9 Comments

Summary:

Client questionnaires should be easy. You can send your questions over via email, your client hits the “Reply” button and answers away. But, for some reason, it’s not always that straightforward. Some clients might skip questions or answer them incorrectly, while others might want to skip […]

Client questionnaires should be easy. You can send your questions over via email, your client hits the “Reply” button and answers away.

But, for some reason, it’s not always that straightforward. Some clients might skip questions or answer them incorrectly, while others might want to skip answering the form altogether. Here are some free tools that can make the process easier for both parties:

SurveyMonkey

The first time I heard about SurveyMonkey I knew I could use it to improve the response rate — and the quality of responses — for my client questionnaires. It’s been very useful to me even if I’m only using the free version (the paid monthly plan is $19.95 per month). There are limits to the free version though, such as having only 10 questions and 100 allowed responses per survey. Still, I find that these limits are more than enough for small projects.Your client’s contact information (name, address, email, web site, etc.) is all considered as one question.

One practical feature of this service is that you can identify which questions are optional and which ones are required. When I send out client questionnaires via email, some important fields are often left unanswered, but that hasn’t happened since I started using SurveyMonkey. And, when you’re done working on the project, you can use it to send a client satisfaction survey as well.

Writeboard

Writeboard by 37signals is another app I’ve used for sending client questionnaires. Unlike answering your questions via email, clients don’t have to copy and paste anything or do much scrolling. They just have to type in their answers after each question. This makes it useful for other types of written collaboration as well, such as asking your client to make specific comments on copy, proposals and other text.

Now, why use something like Whiteboard over more feature-rich online writing apps such as Google Docs? First of all, I find that the clean and minimalist interface is more reassuring to clients who aren’t tech savvy. They aren’t worried about clicking the wrong buttons since there’s only one (“Save this Writeboard”). Also, it’s easy to send an invitation that your clients can just click and visit — no need for complex instructions on how to access the app.

The only disadvantage I see is that you can’t analyze client responses collectively and make reports. Still, the simplicity and straightforwardness of the app is enough reason to try it with your more technologically challenged clients.

Your Own Web Site

Alternatively, you can host a questionnaire on your own web site by programming your own form and uploading it. Even if you don’t have programming skills, there are many free apps that can help you do this such as Email Me Form, WuFoo, and MyContactForm. While they also have paid plans, the free plans have enough features for most client surveys.

In the end, the solution you use must depend on your clients. Whichever is easier and faster for them is likely to be the same for you.

What tools do you use to create and send client questionnaires? How have they worked for you?

Image by svilen001 from sxc.hu

Related research

Subscriber Content
?
Subscriber content comes from Gigaom Research, bridging the gap between breaking news and long-tail research. Visit any of our reports to learn more and subscribe.
By Celine Roque
  1. I’ve been using one of Wufoo’s paid plans (although I probably don’t need that service level actually) to do some surveys lately and it is great to use!

    Share
  2. I’m sure you mentioned SurveyMonkey as a generic online survey tool; as an alternative tool I like SurveyGizmo (http://www.surveygizmo.com). I have found its free version more than adequate for small projects.

    Share
  3. Google Docs has a mode where the spreadsheets can be presented as forms.
    This is particularly handy because the results are already in a very handy spreadsheet format. – Try searching for ‘google docs survey’

    Share
    1. I was going to bring this up as well. IMHO in many cases the Google Docs embedded forms are the best solution.

      Share
  4. Zoomerang also has a free account and they let you ask up to 30 questions, handy when you still have 12 after cutting down. I have also saved time using their templates – just a bit of customization and you are ready to send.

    Share
  5. I have used zoomerang before and it works real well

    Share
  6. [...] getting feedback that you can use. You can even use one of the many online survey tools (Celine looked at some options previously) if you think people would be more comfortable providing feedback in an anonymous [...]

    Share
  7. I like SurveyGizmo too, they have great customer service to go along with a great product. Even though I only have one of their free accounts they took the time to help me with the wordpress plugin issue I was having and even checked back in with me!

    Share
  8. My hosting provider provides a free survey interface that you can use on your website. It’s not the most sophisticated but it’s free, and I know there are other hosts just like mine who provide similar tools.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post