iStock_000007855241XSmallSurveys can be a great way to mine valuable insight from your customers and potential customers. With surveys you can:

  • Prioritize features on forthcoming revisions of your product.
  • Discover unmet needs and match the language of your users for better conveying your value proposition.
  • Connect with your users more deeply and solicit their feedback so they know you take their input seriously.
  • Validate your hypotheses about your business before engaging expensive resources.

Every organization stands to benefit from having better insight from querying their stakeholders. There are many great SaaS-based options available but the trouble is that they bill monthly for a service which you may only need a few days per month.

Here is a technique you can use that gives you an easy and affordable way to conduct surveys in which you pay only for the days that you’re running them. It requires a small time investment up front to learn how to launch an instance on Cloud Gear but once you know the technique you can use it not just for surveys but any of the other tools in the JumpBox library. Here’s how it works:

  1. Launch a LimeSurvey instance on Cloud Gear. If it’s your first time with that service you can signup here for free and watch a brief intro video to get an orientation.
  2. Next you’ll want to watch the Ramp Up video for LimeSurvey to get the fundamentals of the application for conducting your first survey.
  3. Now you’ll author the survey, publish it and invite your participants. At the conclusion of your survey analyze your results online and export them to excel so you have an archived copy.
  4. As a last step it’s a good idea to use the JumpBox backup mechanism to download the state of your JumpBox. This way you can always spin up a new instance later and inject your data back into it or download the JumpBox and run further analyses offline.

The monthly services tend to have slightly more-polished user interfaces but this technique is great if you:

  • have concerns about privacy of your data
  • are in cost-cutting mode and looking for ways to trim IT expenditures
  • need custom functionality or design in your survey tool

This is just another post in a series of ideas to help you save precious IT dollars during lean times.