Survey information you gather today may no longer be accurate next month. Why?
Changes in business climate, new programs, new employees or new customers may
affect satisfaction levels, site visitor information or support requirements.
By implementing a program of ongoing surveys, you can track change in opinions
and needs, so that you can react quickly to downturns or benefit from new sales
Because of its speed, flexibility and cost effective, the ideal medium for
collecting this information is through Internet surveys. A major strength of
eSurveysPro is that you can implement ongoing research with no significant
incremental cost or development time. Unlike traditional paper or
telephone-based research, which requires significant investment and manpower,
well designed web surveys can collect data continually with little human
intervention, providing fast, valuable results.
There are two ways that you can implement surveys to measure changes over time.
You can create multiple event-based surveys and compare results between
surveys, or develop one survey to capture the same information over time. Each
method has its strengths, which are discussed below.
Multiple Survey Method
If you want to include different sets of time-sensitive or event-specific
questions, your best bet is to use several sequential surveys. However, if you
want to compare results accurately from different surveys you will need to keep
the same core questions and formatting between questionnaires. This assures
validity for inter-survey comparisons.
You use eSurveysPro to collect web site visitor information that cannot be
gathered from log files and have just launched a new online advertising
campaign. You want to know how well the advertisements are working. In this
case, you create a new survey that includes your current questions about age,
area of interest and household income, and add new questions about the site
visitors' exposure to the campaign. By adding this topical data with your
existing demographic information, you will be able to measure your campaign's
effectiveness among your target audience.
In a separate analysis, you can compare pre-campaign and post-campaign
demographics to establish how the campaign may draw different types of visitors
to your site. When you're ready to compare results between the two surveys,
open both the pre-campaign and post-campaign surveys by opening eSurveysPro
Desktop twice. By having the two windows side by side, you can look at the
results for each question common to both surveys to see how results may differ.
If you are filtering or cross-tabulating data, having both windows open will
help assure that you have applied the same filters for both sets of survey
results. This side by side presentation is also very helpful in reporting on
the data. Export your graphs to the same page in Word or PowerPoint so that
report readers can compare the differences easily.
Single Survey Method
If your goal is to gather and compare data over a length of time, you can
accomplish this with one well planned survey. Your first step is to create an
effective, "timeless" survey. Timelessness refers to questions which do not
rely on a particular event or activity, but can refer to a number of events
equally. Some may include:
- On a scale of 1 to 7, how satisfied are you with the service you receive from
- Have you ever purchased from our web site?
- In which industry do you work?
This differs significantly from time-sensitive questions such as:
- What recommendations can you give us on improving our new widget?
- On a scale of 1 to 7, how important would this feature be to your purchase
Both of the above examples may be appropriate during product development or
prior to purchase, but the new widget will not always be new, or the feature
may change over time.
Often, though, surveys are used to gather data from specific events such as
follow up to a training seminar, satisfaction with a technical support
interaction or to inquire about activities during a web site visit. To provide
your respondents with a frame of reference, include information about that
event in your web page or email invitation to assure that the respondent will
understand which event is being discussed. To identify events about which
specific responses are given, you can pass hidden values to the survey from the
link or email message. This is particularly useful if you use the same survey
to gather information from multiple events, visits or activities.
This type of survey appears at the bottom of each newsletter page on our web
site. In fact, this is the same survey file, repeated on each page, with a
hidden field that captures the article being evaluated. The value of gathering
data this way is that we can review the overall responses (do our readers find
our newsletter valuable), and then look at specific pages by filtering on the
hidden field (did our readers find a particular article valuable).
When analyzing results from a survey that you've run over a period of time, you
can filter the data to look at results gathered during specific time frames.
Each time someone responds to your survey, eSurveysPro captures the date that
the response was submitted. To analyze results from a specific date or date
range, use the Filter Builder in eSurveysPro's Analysis window to select your
date range. Again, you can view results in side by side eSurveysPro Desktop
windows by opening the file two times, then filtering on the different date
ranges you wish to evaluate in each window. If you are comparing results in a
report, it is useful to present the graphs side by side.
For a great view of how responses to a particular question have changed over
time, cross-tabulate that question with the date received, by day, month or
year. The resulting data table is a great way to review how responses have
changed by time period. You can export cross-tabulated data tables easily for
When is it valuable to conduct surveys over time? Here are just a few examples:
Web site visitor demographics:
Who is surfing your site and why. In an ongoing analysis of web site traffic,
demographic information is a valuable adjunct to log analysis.
Customer support follow up:
Identify areas for improvement and areas of strength for your department by
measuring customer satisfaction. By measuring the same points over time, you
can identify issues quickly, before they cost you any business.
Measure overall satisfaction regularly, then you will have a baseline against
which you can measure the effect of corporate changes.
Shopping cart abandonment:
Learn why shoppers are leaving your site, while tracking how site changes
affect willingness to purchase.
Identify new and increasing competitive threats as they arise.
Seminar Follow Up: Track the value of each seminar so that you can
compare between events as well as view overall seminar program results.
Even if you are conducting just one survey right now, consider whether you might
want to ask the same audience the same types of questions again or consider
tracking changes to responses over time. This uniquely rich information can
help you react to changing trends.