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  • Writer's pictureAlina

Same Question, 3 Different Ways of Asking Your Suppliers in an RFP

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The way you get information and the questions you use play a big role in a successful questionnaire. Before you rush into writing your RFQ questions, ask yourself how you intend to use the answers from your questions. Are you going to ask direct questions? What about categorical questions? Once you know the goals of your questionnaire and the information you’d like to collect, you’ll be able to choose question types easily. For RFQ questions you can use either a closed-ended or open-ended format to collect answers from individuals. Note: A closed-ended question includes a predefined list of answer options, while an open-ended question asks the respondent to provide an answer in their own words.


Single or Multiple choice questions

Multiple choice questions are the most popular question type. They allow your respondents to select one or more options from a list of answers that you define. They’re intuitive, easy to use in different ways, help produce easy-to-analyze data, and provide mutually exclusive choices. Because the answer options are fixed, your respondents have an easier experience. Perhaps, most important, you’ll get structured responses that produce clean data for analysis. Multiple choice questions come in many different formats. The most basic variation is the single-answer choice question. Single answer questions use a radio button (circle buttons representing options in a list) format to allow respondents to click only one answer. They work well for binary questions, questions with ratings, or nominal scales.

Multiple-answer/ multiple choice questions are commonly shown with square checkboxes. They allow respondents to check off all the choices that apply to them. For example, "In which of the following location you can deliver goods?" A common drawback of multiple choice questions is that they force you to limit responses to a predetermined list of options. This can cause bias in your results. What if none of your answer options apply to your respondents? They might just choose a random answer or no answer, which could impact the accuracy of your results.


Shot text / Long text questions

Shot text questions require respondents to type their answers into a comment box and don’t provide specific pre-set answer options. The supplier can reply with a free text up to 100 characters or 1,000 for Long text questions When it comes to analyzing data, short text questions aren’t the best option. It’s not easy to quantify written answers which is why text boxes are better for providing qualitative data. Allowing your respondents to offer feedback in their own words could help you uncover opportunities that you may have otherwise overlooked. However, if you’re looking for data to analyze, you may want to engage in some quantitative marketing research and utilize closed questions. Pro tip: Pair closed-ended questions with short or long text ones to better understand and address your quantitative data.


Same Question, 3 Different Ways of Asking Your Suppliers in a RFP


Asking the right question is critical in RFPs, but asking them in the right way can boost efficiency, as well as time and cost-saving. As we’ve already explained in our post 'Free-text vs. single choice vs. multiple-choice questions in an RFP',  Prokuria offers 3 types of questions. 

Let’s now explore which one you should choose in a real-life scenario: assuming you are doing an RFP, and you need to find out how your supplier can offer support ( be it by phone, email, chat, etc), you can ask this questions in 3 different ways.


Free-Text Question

Question: Please describe your company’s support offering.

Answer: free-text

This question will invite a very general answer, covering product documentation, website support, phone support, 24/7 availability and so on. They can also provide additional details and emphasize the parts they consider of particular importance. 

The buyer might view some of these things as important, and others as not. There is no way, however, of reflecting these priorities through only one question.


Multiple Choice Question

Question: Please select your company’s support offering: Answers:

  • product documentation

  • website support

  • phone support

  • 24/7 availability

With this question, you will have structured data very easy to analyze and compare. Also, it will be very easy and fast for your suppliers to respond.


Series of Single Choice Questions

Question 1: Do you have product documentation?


  • Yes

  • No

Question 2: Do you have website support?


  • Yes

  • No

Question 3: Do you have phone support?


  • Yes

  • No

Question 4: Do you have 24/7 availability?


  • Yes

  • No

These questions will require slightly more time from the suppliers, but the data is perfectly structured. it is very useful if you need to create fast statistics or scoring cards for suppliers.

With Prokuria you can easily select between all these types of questions, turning your RFPs into efficient and successful sourcing events.


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