6 Leading Questions Examples to Build Better Surveys
Do you think that leading questions should always be avoided in customer surveys? Have you ever unwittingly used leading questions only for it to work out in your favor?
Leading questions aren’t always bad. However, you should use them carefully only in certain contexts to get the most actionable insights from your customers.
So let’s check out leading questions examples and when you should use/avoid them in a survey to accurately capture user sentiment.
- Leading survey questions prompt users to give a predetermined response to customer surveys.
- Assumption-based leading questions assume respondents feel or think a certain way about a product, service, or business process.
- Coercive leading questions use aggressive statements to force users to give specific answers, usually affirmative ones.
- Leading questions with interconnected statements are a combination of two closely related sentences, where a biased statement precedes the question posed.
- Direct implication leading questions need users to determine their possible reactions to something.
- You should avoid leading questions for customer effort score surveys, NPS surveys, product feedback surveys, and customer feedback surveys.
- However, you can use leading questions with a specific context to collect product development ideas or get actionable insights.
- Feature request: “Based on your experience with our analytics feature, what other functions would you like to see?”
- Onboarding experience improvement: “It looks like you haven’t [done a core task]. Is there anything we can do to improve your experience?”
- Get a Userpilot demo and understand customer sentiment better than ever before.
What is a leading question?
A leading question prompts someone to give a predetermined response. The question is phrased and used in such a way that it pushes respondents to give biased or personal opinions. It usually includes a piece of information that the survey creator either wants to confirm or deny.
Therefore, leading questions often provide unreliable survey responses. But in certain situations, you can slightly tweak a survey question’s framework without compromising the data’s integrity.
Types of leading questions
Leading questions can be divided into 4 major types.
- Assumption-based leading questions
- Coercive leading questions
- Leading questions with interconnected statements
- Direct implication leading questions.
Assumption-based leading questions
The assumption-based leading questions rely on the presumption that survey respondents feel or think a certain way about a product, service, or business process.
Such questions are typically used in feedback surveys when the creator wants to assess customers’ feedback. However, they can be used in other types of surveys as well.
Let’s see an example:
“How excited are you about our new feature?”
This question assumes that all respondents would be excited about the new feature to a certain degree. It doesn’t allow respondents to state they are not excited about the feature because they don’t need it or expected something better.
Coercive leading questions
The coercive leading questions force respondents to give a specific answer, often an affirmative one. They are a big source of survey bias since they are aggressive compared to other relatively subtle questions.
This kind of leading question is usually used in website evaluation surveys and customer satisfaction surveys. The question is structured to pose a statement followed by a question. The question often uses a negative connotation, such as “Haven’t they?”.
Here’s an example:
“Our customer service has resolved your problems promptly, haven’t they?”
It forces users to consider that their customer service solved their issues promptly without mentioning any alternative scenario.
Leading questions with interconnected statements
The leading questions with interconnected statements are a combination of two closely related sentences. It usually starts with a statement of opinion or fact meant to create bias inside the reader’s mind. It’s then followed by a question that seeks an agreement with the preceding statement.
This type of question is usually used in customer feedback surveys. Moreover, it can collect employee feedback regarding issues like new company policies.
Here’s an example:
“We have updated [feature X] to be more intuitive and easier to use. How was your experience using it?”
The question above tries to persuade respondents that the update makes feature X more user-friendly before presenting the actual question on their user experience.
Direct implication leading questions
Questions with direct implications allow respondents to comment on the future implications of a present behavior or occurrence. Simply put, they require customers to determine their possible reactions to something.
Such questions are typically used to gather product development ideas or actionable insights into the customer experience.
One example of this type of leading question is:
“You’ve reached your usage limit for [product feature]. Do you want to upgrade?”
It prompts users to make an upgrade decision by letting them know what can limit progress toward their goals.
Why should you avoid using leading questions?
You may use leading questions intentionally or subconsciously. So how will you understand you need to make changes while reviewing a survey question?
Here are some things you can look for in your question to understand whether you should frame it in a better way.
- Lack of objectivity: If your question doesn’t take a neutral stance and ultimately influences people to give a desired answer, there would be no objectivity in the collected data. Biased answers will lead to outcomes skewed in the favor of a specific group of customers.
- Difficult to gain insightful data: Guiding users to a particular answer prevents you from learning anything new or making improvements. Therefore, you would not get any actionable insights to improve your product or service.
- Limited validity and reliability: Leading questions can make you misunderstand customers. For example, if you ask users how excited they’re about a new feature, any response given by an enthusiastic user would have low validity and reliability.
Here’s a leading question for a customer effort score survey. Although it uses the word ‘easy,’ users can rate for difficulty, thus capturing the level of effort they need to give to use the product.
Examples of leading questions in customer surveys
Your survey questions need to be well-articulated to get optimal responses. So let’s look at some specific use cases of leading questions in customer surveys and whether you should reframe them.
Assumption-based leading questions in customer effort surveys
Customer effort score surveys are used to understand how much effort customers need to give to use your product. Here’s an example that assumes a product feature is easy to use instead of asking about the overall experience or even the level of ease.
“Is it easy for you to use [product feature]?”
Instead, you should ask:
“How was your experience using [product feature]?”
This question avoids triggering predetermined responses and lets users rank how easy/difficult it was to use the product feature. By accurately tracking the customer effort score, you can learn whether customers are experiencing friction in using a feature or the product and make improvements accordingly.
Direct implication questions in net promoter score surveys
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an excellent measure of customer satisfaction and loyalty. However, you have to phrase the question so that the NPS scores can accurately track the user sentiment.
A leading question example could be:
“If you enjoyed using [product name], how likely are you to recommend [product name] to others?”
Implying that the user has enjoyed using the product may make it confusing to rate the level of satisfaction. Users may even feel they’re not eligible to answer if they haven’t enjoyed the product. Instead, you should ask:
“On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend [product name] to others?”
This is a neutral question that opens the floor for users to give their honest opinions.
Furthermore, you can add a qualitative follow-up question to your NPS survey asking users to give the reason behind their scores. This will help you better understand your customers’ issues and improve their experiences to drive more value and prevent churn.
Coercive leading questions in product feedback surveys
Product feedback surveys allow you to collect customer opinions on your overall product or specific facets of your product. They include customer experience surveys and customer satisfaction surveys. Here’s an example of the latter with a coercive leading question.
“Our recent product updates are helpful, aren’t they?”
This question compels users to consider the product helpful while answering and can thus result in false or misguided feedback. Instead, you should use the following question.
“How would you rate our recent product updates?”
This question is more likely to provide unbiased responses by letting users think objectively before they answer. Here again, a qualitative follow-up question will provide a more in-depth review of the product updates.
Interconnected statements in leading questions for customer feedback surveys
Customer feedback surveys include customer experience surveys and customer satisfaction surveys. Closely connected statements in the question below can skew or even discourage customer feedback by telling users they resolved an issue promptly, although they might have wanted it solved sooner.
“Our customer service has resolved your help request in a timely manner. Do you find them supportive?”
Instead, you should phrase it like this:
“Based on your recent interactions with our customer service, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with our company?”
This question allows frustrated users to express their opinions so that you can improve the performance of your customer service team or in-app resource center.
Leading questions to ask for product development ideas
It’s advisable to gather customer product development ideas so you don’t waste your resources on unwanted features. In this case, leading questions help solicit responses, but you must still phrase the question wisely.
For instance, here, the question assumes that customers need more analytics functions but also provides context by basing it on the user experience with the analytics feature.
“Based on your experience with our analytics feature, what other analytics functions would you like to see?”
If customers encounter leading questions on product development, it motivates them to request features that would make it easier to achieve their goals. If they don’t want an additional feature, they can mention they’re satisfied with the existing features.
Leading questions to gain actionable insights
You can use leading questions to get actionable insights from customer feedback when an aforementioned fact backs the questions.
For example, the question below assumes that users may encounter friction, but it’s because they didn’t complete a core task. Therefore, users feel encouraged to suggest improvements that would make it easier to complete their jobs.
“It looks like you haven’t [done a core task]. Is there anything we can do to improve your experience?”
Now that we’ve covered all the leading question examples, you can be more mindful of questions that exhibit undesirable characteristics and avoid using them. Moreover, you’ll hopefully be able to frame leading questions in the right way to collect actionable feedback and product development ideas.
Want to start creating effective customer surveys? Get a Userpilot demo and understand customer sentiment better than ever before.