People do not want to take long surveys – they get bored and lose interest in answering questions thoughtfully or accurately. They want surveys that are quick, direct, interesting and actionable.

From a research perspective, it can be difficult to choose questions to cut from a survey to improve the respondent experience. However, there may be a tool at your disposal that can help you remove several questions from your surveys that you haven’t yet considered…

Many sports and entertainment organizations now collect data about their fans and ticket buyers (especially season ticket holders/subscribers) and store that data in CRM or another database. These sources are often tapped for lists of email addresses to send surveys to, but they can also provide data about the respondents that enables the property to avoid asking more questions in the survey.

For example, in an event or gameday experience survey, it’s common to ask a respondent what section s/he sat in to help identify potential issues in specific seating areas. However, many respondents’ seat locations are already being tracked in CRM via purchase records. When this is the case, there’s no need for a respondent to give that information again in the survey, thus eliminating the need for that question.

If such information is accessible, how can it get combined with survey data in order to be analyzed? One option is to combine the two data sources on the back end after the survey data has been collected. To do this, the surveyor must tie each response back to a specific survey by using a unique identified like email address or account ID.

The disadvantage to combining the data on the back end is that those data points will not be available for any skip logic in the survey. It won’t be possible, for example, to show a specific question to people sitting in premium sections or another question to people in the top level. The alternative is to insert this data on the front end: then, it becomes part of the survey data as responses are collected. This can be achieved in a few different ways depending on the survey software used. Often the data can be included in the survey URL sent to each person. It may also be possible to load the data into the survey software ahead of time, but this may require the survey to be sent through the software as opposed to an outside email management system.

By taking advantage of existing data sources, survey questions that aren’t directly related to the topic at hand can often be removed, making surveys shorter. If fans are surveyed on a regular basis, they may be tired of answering the same demographic questions time and time again; this approach could alleviate that issue, and pinpoint focus on the information that really matters to both fans and the organization.