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In 2009, Walmart made a $1.85 billion mistake due to a bad survey. To compete with Target, Walmart surveyed their customers and asked “Would you like Walmart to be less cluttered?” Consumers agreed that they would enjoy shopping at a more organized store. So, Walmart removed 15% of their inventory, shortened shelves and cleared aisles.

Why did this lead to a steep decrease in sales?

The problem lies with the question “Would you like Walmart to be less cluttered?” Walmart had an idea of how they wanted to compete with Target — providing a neat and organized shopping experience. Instead of designing their survey to understand their customers’ actual behavior, Walmart turned their solution into a biased question. If you think about it, why would anyone say they would want to shop at a cluttered store?

Questions are powerful. The right questions can bring out insightful data for your business. Below is an infographic summarizing the tips to use as a reference to design a better survey.

5 Ways to Craft Effective Survey Questions

Sources:

http://consumerist.com/2011/04/18/walmart-declutters-aisles-per-customer-request-then-loses-185-billion-in-sales/

http://goodexperience.com/blog/2011/04/ignore-the-customer-e.php