Crowdsource Your Idea with Survey Forms

Written by Anne-Marie Williams on May 13, 2013

Posted in Form Hacks

You’ve heard the expression, “Two heads are better than one.” Well how about hundreds of heads, or thousands even? Now that you have a really weird visual going on, let’s talk about crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is a popular way to find out what your customer (or future customer) is interested in and to make sure your efforts are on the right path.

Why Crowdsource?

Crowdsourcing unleashes the power of collaboration and draws upon not only the strengths of those within your organization, but the ideas, talents and opinions of those in your network as well. Crowdsourcing will enable you to broadcast your idea to a large and diverse audience – using cloud tools (such as Formstack!) – and ask them to contribute ideas and solutions.

Crowdsourcing is not only powerful, but it’s smart. It has proven to be an effective way to engage customers, and it mirrors something most of us are already very comfortable with: social networking. The explosion of social media has changed the way we communicate with each other, so why not change the way you communicate with your customers?

How do I Crowdsource?
In order to crowdsource, you will need a smart way to collect and manage data. Sound familiar? A Formstack survey form posted on your website, shared across your social networking sites, or sent out in an email with a nice little note asking people to participate, will make collecting responses easy and effective. You can use surveys to gather feedback on a customer’s past experiences, solve current dilemmas, and plan for the future.

  • Be Clear – to make sure your responses don’t spin out of control and off topic (squirrel!) you must provide a clear purpose. This not the forum for open-ended consumer feedback. Instead, be specific when asking for input. Writing Yes/No (True/False) or multiple choice questions forces the user to decide and provides you with more focused, concrete data.

The best way to build these questions is to use Radio Buttons, Checkboxes, or Select Lists and make each question required. If you want to provide a little more room for further suggestions, you may consider adding a Long Answer field at the end.

Here is an example of a simple, but effective, customer feedback survey. If you are a Formstack customer you can copy this form straight into your account – pretty cool, huh?

  • Be Diverse – Research shows that the more diverse an audience, the more creative the solution. In fact, those with the least expertise in an area are often free to solve a problem with a fresh perspective and an open mind. So get that form out to as many people as you can, and don’t leave anyone out! The best information may come from the least likely source.
  • Be Simple – Avoid anything that is too long or too complicated. People will lose interest early and often! Participation will be low if the form is seen as boring or cumbersome, so make it short and sweet.
  • Be Cool – Have some FUN! We try to put a little of our personality in everything we do here at Formstack. So what’s your company personality? Don’t be afraid to build it into your form (how do you really talk?) and if you can, throw in an incentive for those that participate. Free t-shirt anyone?

Now What?
Be prepared! When you ask for a mass of information, there is the potential for mass chaos. With Formstack you will be able to easily sift through all your responses and start using them, by searching in the Submissions tab, creating and sharing charts/reports and exporting data. So the next time you need to come up with the next great marketing campaign, product innovation or problem solution – crowdsource the answer with Formstack!