9 Types of Questions to Ask Your Audience \[and How to Ask]

9 Types of Questions to Ask Your Audience \[and How to Ask]

Simon Zynda
Simon Zynda9 minFebruary 26, 2023

How you ask your audience questions can be just as important as the questions themselves. Asking the right type of question can help you better understand their wants, needs and interests. Today, we’ll show you what questions you can use to get better product feedback, more engagement and a better understanding of your audience.

Why should you ask your clients (a lot of) questions

Asking your clients a lot of questions can be incredibly beneficial for your business. Via getting feedback directly from those who are using your products or services, you can gain valuable insights into what appeals to them and what areas may need improvement.

When customers actively participate in surveys, polls or even landline phone interviews, they become emotionally invested in the process, which further encourages loyalty and long-term customer relationships. When conducting surveys or polls it’s always a good idea to give your survey takers a free download as a reward for their time. Asking your clients a lot of questions also helps you to better understand their needs and preferences, as well as identify any missing products or services that may be useful. In short, asking your clients questions gives you an edge over the competition and allows you to provide the best possible service to them.

Types of questions to consider when engaging with your audience

#1 Open-ended Questions

These types of questions are designed to elicit a longer response, encouraging deeper thought and insight into your audience’s feelings regarding the product or idea you’re presenting. These are great ice breaker questions that prompts open dialogue and provide a chance for your audience to share thoughts.

Example: “What do you think is the most important improvement we could make?”

When to ask it?

When you want to engage in conversation and gain input on how to improve your product or customer experience.

#2 Closed-ended Questions

These type of questions are more direct, with a limited set of answers that can be chosen by the respondent.

Closed-ended questions provide data quickly and easily, as they can be answered with a yes/no, multiple choice or other predetermined responses.

Example: “Do you like the new color scheme?”

When to ask it?

When you want to gain quick insights into customer preferences and opinions. 

#3 Dichotomous Questions

This type of question presents respondents with a binary choice, often in the form of an either/or option.

Dichotomous questions are useful for getting a snapshot of your audience’s opinion on a particular topic or issue.

Example: “Would you prefer to shop online or in store?”

When to ask it?

When you want to understand your audience’s preferences on a particular topic or issue.

#4 Likert Scale Questions

These types of questions use a scale from one extreme to another, allowing your audience to identify their opinion by ranking it somewhere between the two opposites.

By presenting respondents with a range of options, you get a more detailed overview of opinion and sentiment.

Example: “On a scale of 1-10, how likely would you be to recommend our product to a friend?”

When to ask it?

When you want to measure customer sentiment on a particular topic or issue.

#5 Ranking Questions

Ranking questions allow respondents to rate the importance of items on a list.

These type of questions are ideal for determining which features are most valued, providing valuable client feedback that can be used to make improvements and prioritize development.

Example: “Rank these features in order of importance”

When to ask it?

When you want to understand which features are most valued by your customers.

#6 Focused Questions

This type of question is designed to elicit a specific response. It’s important to ensure these questions are well thought out, as the way you phrase them can greatly influence the answers your audience provides.

Example: “What do you think would be the best way to improve our customer service?”

When to ask it?

When you want to gain specific feedback or insights from your audience.

#7 Follow-up Questions

Follow-up questions are a great way to further explore an answer given by the respondent, providing additional context and understanding around the issue being discussed.

Example: “Can you tell me more about why you feel that way?”

When to ask it?

When you want to delve deeper into a particular response or opinion.

#8 Clarification Questions

These types of questions are designed to gain clarity around a statement made by the respondent, helping further understand what they mean and how best to respond.

Example: “Can you explain what you mean by that?”

When to ask it?

When you want to understand more about a particular response or opinion.

#9 Hypothetical Questions

Hypothetical questions are used to explore and gain understanding of how your audience might respond in certain scenarios, providing valuable insight into how they think and behave.

Example: “If we were to launch a new product, what features would you look for?”

When to ask it?

When you want to gain insights into how your audience might respond in hypothetical scenarios.

Missteps to Avoid When Asking Questions

Don’t ask leading questions, such as those that suggest a specific answer.

Form inquiries that are unbiased and open-ended. Leading questions can influence the response of the customer, giving you results that may be inaccurate or misleading. It is best to frame your questions in such a way that does not suggest a pre-decided answer. Ensure that the questions you ask are straightforward and easy to understand so as not to confuse your audience. Ask concise questions with short answer options to gain meaningful insights from their responses.

Avoid asking negatively-worded questions which can confuse or put the customer on the defensive.

Negatively-worded questions can have the opposite effect to an open-ended, non-leading inquiry – they can put a customer on the defensive or make them feel like they are being unfairly judged. Similarly, overly complex questions which require longer answers can confuse and frustrate customers, leading to inaccurate responses. Therefore, when asking questions, it is wise to choose words carefully and ask simple inquiries that are easy for customers to understand. It is also beneficial to avoid yes/no questions as these don’t offer much insight into customer opinions and preferences. The goal should always be to draw out meaningful feedback from customers without making them feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed.

Don’t give too much information in one question, making it difficult for customers to provide an accurate response.

Less is more. Giving too much information in one question can make it difficult for the customer to provide a specific response, as they may not be able to comprehend all the details. To ensure that you are getting accurate answers, try to focus on asking simple questions with clear parameters. Give them an open-ended prompt where possible so that they can offer their input. Keep your questions as succinct as possible while still providing enough context for customers to understand what they are being asked.

Don’t use jargon or complex language that can be difficult to understand.

Not only does it make it difficult for the customer to understand the question – more importantly, if a customer is confused by a question they are likely to provide an incorrect answer. Therefore, it is essential to use words and phrasing that are easy for everyone to understand. Use plain language and avoid industry-specific terms when speaking with customers. Try to avoid long sentences. Focus on crafting clear and concise inquiries that customers can decipher without having to spend too much time thinking about the meaning of what has been said. If needed, use an AI writer to help produce questions in plain language.

Refrain from using double negatives, as this can lead to confusion or misinterpretation of the question itself.

Double negatives can lead to confusion and misinterpretation of the question or statement, which can be highly detrimental when you are trying to obtain useful customer feedback. Try to focus on clear phrasing that is easy for everyone to understand. If necessary, break up long sentences into shorter ones, as this will help ensure that customers are able to comprehend the full message without getting confused.

Try not to ask yes/no questions, as these don’t provide deep insights into customer opinions and preferences.

Asking customers yes or no questions can be highly limiting when it comes to gathering meaningful insights. Yes or no questions can provide some information, but do not allow for deeper examination of customer opinions and preferences. Instead, aim to ask more open-ended questions that can provide valuable data on customer behavior, attitudes and values. Aim to ask customers why they feel the way they do about a certain product or brand to gain a better understanding of their motivations.

Be mindful of timing when sending surveys or polls - they should be sent at appropriate times when customers are likely to engage with your content and respond thoughtfully.

Maximizing customer engagement with surveys and polls requires careful consideration of timing. You should strive to send out surveys or polls when customers are likely to be in a position to engage with your content and answer thoughtfully. For an instance, if you are planning to post your content on Facebook at your audience’s peak time, you can use Facebook tools to achieve the same. This could include times when customers have just had a positive experience with your product or service, as this will make them more likely to provide valuable feedback. Avoid sending surveys during peak hours or on busy days, as customers may not have the time or energy to respond in detail. Putting in the effort to plan appropriately will pay off – you will receive useful and meaningful customer feedback that is tailored towards improving customer experiences. 

Well, there indeed are too many factors at play when crafting a perfect customer survey or poll. If all of this seems too complicated then consider seeking help from a marketing advisor for guiding you through the process. You can click here to learn more about this.

Over to you

Crafting the right questions can be tricky - too much detail or complex phrasing can confuse customers and lead to inaccurate or incomplete responses. That’s the main takeaway here - focus on creating clear and concise questions that customers can easily comprehend. Consider the time of day when sending out surveys or polls, as this will help ensure you get meaningful responses from customers. With these tips, you should be well on your way to gathering insightful customer feedback. Good luck!

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