Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and later have a polling functionality enabled. On reviewing this tool against our requirements for surveys, we found that it is best used for internal polls, instead of surveys to a large group of people in a database.
There are a few reasons for this:
- The functionality does not work in a mail merge (mail merges are done through Word, the voting functionality is only in Outlook), so there is no way to address each recipient by name personally.
- If sent to a large group of people in a purchased database, it would violate the Spam Act and potentially other privacy laws (for sharing someone's email address without authorisation)
- It allows voting for only one question
Building the poll:
- Create a new email
- Click on the Options tab > Use Voting Buttons
- They have the standard options such as Yes, No and Maybe. To create your own, click on Custom
- Under Voting and Tracking, type in your options separated by only semi colons (no space)
- Type in the message in the email and the subject accordingly
- Send the email
Responding to the poll:
- Open the email
- The top left button will be Vote instead of Reply
- Clicking on Vote will display the options of the poll
- Choose one of the options
- A message will pop up to send the response
Tracking results of the poll:
- Open the email containing the poll in Sent Items
- Click on Tracking next to Message
- The page shows a tally along with respondents and their votes
The tool is designed to be used as a simple polling functionality within emails. Therefore, it is best use for internal communication and polls within groups of people who know one another. It cannot serve the same purpose as a survey-orientated tool such as Survey Monkey.