There was a time when obtaining survey data was a difficult process, often manual or requiring the use of agencies. Today there is a large variety of survey options to choose from. This article covers some of the features to look for and 36 tools I found available for surveys and polls that can be conducted on the web, social media and mobile devices.
Features of Polling and Survey Applications
Some offerings are free (often with limitations which can be overcome by upgrading to a fee based service). Some of the offerings are available for a free trial. And some will offer students or education institutions no charge options while businesses will need to pay. In some cases access to the ‘free offering’ is hard to find on the page where fee offerings are presented.
2. Where the data is hosted
Some vendors allow you to host your data on your own website. Others will require you to host the survey and the results on their site. Some will allow you to post the survey on your MySpace page, your Facebook page or other Social Media.
Each of these survey mechanisms will offer some form of reporting, some more robust than others. Some will allow you to display results on your website. Or you may be able to download the results to an Excel spreadsheet, or create a Powerpoint presentation or a PDF report.
Most survey programs allow you to customize the survey questions and possibly the look and feel of the survey, matching colors to your site.. Some have prepared surveys and you can pick which ones to respond to. Some will allow you to control the flow of questions based on responses.
5. Polls versus Surveys
Some of the tools offer polling, some across multiple sites such as social media sites. A poll may be ongoing, or a one time event. Others may offer surveys with multiple questions.
6. Availability of Templates
Some of the survey tools provide templates you can use to build your own surveys. Other tools may provide a wizard to create your poll or survey. And some do not provide any templates.
7. Follow up Pages
After a customer has completed a survey, it is wise to thank them. Some of the survey and polling tools offer Follow Up Pages that can be used or customized, some, even with video.
8. What input devices can be used
Most of the survey and polling offerings are PC based. Some can be collected on a website, by email, social media sites, like Twitter or Facebook but a new type of application is emerging that uses Mobile Phones and tablets and may use mobile techniques such as QR codes.
9. Target Audience Lists
Some of the survey organizations have ‘lists’ of people willing to take surveys or may have access to target audience lists that can be purchased.
10. Business Size / Industry
Some of the offerings are designed for large enterprises or specific industries. Others are more general and can apply anywhere.
11. Language Support
Some offerings will provide for different languages. Some applications can even let respondents choose from a list of languages before starting a survey.
12. Integration with other Applications
Some offerings will allow the survey or polling application to integrate with other packages such as SalesForce, MailChimp, and ExactTarget or other Customer Relationship Management application.
13. Sponsored versus Anonymous
Sometimes it is preferable to get customer feedback when the customer does not know who is sponsoring the survey. Some customers fear retribution from a business if they say something bad in a survey. In that case, it is necessary to look for a vendor who can provide anonymity.
Polling and Survey Applications
Here’s a list of some of the Polling and Survey applications I have found. I am sure I do not have them all and over time, some of these may no longer exist.
Survey Monkey is the most popular tool I hear of all the time. They claim a customer satisfaction score of 99.5%. They just purchased Zoomerang, another popular survey and polling tool. Survey Monkey offers a free service for up to 100 responses for 10 questions. Get responses through a weblink, email, Facebook or an embed on your site. They have monthly or annual payment plans that allow unlimited questions and unlimited responses, more customization of the survey, a follow up page to send customers to and advanced security. They offer 7/24 support.
Survey Monkey also has available survey responders for target audience selection.
PollDaddy boasts of corporate clients such as Microsoft, The Wall Street Journal and IBM and many more. It’s free account allows for 200 survey responses per month and 10 questions and basic reporting. Annual plans allow for more survey responses, more questions, exporting of data and do not have links back to Poll Daddy. They also have 7/24 support and an easy editor to create surveys.
Wufoo is known as a form generator but they also offer Customer Satisfaction Forms. You can use their template or customize your own. Customers receive a link to the form to fill in. They have free and fee offerings. For free, you can have 3 forms a month of 10 fields and 100 responses. Wufoo hosts everything making it easy to get started.
eSurveyPro also claims corporate clients such as Microsoft, IBM and Google. It has a free offering with 18 different question types that allows for unlimited questions, unlimited surveys and unlimited responses. They host the survey and you can email the survey or post it on your website. Additional features, from using their email manager, phone support, exporting of data, to having a dedicated account manager and unlimited company users can be obtained for extra fees.
There is no charge to create a poll using Pollcode. Create free polls without signing up, or sign up for free access to poll management features. To get started, simply type in a poll question and up to 30 possible answers. Customize the poll with your own colors, font, and settings. The poll is hosted on your website or you can “quick post” your poll to MySpace, Facebook, WordPress and many more. There are no ready made templates.
Constant Contact offers a 60 day free trial to their fee survey offering. The offer templates to create surveys, telephone support, and robust reporting. Results can be displayed on your website if you wish.
Create a free one question poll in seconds that you can add to your website, blog, or profile, or email to your customers. You create the multiple choice answers for customers to select from. Acepolls integrates well with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, WordPress and Blogger. The website also says it integrates with Friendster!
Twiigs is the place to take the pulse on any topic. Vote on the polls already created by others that interest you, or post one of your own! You cannot post polls on your website.
Micropoll is a free site to create a single question poll, hosted on your site. Post your poll link on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The same poll can be displayed across multiple sites and all of them collect data into the same database. Decide if you want to publish the results. The analysis tools include location statistics of those responding to the poll (location analysis appears to be available for US only.)
With your free account from 99polls you can now create customized surveys and polls for your website, blog and social network profiles. You need to sign up to use their free service. They offer poll templates to choose from.
SurveyGizmo offers a 14 day free trial. They have paid offerings that can address corporate accounts. They offer unlimited surveys, polls & forms, unlimited questions, unlimited responses, free phone support, 500,000 email invitations per month, absolute branding control, auto-detect mobile browsers, cross-tab reports, and supports all languages. Customers can choose which language they prefer to use in the survey. Survey Gizmo also has built in integration with Salesforce and ExactTarget and an API to integrate with other applications.
FreeOnlineSurveys allows you to have 50 responses, to 20 questions over a 10 day period. Additional services include unlimited questions, 1000 responses or more, customization, skip logic so the questionnaire can change depending on the customer’s response, and customized or external thank you page.
Mineful is oriented to the e-commerce retail industry. It can be used to send surveys at a selected period of time after a purchase. It integrates with Shopify and Yahoo Business and other e-commerce applications through an API. Mineful offers a 14 day free trial after which, paid options are available. Mineful uses statistics to predict attrition, identifies who might be at risk and triggers targeted messages designed to keep customers coming back.
Checkbox provides a free trial for its services, which include either hosted or installable surveys and polls. It offers conditional logic, branching and hidden items to create more complex surveys that are individually tailored to your respondents. Checkbox offers multi-lingual surveys.
GetResponse is an email autoresponder service. They have added an online survey tool. Using a survey wizard, organizations can create a survey to email to customers or direct customers to a company website. GetResponse offers a 30 day free trial.
Quickly and accurately measure customer feedback across all touch points in your customer lifecycle with Inquisite. Then, use the resulting customer insight to the drive the business improvements that matter to customers. Inquisite integrates with CRM solutions. One service Inquisite offers is ‘Certified Anonymous Surveys’ when an organization does not want customers to know who is asking for feedback. Inquisite offers a free trial download.
An Open Source tool to create your own surveys, free.
18. Kiss Insights Get real-time feedback from your customers on your website, free.
19. Gravity Forms You can create great surveys with it in version 1.5 and it is hosted inside wordpress.
20. Survs Build surveys quickly with an easy-to-use interface, customizable themes, and flexible options.
21. Vizu Customizable polls for your website.
22. Customer Thermometer The one click, real time customer satisfaction survey with incredible response rates.
23. Fluid Surveys With an easy to use drag & drop editor, you can build unlimited surveys, forms, polls & quizzes in minutes.
24. Servd A powerful, compact app that allows you to create surveys that run on your own website, while saving you hours of development time.
25. Neomyz Add polls to your site.
26. Rational Survey Rational Survey is the smart and simple way to create, manage, & distribute questionnaire based surveys & polls online.
27. Poll Everywhere The fastest way to create stylish real-time experiences for events using mobile devices.
28. Kwiksurveys Design surveys, forms, polls and feedback forms. Free.
29. Wepolls a social polling network. It seems to have preformatted polls you can vote on.
30. Polls.cc Web interface to create a poll.
31. Survey Builder Test-drive your first audience free.
32. Tablet Quiz for Mobile devices such as Tablets.
33. iPinon A leading enterprise grade Market research and Consumer Insights Platform for the Mobile world.
34. Use Response A fully customizable, open-source, self-hosted customer feedback software and support system that you can place on your server.
35. Kwiqpoll Create poll, share link, done. Free
36. Emtrics Mobile customers can scan the QR code while inside a store or restaurant and click on simple ratings like smiley and sad faces, weighing in on things like service and conditions in a matter of a minute or two.
Update: Mar 19, 2012
Since publication of this blog post, I have been made aware of another survey tool:
37. Qualtrics: Qualtrics is a high end full function survey tool used by almost every university in the US and many large and medium size corporations. The survey lives in the cloud and can be embedded on your site or on theirs. They offer a wide variety of question types that are easily formatted. In fact their question set and response alternatives are very unique and engages customers to encourage participation. Qualtrics is fully customizable, multi-lingual, and integrates with other CRM packages.
There is no shortage of resources to conduct surveys and polls, on the web, on your social media pages, on your site or hosted elsewhere, using PCs, tablets and mobile phones. The difficulty is finding the right one for your needs and that your target audience will respond to.
What experience have you had with these tools? Are there other tools that you use? Share your findings in the comments section below.
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