Market research data can drive ROI in almost every aspect of your business, from product design to customer service, marketing, sales, and even operations. Customer expectations continue to rise, which means a solid understanding of your customer’s opinions, needs, wants, likes and dislikes should be a top priority for enterprises.
Online surveys are one of the most popular market research tools for gathering customer data related to your brand. They’re fast, flexible, and effective – and there are a plethora of options on the market. The right option for your company will depend on a number of factors.
To help you make the best decision, we’ve compiled a list of important questions to consider when evaluating online survey tools.
Will you be sending surveys on a weekly or monthly basis? There are a number of free options, but they are often limited in the number of question types and how many respondents you can send to. Other subscriptions may include a set number of surveys you can send per year or per month, while others offer unlimited use.
Most platforms offer basic question types including multiple choice, open-ended, and rating questions. If you need more complex question types like conjoint analysis, matrix, or logic jumps, you may need to look for a more sophisticated option.
Almost all online survey tools include some form of reporting. At the basic level, you will always be able to see individual responses to all questions, plus basic bar and pie charts for simple data visualization. You should also have the option to export data to a spreadsheet or PDF for further analysis.
Products with more advanced reporting capabilities may include additional measures such as averages, response count, and filtering of results based on responses to specific questions. If you’re doing detailed analysis or partnering with a market research consultant, you’ll want a tool with more customizable reporting options.
Like many subscription-based tech products, online survey platforms are often priced based on the number of users or “seats”. Other solutions may offer enterprise-wide usage, although typically at a higher pricing tier. Think carefully about which roles and departments will utilize the survey platform so you can choose the right pricing structure for your needs.
Appropriate survey question design is key to getting actionable, accurate data that you can put to good use. Do you have an in-house or outsourced team of trained researchers who will be using the tool, or will you need additional support to design and program surveys? Some online survey options have robust tech support, while others are completely self-service. It’s also important to consider the skill level of your in-house team, since some platforms are easier to program than others.
Depending on the complexity of your market research initiatives, you may or may not need to shop for advanced features. For example, do you need to automatically trigger surveys based on a customer’s purchase or send out gift cards to participants? If so, you may want to consider platforms that seamlessly integrate your CRM software and/or rewards partners.
Also, assess your needs when it comes to distribution features. Some platforms offer only direct “generic” links, while others include link tracking via platform so you can differentiate responses from Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.
Subscription fees for online survey tools range from free to thousands of dollars per year. Most products offer multiple pricing tiers – but be aware that key features or question types may not be available in lower pricing tiers. Thus, knowing your budget and your specific needs is a big factor in choosing the right online survey tool for your enterprise.
Online surveys have become an essential research tool for marketing, social, and customer experience teams. They can be used in tandem with qualitative tools like online focus groups, in-depth interviews, and shop-alongs or ethnographic research.
Have questions about using online survey tools to engage with your customers? Let’s chat!