At WHYPAY? we believe that effective business tools shouldn’t cost the Earth, which is why we set out to make the best free conferencing service out there. This got us thinking: if you can get conference calls for no cost, what other great services can you get for free? That is why we have scoured the web to find the best free services to help your business and to bring them to you weekly.
In this instalment, we check out one of the best tools for getting user data on the internet – SurveyMonkey
Using data to improve your business
Gathering and using data is one of the key skills utilised by any successful company, influencing every decision from the smallest stationery request to the biggest multi million pound value proposals. A company that does not take the time to research available data will simply be using guesswork, and this can lead to some disastrous consequences.
Important data can come from many sources depending on the information you wish to find out. Do you want to know what times you need staff working in your call centre? Look at customer call trends and use them to plan the best rotas. Creating a new social media campaign? Research which adverts have had the most interactions or views previously and work with that model as an inspiration.
While traditional reporting can give you a lot of insight, there are a number of times when available data might be lacking. Perhaps you wish to expand into a new area and want opinions before committing. Maybe you want some more clarification on reports you already have. In both these cases, the survey is the perfect tool for the job.
Conducting a survey offers significant benefits over other forms of information gathering:
- Extensive – Surveys can be used to gather information from a large number of people. The more people from your target audience who respond, the more accurate your results will be.
- Flexible – A survey can be crafted to get the information you require, rather than interpreting oblique data. If you wish to know what your staff think about introducing a new process, you can ask them outright. Since any question can be asked, you can get useful and actionable data on any subject.
- Dependable – Surveys are a very dependable way of obtaining honest responses from your audience. By offering anonymity you ensure the answers are more candid. Especially if the topic is one that people may usually be reluctant to talk about.
- Cost – With the prevalence of digital connectivity, surveys are now a very cheap option for companies to consider. Email survey campaigns can reach thousands for a negligible price, especially when compared to the more expensive phone, mail and personal surveys.
To take advantage of all of the benefits of a survey, you will first have to plan how you are going to create it. Thankfully, this is where the excellent SurveyMonkey comes in.
A Survey creator for the masses
Founded in 1999 by Ryan Finley, SurveyMonkey specialises in providing free, fully customisable surveys. It has seen great success and currently boasts a user base of 25 million who receive around 90 million survey responses a month. In 2015 they were valued at $2 billion and were entered onto Fortunes prestigious Unicorn List.
The core of SurveyMonkey is, unsurprisingly, it’s powerful survey creation tools. Utilising a simple and intuitive interface, it’s incredibly easy to build up a survey that matches your exact needs. There are 15 question types, ranging from common multiple choice and dropdown responses, to more in depth comment or ranking answers. So, no matter what information you want to get, you can ask the question to get it.
As well as getting the right questions down, the look and feel of the survey is very important. SurveryMonkey has options to cover this area as well. For starters, it’s very simple to add your company’s branding and logo to the final post. You can also add in little bits and pieces, like including the company name in the URL so respondents are confident whom it’s from, or adding a custom thank you page once the survey is completed.
For an even more engaging survey, you can use the in built Skip Logic feature. This enables you to create branching paths for customers to ensure they only see the questions that relate to them. For example, if you asked the question “Do you use the gym?” you could send customers who responded positively to further queries about how they use the gym while others would get a different set of questions.
Translating raw data into usable information
SurveyMonkey does not end its usefulness in simply creating and sending out your surveys, it also comes with some fairly powerful data reporting functions. Its real time reporting allows you to easily see global trends as they are happening, or you can drill down to individual responses and get detailed user by user results. Once in SurveryMonkey, the data results view can be chopped and changed as much as you want until it suits you perfectly.
Using the reporting features also allows you to create great presentations to take the information to a wider audience. Create charts in a variety of styles to showcase the data in an easy to digest way, or generate a word cloud to highlight specific often used phrases. You can even take advantage of the inbuilt SPSS integration; all of this without having to go into another program.
As you can see, the core of SurveyMonkey is expertly set up to tailor to all of your data gathering needs. However, there are also a number of extras which further enhances its appeal. For starters, look no further than the database of hundreds of pre-created templates. These are great for people who are uncomfortable with creating their own surveys, or are just a little short of time.
Perfect for companies of any size
SurveyMonkey is cloud based, which means benefits to both the storage and accessibility of your data. This is essential for users who are frequently away from the office as it allows them to manage their campaigns while out and about. The dedicated iOS and Android apps mean that the whole experience is optimized perfectly, no matter which compatible device you use. SurveyMonkey’s impressive security also means that your information is safe while in their hands.
As with many freemium products, you can use SurveyMonkey’s basic utilities for absolutely nothing. For SME businesses this can be all that is needed and they may never have to pay anything to use the service. Larger or more detailed campaigns may require upgrading to one of the larger packages to get the most out of the system. For the largest teams you can take the platinum option and unlock the plethora of team management options as well.
With SurveyMonkey you can get a lot of great user data for no cost at all, so why not continue with that trend and discuss the results over a genuinely free WHYPAY? conference call.