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How to Conduct Fast, Easy, and Anonymous Customer Surveys

Surveys are fantastic for prying into the minds of your customers. You can use them to gauge satisfaction, solicit feedback, and so on. Okay, but what's the best way to create, distribute, and collect a survey -- while keeping the responses anonymous?

That's the question posed by reader Mario, a sales rep for a Japanese diamond tool manufacturer:

I would like to send my customers a satisfaction survey, but know they may be hesitant to e-mail them back to me. Most, I would assume, would prefer to be anonymous. Is there a way to allow them to upload their completed survey online?
There are any number of pro-level survey services you can use -- SurveyMonkey comes to mind -- but if you want something quick, easy, and free, look no further than Google Docs.

All you do is sign into your Docs account, then click Create New, Form. Next, use the form builder to enter your survey questions. You can choose from a variety of answer types, including checkboxes, multiple choice, and text. I also recommend clicking the Theme button and choosing something a little livelier than the standard Plain. (Shades of Blue is a nice option.)

When you're done writing up the survey, click Email this form to send it to your customers. The recipients will receive a link that takes them to an online version of the survey -- but don't worry, there's no sign-in nor even a Google account required. And the results are collected anonymously.

You can view customer responses in a chart-like summary, or access the raw data in a spreadsheet. Either way, it should provide all the basic info you need. (If you need more in the way of analytics, or want a survey you can embed on your site, try something like the aforementioned SurveyMonkey.)

The Google Docs solution is ridiculously easy -- I was able to put together a simple five-question survey in about 10 minutes -- and it costs nothing. If you know of a better option, by all means tell me about it in the comments.

If you're looking for a solution to your business problem, we can help! Send your questions to
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