by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 10 July 2011
Audience is king. At least, that is one of the most enduring lessons from my grad school experience. You cannot design a product or service without audience participation. And, how do you connect with audiences? Quite simple: design a survey. There are a plethora of survey tools out there. This week, we will review SurveyTool - which claims to be different from competition. We will look at its interface, functionality, and see how it can be of use to you.
SO, WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS TOOL?
SURVEYING SURVEY TOOL
By themselves, survey tools can seem like simple creatures. However, they can be pretty complicated beasts. For example, skip logic and piping (or determining succeeding questions based on previous responses) plays a major role. So does customizing the look and feel of the survey. Then there is the analysis and slicing and dicing of data at the end of the process. Finally, to accomplish all of the above, the tool needs to have an easy and intuitive interface.SurveyTool has multiple predefined templates, survey type choices and skip logic options at each step to help define and design your survey. In simple words, this means that the system will second-guess your responses and choices to simplify the process of survey creation. The interface, as I mentioned earlier, is intuitive. So, that makes creating surveys that much easier. There are two features that I especially liked in SurveyTool. The first one is the ability to import word documents for surveys into the tool. In effect, this means that you can create your survey in a word document and upload it directly to the website.
However, the most intriguing part of the tool are the social media surveys. This feature enables you to conduct surveys through social media. In addition, you can add rewards for customers to complete your surveys. Mills says the feature enables you to provide attachments such as coupon code for users who complete your survey. This incentive encourages responses and drive users back to your site or business to use their new discount code. "You can't expect a high response rate for your standard email campaign," says Mills. "That's why Survey Tool includes the Add Rewards feature to help small businesses offer localized rewards for survey respondents." According to him, it's a win-win situation for small business: market research feedback and localized rewards to increase traffic made easy with SurveyTool.
The survey can be tweeted directly from the website or integrated with your Facebook page to accomplish the same goal to roll out anytime. "Promoting a survey on Facebook or Twitter that gives responders a significant discount is a great way to harness social media and turn your "fans" into feedback and more active customers," says Mills.
SurveyTool also comes with website integration, which makes it easier for you to promote your company's blog. "Getting the opinion of your readers directly on your website can be an invaluable resource, and writers or reporters can do the same thing," says Mills. I conducted a brief first survey and generate graphs and PDFs with a single click.
THE BASICS: WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
As I mentioned earlier, the more intuitive the interface, the easier it is for you to create surveys. The folks at SurveyTool have made that task much easier by displaying an explanatory first screen that outlines various parts of the screen and their utility in creating a survey. Creating surveys is a fairly simple and sequential process, with skip logic and questions, on each screen. Instead of multiple clicks, your choices are bunched together at the top (or side, depending on your initial preferences for the survey's look and feel) of the screen. So, you can pretty much mix-n-match your interface and type for each individual question in your survey.
SUPPORTING YOUR SURVEY
Mills identifies customer service as a key differentiator from competition. He says the company's dedicated email and customer service team is available to users five days a week. In addition, data mining is a significant aspect of their support plans. Mills says they are constantly mining data to better the customer experience on the site. "We look at user behavior, ie: what they are doing on the site and often reach out to them directly for feature suggestions, and general improvements they would like to see," he says.
IS IT FOR YOU?
Surveys are crucial and important for you to determine and know more about your customer tastes and preferences. Having used several survey tools earlier, I am pretty impressed by the range of functionality and price points offered by SurveyTool.