Poll: Healthcare Companies Say Online Research Displacing Phone and Mail Research - Online Survey Leader Zoomerang Offers Top Ten Tips for Creating Effective Surveys

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The healthcare industry is changing the way it conducts research. According to a recent Zoomerang survey, healthcare companies are shifting from tradtional research methods to online research methods. Here are ten tips for creating effective online surveys.

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Healthcare companies and organizations say online research, one of the most affordable and effective marketing tactics, is displacing phone and mail research, according to a recent Internet survey by Zoomerang, maker of the leading global online survey software.

Based on the study, more than three in five healthcare industry professionals involved in online research (63%) report shifting from paper or mail research to the Internet. In addition, nearly 2 in 5 (37%) are moving away from phone research in favor of online research.*

Zoomerang Vice President and General Manager Paula Rivers explains, "Healthcare professionals are shifting from traditional research methods towards online research because, simply put, it makes great business sense. They are realizing that the tool can potentially expand their ability to make informed decisions and help grow revenue, lower costs and increase productivity."

Among those healthcare professionals in the survey who are benefiting from productivity gains, more than 2 in 5 (43%) say that productivity has increased by more than 20% over the previous year. Also, among those who are benefiting from cost savings, nearly 3 in 5 (59%) report lowering costs by 10% or more over the previous year. Similar trends are cited among those who are benefiting from increased revenues.

Online survey usage has penetrated 20% of the healthcare sector and is growing steadily among adopters. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of health care industry professionals involved with online surveys report increased usage of this technique over the previous year.

Online surveys are an easy way for industry decision-makers to obtain the feedback they need to help them make critical decisions. Through online surveys, healthcare organizations large and small can query their customers about their satisfaction with care or services, accomplish a host of human resources-related functions or even obtain feedback about education and training efforts.

Top Ten Tips

Obtaining quality feedback means asking the right questions. Here are 10 tips from market leader Zoomerang for creating effective surveys:

1. Clearly define the purpose of your survey.

Spend time up front to plan objectives. For example, you might want to find out if your customers are satisfied with your company’s service.

2. Keep the survey short and focused.

It shouldn’t take a respondent more than 10 minutes to complete a survey, so it’s generally better to focus on a single objective.

3. Keep the questions simple.

Make sure your respondents will understand the questions. Don’t make the questions complex and avoid the use of jargon.

4. Used closed-ended questions whenever possible.

Closed-ended questions make it easier to analyze results and can take the form of yes/no, multiple choice or a rating scale.

5. Keep rating scale questions consistent.

If you use rating scales – for example, rating customer service on a scale from 1 to 5 - keep them consistent and make sure the meanings of high and low remain the same.

6. Make sure your survey flows in a logical order.

Start with the broader-based questions, later moving to those that are narrower in scope, and make sure that one questions naturally leads into another.

7. Pre-test your survey.

Before launching your survey, be sure to pre-test it with a few members of your target audience to help you uncover glitches and unexpected question interpretations.

8. Schedule your survey by taking the calendar into account.

Keep in mind that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to deploy your survey—you'll generate more responses than if you send it out on one of the other four days.

9. Offer an incentive for responding.

Incentives typically boost response rates by an average of 50%. However, if you do decide to offer an incentive, be sure to keep it appropriate in scope.

10. Consider using reminders.

While not appropriate for all surveys, sending out reminders to those who haven't yet responded can often provide a significant boost to your response rates.

About Zoomerang

Zoomerang is the leading online survey software and the most popular tool around the globe for obtaining vital feedback at rapid-fire speed. Since its 1999 debut, it has quickly gained momentum, growing a "fan base" of users in over 200 countries worldwide. To date, over 1 million Zoomerang surveys have been launched and over 27 million responses recorded.

Zoomerang customers range from multinational corporations to small businesses and nonprofits. DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and United Way are just a few of its many high-profile clients. Zoomerang is owned by MarketTools, Inc., a leading provider of full-service, online market research services headquartered in Mill Valley, California. For more information on Zoomerang go to http://www.zoomerang.com.

*Zoomerang deployed this survey in May 2005 via e-mail to healthcare professionals nationwide. The results for the overall sample have a sampling error of plus or minus 7.43 percentage points.

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Pamela Ardizzone
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