It is 2021. Yes. But there will never come a time when getting feedback from your customers will go out of trend. Online surveys are a popular data collection channel where a set of questions are sent to the recipients and their responses are taken. These responses are then used according to the feedback that has been received. Earlier, such surveys were sent in the form of paper questionnaires. It was time-consuming, costly and nowhere near effective as online surveys.
The traditional surveys were papers that were distributed to the target audience. Thanks to the difficulty in reaching thousands of people, the survey size will usually be low. The entire exercise involves printing the survey paper questions, handing it to people, waiting for them to respond and then collecting the surveys. Not only does this take a lot of man-hours, but it is also a deeply time-guzzling process. Unfortunately, there was no other recourse available during those times. Today, we have online survey tools using which you can send surveys instantly, get real-time responses and even look at them in various visual representations.
If you are looking for the best survey software in the market, there are many options to choose from, SurveySparrow is one that has a lot of advanced features in its kitty. These days, businesses and researchers use online survey tools predominantly to get feedback from customers.
What is an online survey tool?
These are software solutions that allow businesses to send different types of surveys through different channels like email, website, or via an app. There are free survey software as well as paid ones, depending on your requirement, budget and urgency. If you are looking to choose the best survey software, then it is imperative that you work with a few of them to understand if they are in line with what you expect.
You can send an online survey at any instant. It can even be programmed in such a way that a customer who has just made a purchase from you is sent a survey where you ask the person about the kind of experience they had during the buying process. Do you want to know how your customer service agents fared while dealing with a customer? Send an online survey for feedback after a service call.
Here are some of the most important features in an online survey tool.
Best survey software feature #1. Embedded surveys
With the help of embedded surveys, you will be able to keep your customers on your website. It is a great experience for the customer because they won’t have to open a new window to complete the feedback survey. By not using embedded surveys, you are forcing your customers to move to a different page/site which can drastically reduce the completion rates as well. Embedded surveys are also a great way to get lead generation done. When you are looking to choose the best survey software, this should be one feature that you should not forego.
Best survey software feature #2. Recurring Surveys
Let’s say you want to check with your customer every month or quarterly about a particular use case, having to do it manually can be too much. With the help of recurring surveys, you can schedule your surveys in such a way that it will go to them based on the time you’ve sent. All you need to do is finish the survey body and then you are good to go. Having an automated recurring survey feature is the hallmark of one of the best survey software in the market.
Best survey software feature #3. Logic Branching
Not everyone of your customers is going to find all the questions useful. Branching logic is the feature which ensures that only the relevant questions are sent to the respondent. In other words, the respondent is not shown certain questions based on how they have responded to the previous questions. It saves a lot of time for the respondent and helps in increasing the survey completion rate.
By using advanced levels of conditional/logic branching, you will be able to hide or show questions or pages. With the help of this feature, you will be able to send the same survey to different types of customer segments.
Best survey software feature #4. Segmentation
Dividing your customers based on different characters like age, designation, address, shopping patterns, etc. is called segmentation. It is the corner-stone of every good marketing plan. If you don’t segment your customers, you will end up targeting everyone, which is a loss for you. By segmenting, you will know which are the customers who are looking for product A while also understanding that product B might not be suitable at all for the same audience. This clarity will help with developing products, changing your positioning, and so on.
Best survey software feature #5. 3rd party integrations
Every online tool out there requires integrations with 3rd party tools so that it can function at its best. You will be able to eliminate redundancy, share data and do other things with the help of integrations. With the help of a full-featured API, you will be able to integrate your survey anywhere. While all online survey software provides 3rd party integrations, the level of integration options that are made available determine if they are one of the best survey software in the market.
Best survey software feature #6. Dedicated support
The usefulness of a dedicated customer success manager is often undermined. We think that there are things which are easy for everybody, that may not be the case with all the people. Having a dedicated customer support team implies that all your worries will be instantly heard and a resolution for the same will be available without much ado. If there is a problem that occurs, you require help and if it takes forever to get prompt customer support, then you will certainly not like it.
A customer success manager will also be someone who sends weekly reports about how the online survey software has been used. They will tell you about the best practices that you must follow, and will give you tips on how to get the most out of the product.
Best survey software feature #7. Dashboard
The kind of dashboard and the visual options that is presented to the business is important. The success of online surveys depend on the subsequent effort that you put in tending to the customer feedback. If the online survey software that you are looking for provides you with a rich dashboard that comes along with visual elements and analytics. Why? Only then will you be able to understand what the data means and work accordingly.
Best survey software feature #8. Segmented Reports
You need to compare different sets of customers based on their unique characteristics. We mentioned in the article that this is called segmentation and it is pivotal for your marketing and communication departments, especially. If the free survey software allows you to segment the feedback in terms of reports, you will be able to get deeper insights into these behaviors. For example, are more customers from a particular area paid customers than free customers? You should find what is the ‘X’ factor that tilts the favor in your balance when they are looking for the best survey software.
Best survey software feature #9. Offering different types of answers
Imagine getting a survey where each of the answers require the respondent to write two lines. You can certainly imagine the survey completion rates hovering around single digits, isn’t it? Offer different types of answers to your respondents, not only will it reduce the monotony, but it will also keep them alert.
Here are some of the different types of answer formats that you can offer: checkboxes, radio buttons, single line answers, short paragraphs, arrange in ascending/descending order, multiple choice answers, etc.
Best survey software feature #10. Auto Save
One of your survey respondent has taken 20 minutes on it and is almost there at its fag end. The respondent’s laptop crashes, and the entire survey goes off. How would they feel? It is a loss to you as well. Check for autosave as an essential feature so that none of your respondents have to face something like this. An autosave feature has the ability to save the survey without having to start it from scratch again.
Benefits of using online survey software
There are a gazillion benefits associated with using online survey software to collect customer feedback. Let us look at some of the compelling reasons why most businesses Google ‘best survey software; so that they can choose one for their business:
1. Ease of use
Sending an online survey software is profitable for a business and it is extremely easy for the user to complete them as well. It is a win-win for both the stakeholders. For businesses that send online surveys, they can send data with the click of a button and get real-time results, using which tough and necessary business decisions can be made.
For the respondents, it is a life-saver when compared with traditional methods of collecting feedback. It saves countless hours for the customers. They can complete the survey at a time and place that is convenient for them, since online surveys can be completed using one’s mobile phones.
2. Highly flexible
With online surveys, there is a lot of flexibility for the business that is creating the surveys. They can mix and match the questions, collaborate with other creators and add more questions from different places, create them in such a way that some questions can be skipped by the respondents, and so on. The freedom that an online survey software provides you is unparalleled. As we had mentioned earlier, the best survey software can let you customize the online survey as much as possible.
3. Extremely fast
The only job that takes up a lot of time during the process of survey creation is drafting the right questions. After this, it entirely depends whether you are using an online survey tool or going the traditional route. If you are going to use an online survey software, it takes a few seconds for the entire process, starting from uploading the questions, sending the survey and for it to land on your customer’s email inbox or the desired place.
As soon as the respondent completes the survey, it will be immediately available on your online survey tool’s dashboard where you can go through the answers manually and once you have a lot of responses, you can look at them visually to get more insights. The transition from traditional survey taking to online surveys have almost been like magic.
4. Increased response rates
Since online surveys are easy for the respondent to complete, the chances of a high response rate are usually there. It is convenient, which just adds to the magic. Respondents can take their own time when they have been sent an online survey. While capturing the attention of your audience enough to get them to open the survey link and complete them is a lot, if you can do it effectively, your response rates will skyrocket. Invest in a sturdy online survey software and take time to draft the right questions, you will be able to get the most from this exercise.
5. Real-time access
Imagine this scenario. There has been a PR disaster and you are trying to find ways to address this issue. You send an online survey to your customers hoping to understand their psyche surrounding the events that transpired for you. The PR fiasco is embarrassing and has reduced your goodwill drastically. You do not want to respond rashly, so the best thing you can think of is to know what customers have in mind and react accordingly.
After you draft the questions, you can send it to in-app visitors, your email newsletter subscribers, your customers, etc. You will have the results as soon as they respond back to the survey. Since you’ve sent the survey to different segments of customers, you can immediately understand how the gravity of the situation has affected your customers and you will be in a position to make intelligent moves.
6. Send reminders
While sending online surveys, you can even track who has opened your emails. Using this data, you can send them reminders to complete the surveys. Most people who don’t mind completing the survey will tell themselves that they will do it later. A little prodding from your side in the form of a reminder email can do the trick. The best way to send reminder emails is to send one on the 3rd day, wait for three days and send the next one. Wait a week more if they haven’t still completed it, and then let them be. You can easily increase the response rates this way.
7. Close the feedback loop
One of the most important benefits of online surveys is that you can close the feedback loop. All you need to do is ask a few followup questions and take the answers seriously. By closing the feedback loop, you show that you are respecting the opinion of your customers and care enough to necessitate changes that will make them happy. It will make the customer/respondent feel closer to your brand and it will reflect in how loyal they are to you as well. Brands that do not close the feedback loop will find themselves in an unfavorable position though.
8. Get actionable feedback
The results that you get from your online survey are not random opinions sent by your customers. They took the time to complete the survey hoping that you will take appropriate action. Using the ‘best survey software’ will not mean anything unless you make use of the data collected from the online survey exercise. Online surveys are a great platform for customers to present their honest thoughts and opinions.
9. Provide anonymity
There are times when you require information from respondents who want to stay anonymous for various reasons. For example, asking employees to respond to a feedback from the manager will be met with disdain if they don’t get the option to respond anonymously. If you don’t offer anonymous surveys, they are most likely to avoid saying anything negative for fear of a backlash which can put their jobs at stake.
10. Data Safety
The entire process of online survey data collection gives you control over the responses and results. The best survey software will give you permission to set-up password protected online surveys, host data on secure servers, create anonymous links, and so on. When compared with traditional survey methods, online survey software is much more sophisticated, safe and low risk. Not to forget that if someone steals the questionnaires, you lose the data forever (in traditional surveys), but for online surveys, all it takes is a second to create a copy of it.
Wrapping it up..
There are many online survey tools in the market, you need to choose one that is best for your business and its unique needs. Do remember this- searching for the best survey software shouldn’t be your goal. The quality of the survey depends on the online survey software and the questions that you ask, but the actual success of the survey depends on what you do with the data collected during the feedback process. If you do not close the feedback loop, the entire exercise will be a waste of time.
If you are looking for the best survey software, we have a recommendation in mind that we are making with your best interests in mind and a strong belief in our offering- SurveySparrow. Everything that you are looking for when you have ‘the best survey software’ in mind is a reality with us. Want to get on a call with our team to understand how we can help you?