When Choosing a Survey Solution, These 6 Factors Make a Big Difference

March 1, 2017

Shopping for survey software is time consuming, especially when you need a platform that goes beyond basic checkbox question types and excels at advanced data collection and in-depth analysis.

To find the best software for your organization in less time, it helps to establish what problem or project needs to be solved. By thinking of your problem first, you’ll be able to establish exactly which features you know you need and which features would be nice-to-have.


1. Have the Right Surveys and Question Types

Ask yourself: what kind of surveys are you looking to create? Or, even better, think about how much and what kind of data you are hoping to collect from your respondents.

There are so many different kinds of surveys. Are you looking to create customer service oriented surveys? How about surveys that help your Human Resources department create and administer reviews? If your product development team looking for a new way to create choice-based conjoint surveys? Or is the billing department looking for a way to integrate patent processing directly into their forms? A fully-featured survey platform can solve all of these problems without missing a step.

But not every survey platform really is fully featured. Look closely at each service’s offerings to ensure that you’re really getting the question types you need for your project to succeed.


2. Free Templates Get You on Your Feet Faster

Some survey platforms will also provide templates for users that can help get survey projects off the ground faster. If you’re looking to create a particular kind of survey, these templates can be a big help for getting your project off the ground faster.

Templates should be fully customizable, so your team can adjust questions and answer options to fit with your brand’s voice and your customers’ needs.


3. Ease of Use: Survey Success Right Out of the Box

While this can be difficult to judge without jumping straight into the program, you and your team will want to have an idea of how quickly users will be able to pick up the new software.

Can’t try your survey software before you buy? Reach customer reviews on sites like G2Crowd and check out demos and case studies for clues. Contrary to popular belief, getting the most from an advanced data collection tool does not mean you need an advanced degree.

A well designed program will be user friendly and offer plenty of resources to help you succeed, including a robust library of help documentation and options for contacting customer support for those days when you are running into roadblocks and difficulties.

Your survey platform shouldn’t have you pulling out your hair.

4. Advanced Training Options That Fit Your Schedule

While a survey platform should be easy to use right out of the box, even pros can benefit from a little extra help when it comes advanced features and customizations. The best online survey tools will offer some form of training programs. Consider these resources, which go above and beyond help documentation, as continuing education for your survey success.

Training options can include pre-recorded tutorials and webinars, but also private online or in-person trainings that are tailored to your particular project and the needs of your team members.  Conference-style trainings, where people from multiple different companies come together to learn, are another great option.

Often, organizations will purchase a tool for one use, then realize that the same account could be used for other purposes with a little extra work. The same platform that can be used for product feedback, for example, could be integrated with Salesforce to track leads and current customers. If your team isn’t already familiar with integrations, you want to ensure that the resources exist to help them implement the next step of your survey system.

Whichever survey tool you choose, ensure that the people who will be using it on a day to day basis will have access to the resources they need to continuously improve your surveys. In many cases, this includes training and advanced topics.


5. Integrations, Customizations, and Software That Goes Beyond Q&A

If your organization is going to invest in a software platform, you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck. Survey services that go beyond simple surveys make it easier to connect your data with the other software services you use through integrations and automations.

In some cases, integrating your survey platform, automating systems, and building custom solutions that fit your needs can even replace tools, saving you and your organization thousands of dollars every year.

Don’t believe me? See how Dish Network used their survey platform to build an entire ecosystem, including custom travel data, learning management system, and scheduling. All with surveys and a custom-built integration with Tableau.


6. Be on the Lookout for Hidden Costs

Some survey tools limit how many surveys you can create at one time, or they charge extra per respondent. These hidden costs add up quickly, so make sure you know what you’re paying for when you sign a contract or create an account with a survey service. There’s nothing more frustrating that realizing you have to go over your initial project budget to get the results you need.

At Alchemer, we want you to get the most from your account. We never charge extra for more surveys or completed survey responses.

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