Have you ever wanted to assimilate the collective brainpower of your current or prospective customers and didn’t want to use conventional means of direct mail or follow-up happy calls?
A new Website has been created that helps business owners (and anyone else) create their own online surveys. Zoomerang.com is a handy way to get immediate feedback from survey respondents - feedback that may be vital to finding out what customers like or don’t like about your business.
According to the people at Zoomerang, business surveys can be created for a number of reasons, including:
• Customer satisfaction;
• Employee satisfaction;
• New product ideas;
• Starting a new company;
• Needs assessment;
• Event planning.
“Zoomerang has designed our features and services to enable our customers to get fast and easy answers to their business-critical questions,” said Ken Robinson, Zoomerang director of marketing. “While our hundreds of thousands of users may be experts within their particular industry or job function, they are not necessarily experts at market research or customer feedback. Zoomerang’s online survey tool is designed with an intuitive interface, logical flows for creation and sending of surveys, and easy-to-read reports.”
It allows businesses to brand surveys with their own logos and allows customers to send out surveys with their own branding, without having to download software to send the surveys. The service also offers unlimited respondents and unlimited surveys.
Zoomerang can then help businesses with advanced reporting and analysis of the surveys, which includes easy to understand charts downloadable to Microsoft Excel, or several other formats. Reports can be saved, which is important for people who want to track information over time (for example if you send a customer satisfaction survey every quarter, you can easily see both quarter’s results).
“With proper motivation and clear directions, surveying customers, prospects, and employees can be a highly valuable means of communication,” said Robinson. “Especially when given anonymously, surveys can unearth all sorts of useful information.”
WHAT CONTRACTORS LIKE TO KNOWI decided to experiment with Zoomerang’s free membership plan, which is great for getting a feel for this online product. The free plan allowed me to create my own survey and see responses from over 100 people. Although I could have used up to 30 questions, I decided to keep it simple and short so the people I invited would not be bored or tied up for over 1-2 minutes. Knowing that attention spans and time management are issues for consumers, I wanted to make it easy for my survey respondents and only asked a few questions - all multiple choice.
My first question was: If a homeowner was given a choice of prizes, which would they choose? I gave respondents three choices: a weekend in Las Vegas, a $300 gift certificate, or a whole-house IAQ analysis. I was a little surprised to see that respondents felt the lure of Las Vegas wasn’t as great as the gift certificate (maybe they had been there and done that).
Sixty-six percent said their customers would take the gift certificate while only 28 percent felt that Las Vegas was the preferred choice. The whole-house IAQ analysis was dead last at 6 percent.
My second question was: What is most important to your customers? I gave respondents four choices: quality, reputation, price, “other.” This time the results, in my mind, were predictable. Quality was No. 1 at 41 percent followed by reputation at 31 percent and price at 15 percent. “Other” had 13 percent.
Some of the “other” answers included value, energy costs, piece of mind, and a combination of quality, reputation, and price. One smart aleck said “bedside manor” - an obvious typo and questionable use of the online survey.
My third question was: What is the best way to market/advertise your business? The four choices were: word-of-mouth, print/broadcast media, Yellow Pages, and “other.” The runaway winner was word-of-mouth with 72 percent, followed by print/broadcast media with 9 percent and Yellow Pages with 5 percent. “Other” had 14 percent. Some of the “other” answers included direct mail, newsletters, Internet, and networking.
Was my survey scientific? Hardly. In hindsight, I should have qualified each respondent by asking what their business was, i.e., contracting, supplier, etc. I only invited HVAC contractors but that doesn’t mean that every respondent was an HVAC contractor. I’d qualify the respondents if I did another survey.
And I might. Zoomerang.com offers a lot more than just basic surveys, including market research, online focus groups, and survey services. For my money - if I had any - I’d sign up for the $599/year zPro package which would give me as many surveys as I’d like to create and as my respondents would like to take.
I figure I could do a few more before the same 100 people got tired of me.