Surveys: Part Art. Part Science. All Necessary – 8 Ways To Make Yours Better

Surveys are an important part of knowing more about our customers. There are so many survey tools, which are best for you. There are so many ways to write surveys and ensure you get the information you need.
Alex Terry, Executive Vice President of MarketTools and General Manager of Zoomerang gives us insight into the world of small business and surveys.

We heard so much about free (and fee based) online survey tools, give us a summary of why they are important for small businesses and ways they can be used.

Online survey and polling tools help business owners answer important questions and make informed business decisions. Any business owner will tell you that gathering customer feedback is critical to their success. Customer feedback can help increase sales, learn about new growth opportunities, understand the competition and spot and fix little problems before they turn into bigger issues. In addition to external questions about customers and the competition, online survey tools can also help companies look internally, and answer questions about employee satisfaction, ideas for innovation, benefits, training and how to plan important events.
While small business owners are extremely passionate about their business, sometimes that passion can get in the way of really hearing what their customers or employees are telling them. Free survey tools like Zoomerang can provide a reality check that is secure and anonymous, to help owners get their finger on the pulse of how their customers, employees, suppliers and partners feel about them. This kind of insight is invaluable when it comes time to plan and grow the business.

Are there best practices in creating surveys. None of us (unless that’s our industry) are experts in creating surveys and/or analytics, what are some ways to ensure we create better surveys.

As fast and easy as it is to create and send online surveys, it’s still important to start with a clear objective or goal in mind. As a result, a great place to start is by defining what you would like to learn or accomplish with this survey.
When building your survey, here are a few best practices to keep in mind to ensure the best, most accurate results are received:

  • Define who your target audience is. This is as important as what you ask.
  • Define the objective of the survey. What question(s) do you want answered?
  • Create an outline of the questions to include and make sure each question can be tied back to your objective.
  • Include the most important questions near the top.
  • Provide answer options whenever possible to avoid ambiguity. Doing so will make analyzing your results much easier. Include “write-in” options to make sure you’re not missing any important answers.
  • Be as concise as possible.
  • Write questions as objectively as possible. Don’t ask leading questions or make assumptions about the answers.
  • Consider sending a trial survey to a smaller audience, and fix any issues you find. Then you can follow up with an improved survey to the rest of your audience with confidence.

For more tips and tricks, we would recommend visiting Zoomerang’s Resource Center where we have a number of webinars and guides available.

Once the survey is done what are ways to analyze the data other than just viewing the raw data, which might be all there is need to do.

Most companies capture customer feedback, but only a small fraction act on it. Even fewer follow up with customers to address their issues, despite the fact that this can be the key to rescuing at-risk customer relationships.
There are different ways of analyzing data that depend on the type of information collected and overall intentions. Whether it’s looking at the median response in a structured survey, or determining word frequency in open-ended answers, data should be analyzed to its fullest potential. Most online survey platforms offer a number of ways to analyze data, so utilize these tools to bring hidden data points to life. Tools like Zoomerang also allow you to export data to Excel for additional analysis or PowerPoint and PDF to communicate results.

There are many online survey tools and I would presume that Zoomerang and Survey Monkey are the biggest competitors? How do the various survey tools differ, if at all? Are they the same?

As the first ever online survey tool, Zoomerang’s services are fast, easy and customizable to your needs. What sets us apart from the competition is our years of experience and dedication to continually improve our tools.
At times it can be difficult to survey enough people to obtain useful feedback. Zoomerang allows our subscribers to tap into an online panel of more than 2.5 million survey respondents, providing businesses with useful answers from your targeted demographic. Another of Zoomerang’s features enables users to distribute their surveys via social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, Zoomerang can be integrated with one of the most widely used CRM solutions,, enabling another channel to solicit for feedback.
Sorting through data and analyzing the answers can be daunting tasks. However, with Zoomerang, the analytics can be broken down into simple, easy-to-understand charts, graphs or word clouds. This enables businesses to act on the feedback quicker than other tools and methods.

What is your guidance in how to boost the response rate for surveys?

Beyond Zoomerang’s social media, and online panel integration tools, an interesting and timely topic can help to generate the best results. While some people believe an incentive will entice more people to complete a survey, this can also skew the responses received.
When getting ready to send out a survey, keep the following in mind to help boost your responses:

  • Personalized e-mail invitations are often received more positively and lead to increased response rates.
  • Make sure that you’re sending the survey to an appropriate audience who has a vested interested in the subject matter.
  • Keep your survey short and focused.
  • Let your customers know what changes or actions you’ll be making as a result of their feedback.
  • Reminder e-mails often boost responses, but remember to not be too pushy.

Tell us more about the “online panel” and any more information that many might not realize Zoomerang offers.

Zoomerang is part of MarketTools, which is the leading provider of software and services for enterprise feedback management (EFM) and market research.
Zoomerang customers can take advantage of Zoomerang Sample, a panel of more than 2.5 million consumers ready to take surveys, and professional services including expert survey design and survey programming.