Close-ended questions come with options to select and hence, can sometimes be restrictive. With open-ended questions, you can gather rich data for qualitative research. With open-ended questions, respondents can put forth their thoughts in an open and elaborate view. They can state their reasons and opinions in a way that can give you rich information.
Giving the respondents the option to put their comments lets you probe deeper into the question. It will bring to the fore issues that typically may not be highlighted due to the nature of close-ended questions. You may get to know the likes and dislikes of respondents, but what's more important is understanding the reasons behind those. This way, you can give direction to your efforts and come up with a sound action plan. Once you have that information, you can make necessary changes or improvements wherever necessary.
Whether you go with open-ended or close-ended questions is totally dependant on the survey and the responses you wish to receive. They each have their pros and cons. In areas where you are seeking feedback about something specific, open-ended questions may help. Here are some examples.
Why do you think the product is not useful to you?
What particularly did you not like about the onboarding experience?
In both examples, you can see the survey organizers are asking for specific information. With this information
They can improve the product in terms of the utility making sure that it sells more and satisfies consumer needs
Find gap areas in the onboarding experience and bridge them to improve the employee experience
Let's look at a big organization; it typically would have several departments, numerous people, and functions. This could be overwhelming for people who are beginning to work there. Organizations often overlook the importance of a good induction program. It is not only about introducing new people to the team or giving them an overview of the organization. It's so much more. Their experience has to be positive and memorable, for it will determine whether they stay or nor in the company. Having a formula that works every time is almost impossible, especially with today's diverse workforces. You may directly take inputs from employees themselves, learn from their experiences, and improve your processes.
There are many advantages to using Open-ended text questions in surveys. Let us look at some below
No need to choose: With these questions, respondents do not need to select from a pre-existing list. They can give candid feedback and say exactly what they've felt or experienced.
Unexpected feedback: You may think your product or service is liked or disliked for some reason. While you may think you know the answer, it could end up being something else too. If respondents have to choose from a list of options, you may lose out on very important information.
Get responses to complex aspects: Situations that are complex need an option that respondents can use to explain their feedback or concerns. With open-ended questions, they can freely express their thoughts.
Know your customers better: What your respondents say gives you insights into what they feel, how they think, what they would like in the future, etc. You can use this information to enhance your offerings and serve your audience better.
To learn how to use this survey feature, check out our help document on open ended survey questions.