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Best free online survey tools

Need to take a quick snapshot of customer opinion? Barry Collins rates three online survey services

SurveyMonkey 

Rating: 3 stars

SurveyMonkey is perhaps the best known online survey tool out there, and it integrates smoothly with a range of other business services, most notably mailing lists managed in MailChimp (despite the simian similarities, they are two separate companies).

Consequently, it's tighter with its free accounts than KwikSurveys. Freeloaders can only send surveys with a maximum of ten questions, and can only collect a maximum of 100 responses. Certain features are restricted too, such as question logic (if answer is x, go to question y).

Creating forms in SurveyMonkey is largely straightforward, although a couple of the more advanced question types could do with a little more on-screen explanation. However, it offers a greater range of question types than either of its two rivals here, and the design of the survey forms is the model of restrained professionalism, certainly the most visually impressive of the three.

SurveyMonkey is the only service here that, by default, blocks the same user from filling out the same survey multiple times, logging IP addresses to prevent mischievous respondents from distorting the results. The tools for attracting respondents are equally sophisticated, with the option to embed the survey into a business's Facebook Page looking particularly smart. 

Its reporting is largely superb, too, although we found its default choice of chart was occasionally wayward. Thankfully, it's easy to change the chart types, but if you want to export the data to Excel or other programs, you'll have to upgrade to one of the premium accounts.

In summary, SurveyMonkey provides just enough free tools to send short surveys to a limited number of customers, but the free accounts are clearly intended as teasers to tempt you to upgrade. If you want richer survey features or to hit a larger audience without paying for the privilege, KwikSurveys is a better option. 

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