Data is king in today’s digital world. Whether you’re a small online retailer or an enterprise manager with hundreds of employees, data about customers and operations keeps you in control of the direction of your business.
How do you get this information? Survey software makes it simple to create, distribute, collect and analyze information in order to spot trends and make smarter business decisions.
Speaking of smart decisions, this guide offers an overview of these systems so that you have all the necessary details to choose the best survey solution for your needs. We’ll cover:
Survey software is used by a variety of businesses to gather data on all kinds of groups: employees, customers (both new and former) or consumers. And the systems often allow users to create surveys and forms targeting specific segments.
Surveys can collect responses from individual consumers, business professionals with specific job titles, people within certain age ranges who are also apartment renters—services are available to help find these specific audiences to gain the type of research data you need.
No matter how simple or complex your survey, software is customizable enough to ensure you can build the appropriate survey and receive the right kind of data.
Survey software isn’t overflowing with features, but the functionality offered is highly flexible and customizable. Here are the common features included in most modern solutions:
The core of the software, survey builders offer a wide variety of tools to hone your survey structure to get the most useful information. Multiple question types, including single answer, choose-all-that-apply, open form responses, matrix selections and rating scales, are among those available.
Arrange questions to exclude certain respondents or to branch questions based on specific answers, or craft a quiz that automatically calculates a score. Then customize the images, logos and other branding so your forms are consistent with your other marketing materials.
Several options are available to protect response data, identifying information and prevent fraudulent responses.
Add passwords and timers, authenticate through Facebook or Twitter, prevent multiple submissions based on IP addresses and offer anonymity for survey takers.
Once your survey is built, you can launch it in various ways—sharing a custom URL, automatic posting on social media with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn integrations or through email with connections to your email marketing system.
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Most modern survey systems are capable of delivering results in real-time so you can gauge the effectiveness of your surveys quickly.
Then, once all your data is collected, software offers tools to dissect the information the way you want: by age or gender, by location, or filter and cross-tabulate multiple questions to identify trends you can use to make better business decisions.
For surveys designed to gather data on a random set of consumers, for example, survey software vendors can find the appropriate respondents and return results within days. Users can specify the location of respondents worldwide or other demographic factors.
Some vendors also offer services to help users improve their questions or survey structure so that you get the best data in the least amount of time.
The types of features you need in survey software depends on your industry and application. Here are some common uses by industry:
Many top vendors include pre-made templates for these purposes, so you can quickly launch and close surveys to improve your business.
Aside from specific features, survey software purchases include some other important decisions about how your data can be used and the level of support you need.
Integrations with other systems greatly expands the reach of your surveys and usefulness of your collected data, whether it’s sending forms embedded in email marketing or automatically analyzing open-ended survey responses. These integrations include:
Support and training needs vary based on how you use survey software. Vendors offer technical support to ensure the system works properly on your system, and training services are available, usually for an extra fee, so that you can get the most impact out of your surveys.
Survey software is generally offered in a web-based deployment, meaning users can purchase a license and immediately begin using the system without having to install anything on their own computers.
These online systems most often cost a flat fee based on different plans, increasing in cost as more features are added. And payments are made monthly on a subscription model. Some vendors may limit the number of surveys or forms created per month, or the number of users at a time, for certain plans, and most offer a free version, albeit with limited functionality.
Small to midsize companies can invest in web-based survey software with a smaller upfront cost compared to on-premise options, and can easily add new features as their survey needs increase.
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