I recently received an online survey from a free newsletter that I subscribe to. The very first question asked me how long I’d been a subscriber. What? You’re asking me how long I’ve been a subscriber? Don’t you have that data?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my clients ask similar questions on their surveys. Questions like “How many previous annual meetings have you attended?” or “How long have you been a member?”

In the case of the newsletter above, at least it’s a free newsletter. But if I’ve been paying you to be a member of your organization for years, and you have to ask me how long I’ve been a member, there is something wrong with this relationship (and your data!).

So if you don’t know the answer, don’t ask the question. You’re better off not knowing than embarrassing yourself by telling them you don’t know.