We don’t need much of an excuse to create a survey here in the SurveyGizmo offices.
(As a matter of fact, I created a survey to ask our employees for their input for this article.)
What creating all those surveys has taught us is that you can use these handy tools for just about anything.
From putting together a family tree to reporting on retail to creating interactive business cards, our survey experts came through with dozens of great ideas for everyday reasons to create surveys.
To make them a little easier to browse we’ve grouped the ideas into categories, but many of them could work in lots of different situations. Have you found creative uses for surveys that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments!
2 Reasons to Create a Survey for Health & Wellness
With recent strides in data security and anonymity, surveys can be used to collect even the most sensitive information at a doctor’s office. They can also make signing up for a gym membership quicker, so you can get on that treadmill right away.
Need to update your address or insurance information? A survey can collect your changes and incorporate them into your existing patient file.
Tablets placed around the waiting room could let you check in for your appointment from the comfort of your chair instead of waiting in line behind five other patients who all have a cough.
And those same points of contact could let you offer instant feedback about your visit on your way out the door, helping your physician increase their patient satisfaction and hopefully improving your next visit.
Joining a Gym or Starting Personal Training
Instead of filling out your membership form in a cramped office, you could complete it online in advance, including adding your payment, so that when you walk in the door you can go straight into your first workout.
If you’re signing up for personal training sessions you could use a survey to share your health history, goals, and general statistics with your trainer in advance. With what these guys charge per hour, you want to make sure you’re not paying to do paperwork.
3 Reasons to Create Surveys for Marketing
Market researchers are well versed in using surveys to track brand awareness or perform a competitive analysis, but our team members have some ideas on new ways to incorporate surveys into your marketing efforts.
Heatmap Images to Reveal Where Viewers’ Attention Falls
Using an image heatmap question you can track where people are looking on your latest billboard, display ads, or landing pages. As with any user-driven research, you’ll almost always be surprised by what resonates with real life users.
Test Name and Logo Combinations
Getting ready to launch a new company or product? Use randomization in your survey to create various combinations of logos and names, then ask respondents to rate and/or respond to each one.
By showing truly random combinations you’ll get statistically valid data that you can use to drive your final decisions. It’s always nice to have real numbers to help get beyond heated discussions about subjective reactions.
Collect Data in Focus Groups
Setting up and running a focus group is a time consuming endeavor, so you need to make sure you can capture as much data from it as possible.
A series of quick surveys administered throughout the focus group session can help you track responses as they come up. You could give them to your focus group members or have observers fill them out to avoid disrupting the group’s flow.
5 Reasons to Create a Survey for Shopping/Retail/Wholesale
Putting a survey at the bottom of a receipt is so 2014. There are far better ways to make the buying and selling process proceed more smoothly with surveys.
Point of Sale Surveys
A short, to-the-point survey right at the point of sale can capture customer sentiment much better than trying to get them to fill out an online survey hours or days after their purchase.
A scannable QR code or a survey that appears automatically on a kiosk or tablet can give retailers much better data (and higher response rates) while not unduly inconveniencing buyers.
End of Day Retail Reporting
Need an easy way to track, report, and analyze your inventory at the end of the day? One word: surveys.
Employees can answer questions about retail at the end of each day, and all their input can be compiled into a single report. Inventory managers can see individual results as well as aggregate data, giving them instant insight into shortages.
Those inventory reports could also be shared with purchasing departments, who could in turn add their own input via survey when they make purchases.
Avoiding duplicate purchases and making sure that inventory keeps up with demand are challenging tasks of all purchasing departments. Surveys can help.
Just like point of sale surveys, questions asked during the shopping experience will generate much better data than if you ask customers to recall their time in your store hours or days later.
Incorporating kiosk surveys into your store flow (and offering instant discounts to respondents) can give you on-the-ground insight into how customers like your sales, which items brought them into the store, and what they wish you were doing differently.
Social Proof Through Public Polls
The power of the group is unparalleled, and large retailers can use it to their advantage with surveys.
In a mall, for example, you could create a publicly accessible poll that shoppers can access via QR code. Each person could answer questions about which stores they’re visiting and what they’re buying, updating the poll results in real time.
This kind of gamification can increase sales by encouraging friendly competition among stores and rewarding those with the best products and customer experiences.
6 Reasons to Create Surveys for Employees or Human Resources
Surveys are a great way to involve employees more thoroughly. This extends beyond the usual review process into training, time management, and ongoing skills assessments. Whatever the industry, HR can work better with surveys.
Savvy candidates will respond favorably to a company that makes the application process as painless and as personal as possible, and there’s no better way to do that than by creating a customized survey.
By showing only relevant fields using logic, you can streamline the process of completing the form. And by using open text analysis in your reporting you can make it easier for HR to separate promising responses from unqualified ones.
Employee Skill and Personality Assessments
Sometimes employees aren’t the best judges of what jobs they’re best suited for. That’s where skill assessments can come in handy.
Give them to new hires as well as long time employees to find out if everyone is in the best spot. Maybe your quiet accountant longs for more customer interaction, or maybe your new sales associate has previous experience with your marketing automation software.
Regular assessments of professional personalities and skills can be highly enlightening.
For hourly employees, it can be a challenge to remember to input their time each and every day. But by scheduling a survey to go out right before quitting time each day you can quickly and accurately collect their time.
When people need to work together on projects of any kind it can be easy to for tasks to get overlooked, or for work to be repeated.
Surveys can help team members keep track of what their teammates have done, and could also collect feedback at the end of the project on how well the team collaborated, whether the project could be considered a success, and how likely they would be to work in the same way again.
Reviewing your own job performance can be awkward, but a survey that guides you through it can help encourage more openness and therefore elicit input that’s actually helpful to HR and supervisors.
You can use a survey to remind employees of their job roles and expectations before you ask for their own perception of their performance. You could also create a survey that shows how their self review compares to that of the rest of their department and/or supervisor once it’s complete (with appropriate levels of anonymity of course).
You can follow up your self review surveys with supervisor evaluations to kill two birds with one survey. If it will help you get more honest feedback, you can enable anonymous survey responses so that employees feel safe offering their genuine feelings about their supervisor.
Having these evaluations in survey form also lets you chart changes in a supervisor’s performance over time, which you could tie to bonuses or other incentives.
3 Reasons to Create a Survey for Professional Awesomeness
We often hear from people who were charged with making a survey by their boss or supervisor, but you can use surveys to foster professional excellence without somebody asking you to!
Need a standardized way to gather proposals or information about a project that you’re bidding out? A survey that uses logic to validate answers will make sure that you’re getting data that you can compare side by side.
With a survey you have complete control over how people give you information, and you can connect it with your CRM and/or email so you can keep track within your existing sytems of who has given a bid.
Interactive Business Cards
Add a QR code to your business card that brings up a survey when it’s scanned. Then you can have a contact fill out a few quick survey fields (name, email, phone number, etc.) and enter them into your contact database right away.
You could also include an action at the end of your survey that takes them to a landing page on your website or your LinkedIn profile so they can continue interacting with you and your business immediately.
Did you meet someone in person and schedule an appointment, but you need to follow up and make sure the time and date work for them? A simple survey will make sure you’re both on the same page.
Connect with your new contact via email or social media, have them confirm the date, time, and place of your meeting, then add the results automatically to your CRM and/or calendar software.
4 Reasons to Create Surveys for Events
Personal and professional events both run more smoothly if you involve surveys in all your steps. From registration to RSVP to return visits, surveys can help.
Having a Wedding
It’s a huge pain keeping up with RSVPs, not to mention who wants fish, chicken, or vegetarian entrees for your dinner. By including a survey link or QR code in your invitations, however, you can let software magic do all of that for you.
You could even use a survey to note who gives you what gifts, and whether or not you’ve sent them a thank you note.
Quiz/Poll for Attendees
Trying to keep attendees engaged over the course of a three day conference or event can be challenging, but regularly announcing online polls or quizzes can help people look forward to the next session or networking event.
You can ask questions from the keynote speeches, see what buffet foods are the favorites, or show live voting on which breakout sessions are the best.
Before the event even starts a survey can help you keep track of who’s coming, what they want to do, whether they’ve paid, and all the other details that could otherwise drive an organizer crazy.
And, like any other survey, you can distribute your event registration form via social media, email, your own website, or a QR code so you can get the maximum engagement rate possible.
Want to know more about the people at your event but can’t talk to each person individually? Use a survey to create a virtual guest book that you can refer to later.
At a professional event you might ask about their favorite and least favorite parts of the event and whether or not they plan to attend again next year.
For a wedding you could ask them to record their favorite memory from the day, or even upload a photo using a file upload question. It’s a great way to thank people for their attendance and grab a few candid photos you might otherwise miss.
4 Reasons to Create a Survey for Education
In the classroom, the office, or the home, surveys can help teachers and administrators be more effective. Here are some of our favorite educational uses of SurveyGizmo.
Put up a QR code on the board, have students scan it with their classroom devices, and then use question randomization to give each student a slightly different quiz.
The randomization will cut down on cheating, and the reporting feature will grade the quiz for you instantly. Win win!
Collect feedback from parents, students, and staff on teacher performance, then compare the results year over year. Every teacher will get a troublesome class from time to time, but with a collection of comparable data you can draw more confident conclusions about changes in teacher performance over time.
And remember those self evaluations we talked about in the HR section? They work great for teachers too.
Need an easier way to distribute, gather, and process applications? Surveys can be a big help in this area.
If you need to keep respondents anonymous while you review their applications you can do that. You can also track the number of applications that you get from year to year to make sure that you are increasing your student volume at an appropriate rate.
Finally, open text analysis can help you separate strong applicants from weak ones too.
For teachers who are tired of getting the wrong file type on assignments or who with they didn’t need to constantly send out reminders to each student whose assignment is late, surveys are here to help.
Question validation can prevent unwanted file types from attaching, and you can setup automatic reminders to students who haven’t answered the “survey” as the deadline approaches.
5 Fun Ways to Use Surveys
Sure surveys make you look smart at work, streamline previously strenuous processes, and help aggregate data in a snap, but they can also be super fun!
Gather Family Tree Information
Send out a survey to each of your family members asking for details about themselves and their immediate family so you can put together a family tree.
A survey ensures that you’re getting the same information from everyone so you have a consistent view of each branch of the family tree. Be sure to include essay questions so you can collect the long stories too!
Want to pull together a collection of recipes from coworkers or family members? Just send out a survey to everyone.
They could upload a file if they have an electronic version or an image of the finished dish, or you can get standardized recipe formats by including specific questions for cook time, prep time, ingredients, etc.
Dating Candidate Application
For those who want a little bit more information about their prospective dates, include a survey link in your online dating profile.
If they’re not willing to answer a couple of simple questions, they’re probably not worth your time anyway.
Find Out Who Will Be the Next Disney Princess
Somebody out there must know who the next princess movie will be about! Send out a survey and see what trends you can identify.
Maybe you’ll be the one to break the story on Twitter!
Choose Your Own Adventure Story
Upload several dozen story segments, put in some randomization, and watch the story unfold!
Ok, it’s a little more complicated than that, but you could easily create one of those awesome Choose Your Own Adventure stories using some straightforward survey methods.
For those with kids, this kind of survey could be a source of nearly endless entertainment on long car rides since it would produce a unique story each time!
What did we forget? Give us more fun survey ideas in the comments!