymore. At AYTM we can provide a customized path through the survey, tailoring the flow based on a particular participant’s answers. Like our bunny, they get to nibble here and munch there, a potential smorgasbord of questions for the survey respondent based on their previous responses. This customization not only makes a good impression on the respondent, but will help you gain more valuable insights as well. In our platform, the function that allows you to do this is symbolized by a bunny.

So let’s go through an a before and after example:

Before the Bunny

In the before scenario, we might have a question in a survey that says, “How would you describe your most recent customer support experience with our company?” and the answer options would range from, “Not at all satisfied” all the way up to “Very satisfied”, perhaps using a five-point scale. Following that question there might be a text box question that says, “Can you please describe why you are satisfied or not satisfied with your most recent experience?” Functional, yes, but not customized, and not very slick.

After the Bunny

Now here’s the after scenario. To the question “How would you describe your most recent customer support experience?”, the respondent who says “Not at all satisfied” gets routed (‘hopped’) to “We’d like to understand more about what was less than satisfactory with your experience. Please describe in your own words using the text box below.” Now you can be sensitive to the fact that this is an unhappy customer and you can choose your words accordingly.

Similarly, you could also have a specific question for the people who indicated they were very satisfied: “Thanks for the positive feedback. Would you mind sharing some words about your experience?” You’ve given them custom text that shows that the survey is intelligent, and that exudes a certain level of professionalism.

Secret Benefit

Skipping also has a secret benefit to you as the researcher. Instead collecting all that data in one place, it is organized as two separate “buckets.” Now you can quickly identify which feedback was negative and which was positive. So when doing your analysis of those rich, verbatim, open-ended responses, it’s easy for you to compare and contrast them.

See the bunny?

In the AYTM product, you’ll notice our little bunny image to the right of your survey questions. Just click the bunny to set up your skipping rule. You can chose whichever question you’d like respondents to skip to upon their given response. It really is simple.

Skip Logic Benefits

There are two main benefits of using skip logic: professionalism and efficiency. Using skip logic will help give your respondents a professional image of your company by providing questions tailored specifically to them, while also helping your team save time by not having to sort through responses that are not tailored by category.

As you can see, customizing the survey experience based on specific responses adds a level of intelligence to your surveys. Like the bunny, your clients end up feeling like they got just what they wanted from the experience, rather than being force-fed what you had available, while you get better, more usable data.

Photo Credit: bunny in garden from Flickr

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lev Mazin
Lev is the CEO and Co-founder of AYTM.com - Ask Your Target Market, the leading innovator in DIY online market research. Having a graphic design background, Lev is an expert in UI/UX with over 15 years of experience. Prior to AYTM, Lev worked with such clients as Oracle, Tiffany & Co, Maserati, Harry Winston, Whole Foods Market, and Jamba Juice helping them build their brands and multimedia/web applications.