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How to Choose the Right Online Survey Tool: The Ultimate Guide

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Market research 04 12
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The availability of choice in the market can understandably put you in a tough spot in the quest to find online survey tools that fulfill all your research needs at the right cost. 

A bad choice of survey tool can hold you back from expanding your business potential. You need to look through all aspects of an online survey software – an integrated survey platform, robust survey builder, online survey panel, multimedia survey distribution and data collection, customized templates, and advanced analytics and reporting.

We’ve put together this comprehensive guide that will help you select a survey software that will help you filter out survey tools and select the one that suits your research needs.

Prerequisites to consider while looking for an online survey tool

Before you start looking for a survey platform or decide which one to use, create a checklist of your own survey needs. Here are some of the factors you need to consider while you are in the process of adopting or shifting over to a new survey software

 

  1. Frequency of conducting surveys.
  2. Integration between survey data & customer data.
  3. Analytics & reporting.
  4. DIY & professional help.

Frequency of surveying

Are you looking to conduct a one-time survey and be done with it? Or are you looking for a survey software that allows you to conduct multiple surveys?

 

You may choose to conduct a survey after every interaction with customers. These types of surveys, known as transactional surveys, are usually designed to gather customer feedback and perception of the brand after a particular interaction. 

 

Long-term surveys or relational surveys have a standard frequency and so are based on consistency- monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Companies send out surveys to their customers after fixed periods of time to gauge customer journeys and their overall experience with the brand. 

 

The underlying idea here is to look for online survey tools based on your frequency needs. 

 

If you plan to conduct relational surveys, simple online survey software is all you need. However, if you are looking to conduct professional surveys at a more frequent rate, you will need an advanced survey software platform. 


Note: A complete survey solution is the best option when you have to conduct complex surveys and reach a wider audience. It will allow you to automatically trigger survey invitations to a set list, instead of you having to do it manually.

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Integrations

Companies do not enter into survey research with a completely blank slate. The segmentation and profiling exercises every company conducts equip them with a good amount of information about their customers. It is the undiscovered characteristics that the company looks to uncover. 

Look for an integrated survey software that allows you to combine internal and external data. 

There are two ways you can connect the survey data you collect using online survey tools to your CRM data.

  1. You can combine the survey responses to your existing customer data after the survey. This way you can have all the customer data in a unified place. You can pull the data you want to analyze internally without having to share any information with the software provider. This way you have complete control over the data. 
  2. You can choose to combine the data from the start by transferring your existing customer data to the survey software. 

Many online survey software are offering both the capability to give users the control and freedom to enjoy all the advanced features to create a good survey and conduct any research no matter how they choose to integrate their CRM. 

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Analytics and Reporting

You’ve collected all the information you needed. Now, what?

The idea behind any survey or data collection mechanism is to analyze the collected information to satisfy follow-up decision-making. The availability of advanced tools for evaluating quantitative and qualitative data in addition to professionals with the right knowledge for picking the right tools and carrying out the necessary processes is a must. 

Without the proper data analysis, your collected information will have no applicability. Features like real-time monitoring and reporting, support and assistance with all data formats (SPSS, SAS, Excel, Triple S, Dimensions, CSV files), and an integrative data visualization mechanism is needed.

The end users who will need the information have to be kept in mind while choosing online survey tools. Not everyone will be able to grasp the insights highlighted equally. A standard presentation tool that fits the needs of all stakeholders benefits the company in improving decision-making based on a holistic understanding of current market trends.

So a simple survey design might ask for nothing more than data analytics and line chart presentations. In this case, look for online survey software that provides basic analytics & reporting at a competitive price. 

On the other hand, a highly complex survey using advanced logic functions might call for enhanced evaluation using cross tabs, stat tests, dashboards, and word clouds, among others. For this, a full-blown survey software with automated analytics features and interactive reporting tools is your best bet.

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DIY + Professional Help:

Sometimes all you need is a survey platform that puts all the necessary features to conduct professional surveys under one umbrella. 

But it is also important that the survey software vendor offers professional help to onboard you as painlessly as possible and extend support whenever you need it. 

To create a good survey, you should look for an online survey software that offers professional support to help you seamlessly onboard & enables you to create beautiful and engaging surveys on your own. 

The right online survey tool should be one that 

  • Offers a user-friendly interface for creating surveys. 
  • Offers professional service to ensure the quality of surveys. 

Poorly designed surveys can discourage respondents from expressing genuine views, reduce data reliability, and make the surveying process ineffective. Creating a survey is not just about collecting what is needed. For a successful survey, the respondent mustn’t lose interest while filling out the survey. 

Following are some of the survey tips you want to incorporate when creating surveys on your own. 

  • Maintaining a flow of questions from general to specific. 
  • Keeping the survey length concise while covering the key assessment areas. 
  • Choosing the right question types. 
  • Keeping the survey unbiased. 
  • Correct framing of questions to avoid ambiguity. 
  • Asking for open-ended comments and follow-ups.
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Tip: See customers’ reviews of the online survey software

You are not the first customer, and you won’t be the last. Customer feedback is meant not only for companies to improve their functioning but also for prospective customers to better understand their choice of platforms. 

Look at how other customers talk about the software you have shortlisted. Other customers might have similar needs that overlap with your own. Studying these can help gain perspective and compare the performance of different online survey tools. 

 

Customer reviews are the most genuine reflection of the customer experience that is readily available. Try to conduct a qualitative analysis of such open-ended comments to grasp the general public sentiment about the platform and narrow your options to pick the right survey tool.

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The right online survey tool should offer end-to-end service

Your research requirement is not only to create a good survey. It includes all aspects that precede the research procedure. You also need to worry about – how to conduct a survey, how to analyze the results, and how to share the report with the stakeholders, executives, and everyone else. 

Online survey tools that specialize in particular functions only are not capable of serving diversified needs. This can land the company in strife. 

The company must look for an integrated platform where pin-to-plane needs are met. 

  • Advanced survey design 
    • Multiple questions
    • Advanced logic
    • Multilingual surveys
    • White-label – branded surveys
  • Pre-build survey template library
  • Robust survey distribution 
    • Email
    • Social Media
    • SMS
    • Web
  • Real-time reporting and monitoring technology
    • Role-based dashboard 
  • Advanced data privacy and security provisions 
    • Encrypted survey links
  • Advanced data analysis 
  • Easy export and presentation support

Questions to ask yourself when selecting an online survey software

A complete assessment of every platform on these bases will help condense down your plethora of choices to single out the online survey tools that pay heed to your specific needs. 

We have prepared a small list of questions you can use to evaluate any survey software based on your survey requirements. Here’s a list of questions that can come in handy:

  • Would you like access to a question template library?
  • Do you need extra support in getting started?
  • What level of support will you need for implementation and beyond?
  • Do you want to analyze your survey data against other business metrics (e.g., sales data)?
  • What channels are you looking to distribute your survey through?
  • What type of customization are you looking for?
  • Do you need your panel of respondents hand-picked for you?
  • What analysis and graphical presentation techniques are key to the success of your research?

Let’s wrap

This concludes all that you need to consider while looking for the right online survey tool. 

All online survey software may seem similar, however, once you start scrutinizing minor details you will see the difference between all the tools

After shortlisting the online survey tools make sure to get a personalized demo and ask as many questions to ensure the platform is worth your resource.

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