THE NEW, NEW, NEW THING
We started designing our WebSurveyAngel software in 1981, but had to wait a while for technology to allow online surveys. Now the're everywhere, and some folks are doing great things with them.
There are overlaps in the examples below, but in general, your range of options includes:
- Simple: Web-based survey services, such as from SurveyMonkey, that let you set up and manage a survey online.
- Mid-level: PC-based software, such as from Vovici (formerly Perseus), that allows you to publish your survey to the web.
- Complex: Analysts needing complex statistical processing abilities often use programs such as SPSS, which was initially developed as mainframe software.
STATISTICAL VALIDITY ISSUES
Online surveys initially paralled mail surveys in the difficulty we all had in drawing the correct sample frame. Respondents would self-select, making it difficult to obtain random samples.
The industry has come a long way, as online surveys replace telephone-based research more and more.
OPTIONS FOR USE
You have many options in using online surveys in your blog or website:
- Simple polls can be embedded in blog posts through add-ons such as Lester Chan's WP-Polls plug-in for WordPress.
- Complex surveys can be embedded in your website or linked to.
- Pop-ups are used to invite later participation when visitors reach your site, or simply when users leave a selected page.
- Surveys can be automated within your customer communications process. For example, by the time members of restaurants using our FullCircle Rewards loyalty program arrive home from dining out, there is a personalized email waiting for them. It thanks them for their business, informs them of how many points they earned with the evening's transaction, and offers additional member points if they will click the link and take a 2-minute survey. The survey lets them rate food quality, service and overall value, and add positive or negative comments. Their resonses are immediately added to the restaurant's ratings and accessible through the management dashboard. The restaurant owner sees in real time how her establishment is doing, is alerted to negative evaluations, and can easily reply to individual customers' comments.
Research Secret: Be very careful of using pop-up technology. Most people respond negatively to uninvited pop-up windows, immediately closing them. The only effective use of pop-ups for online surveys we've seen recently is Skype's apparently random pop-up after you complete a phone conversation, asking about the quality of your connection. If you have had a bad experience with that call, you want to vent, so their question is often welcome.
CONTACT US to help make your research the key to your company's future.
Copyright VanAmburg Group, Inc.
Revised November 4, 2008
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