Learn about your customers with SurveyMonkey

Expanding Your App-titude is now Tech Tools, a name that better reflects the goal of reviewing technology that can help CPAs.
By Greg LaFollette, CPA/CITP, CGMA


More and more companies are proactively seeking input from their customers. Why? Because it's good business to know your clients. With that in mind, I went looking for technology tools a busy practitioner might employ to gather such data.

The good news is that the genre is rich with offerings. Among them are names such as Qualtrics, SurveyGizmo, and SoGoSurvey. But this column focuses on the product that has the most name recognition among small and midsize companies.

SurveyMonkey is a web-based tool that allows you to launch customized online surveys for a poll, competitive analysis, or customer feedback. The platform is attractive, intuitive, and easy-to-use, and it lets you tailor surveys to your defined audience.

SurveyMonkey offers automated and advanced features designed to help users conduct different types of surveys and get real-time results. The app can then analyze the data and produce reports that can be shared in multiple formats, giving teams the power to make data-driven decisions to better manage the business.

SurveyMonkey's extensive question bank offers customizable questions with different types, such as client satisfaction, employee feedback, event analysis, market research, etc. Users also can add questions as needed.

Creating a survey is quite easy. Icons are labeled, and each option provides a short description of the type of question and how it appears and operates in a survey. During the creation phase, the survey appears on the page, so you can see it being built as you add questions and make edits. Available question types include single answer, multiple answer, rating scales, Likert scale ("Do you agree or disagree?"), matrix, dropdown, open-ended, and demographic. Each question can be set to require an answer or to allow the respondent to skip it. Available answers to multiple, dropdown, and matrix questions can be randomized to eliminate placement bias. Finally, questions can be "nested," allowing entire sections to be presented or hidden based on the answer to a particular question.

This survey builder offers net promoter scores and skip-page logic. With advanced subscription levels, you can customize surveys by choosing colors, formatting text, and adding your own branding.

When you've completed a survey, distribution is straightforward. You can generate a link for sharing via email or social media, or you can send an email directly from the SurveyMonkey platform. Finally, you can embed a survey into your website.

Survey data can be shared across teams within organizations with a single account. The product, which claims to be HIPAA compliant, uses an encrypted survey platform. Data security is validated by TRUSTe and Norton.

Support is provided via email and prioritized based on the subscription level. There is a detailed FAQs page, a searchable help center, and a blog that includes tips on how to build better surveys and ways to improve engagement.

  • Website: surveymonkey.com
  • Operating systems: Web, iOS, Android
  • Cost: Beyond a very limited free account (basic plan), paid options for individuals, teams, and enterprises cost from $32 to $99 per month with discounts available for students and educators. For more information, go to surveymonkey.com/pricing.

Greg LaFollette, CPA/CITP, CGMA, is a strategic adviser with CPA.com, the commercial subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Jeff Drew, a JofA senior editor, at Jeff.Drew@aicpa-cima.com.

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