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Match questions and answers…

Recently I wanted to make a complaint to a company and was directed to their online form (hmm, is it telling that their products come with a prominant page about how to complain??) and saw this as the opening sentence:

“already been attended to by phone or other means would you please advise YES/NO”

How does it help them to know I will (or won’t) advise them on whether my issue has already been dealt with? Wouldn’t the better question be ” Have you already told us about this issue? YES/NO”

Whenever you give people a choice of answers in a survey or form, you have to give answers that actually give the information you are after. Remember that the words ‘would you’ are what people will try to answer, so put them at the start of your question or don’t use them at all.

Generally, use active verbs and phrase questions as simply as possible to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

PS I could go on to say how important it is to get your promotional materials right – and not use old materials after you make changes. My original complaint was about their promotional brochure offering 4 things in a set but their website offering two things for the same price. Putting these two issues together has totally destroyed that company’s credibility and I don’t trust a thing they say now – and won’t be returning there.

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