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You Shouldn’t Pay for an Online Survey Tool Unless it Offers these Eight Features!

Indhuja Lal

Last Updated:  

2 January 2020

10 min read

The big picture is always better relied, be it business or personal life. Wouldn’t you agree?

Understanding the big picture would help you to fortify your business against any potential threats down the lane.  You could also foresee changing patterns in customer behaviors and factors that could influence your customers.

Sounds all good, right? So how will you get there? How will you obtain that magical bigger picture that could get your business fly in colors?

Surveys, of course!

Which is, in fact, a glorified term for crowdsourcing. Instead of asking your most trusted associates about the future goals of your company, you directly ask your customers. It saves you a lot of guessing time. Surveys are designed to be distributed to a chosen audience, asking questions relevant to you and the business. Customer Surveys helps you to measure customer satisfaction or to get opinion or information from potential or existing customers. It could be plain old customer feedback or the trendy market research. Likewise,  employee surveys are designed to help gauge the satisfaction levels of your employees.

You can employ a variety of techniques to collect this data, which when put together can help you get a long way. You could opt for one-on-one interviews or offline surveys, paper questionnaires or seek the help of the most popular online survey tool.

You might be having second thoughts about creating an online survey whenever you read an article that claims surveys are a waste of money and time. Let’s clear that up first before getting into the features of online survey tools that you should be looking out for.

95% of the customers share their bad experiences with their friends and you know how they connect with each other. Imagine a story of bad customer experience in your company going viral on social media. By the time you attend to it, it would have already caused you a mighty damage. People tend to depend on online reviews and star rating these days for everything from grocery shopping to banking.

95% of the customers share their bad experiences to their friends.

I know why you are still walking away from buying an online survey tool. Yes, the response rates are not motivating, probably.  The average response rate for email surveys is a dispiriting 24.8%! However, what you need to know is that it is not a fixed number. You could introduce new designs and strategies that are going to prompt people to fill them out. There are several myths surrounding the usage of online survey tools. But let me tell you, if done right, it could become the best thing that you bought.

When the respondents are motivated, we have seen a response rate as high as 85 %! Just because somebody failed to do the surveys right, doesn’t mean you would too. If given adequate thought and research into it, you can brew up your own online survey with success written all over it.

It is not enough that you buy the first online survey tool you come across. There is so many out there, you’ll find yourself tabulating and eliminating through them to find the online survey tool that panders to your specific requirements. Now, when you are going ‘Online Survey Tool’ shopping, make sure that it is equipped with these following 8 features that could completely change the game.

1. Logic Branching

Branching is using logic to ensure that certain questions appear only when certain conditions are met. It will let your respondent skip past questions that aren’t relevant to them, helping you to filter out the respondents irrelevant to your survey goals. It is a very crucial factor that encourages the participant to complete the survey.

Imagine it is a product survey feedback. If the user doesn’t own that particular product he would feel bored and leave the survey halfway annoyed. With branching, you can arrange the questions so that those concerning a particular product do not even appear in the survey of a user who is not familiar with that product.  With an online survey tool that offers an advanced level of branching, you get to hide or show questions or pages and customize error messages.

For example, you have a pet food company and you are conducting a survey regarding your products. You have to find out what kind of pet the respondent has and then give questions relevant to that. If it is a dog, the future questions should be of what breed or age or size it is. And if it is a cat they own you should give questions that are relatable to them. You can also deploy multiple branching and link the conditions or criteria to it.

Branching is an option that makes your survey versatile and accurate. You can satisfy all segments of participants with an effective logic branching in place.

2. Embedded Survey

You can easily take the link to the survey and post it anywhere on the internet. How do you make sure that the customers stay on your website? This is where your online survey tool should help you with an embedded survey method.

This gives the respondents a better experience to take the survey on your website rather than having to open a new window, especially when it is a website feedback survey. You can easily embed the survey on your website. You can also have an invitation to the survey pop up when the user visits a certain page on your website. To ensure that this wouldn’t kill the survey, you can condition the survey to start only when the user is provided a clickable call-to-action button.

Embedding survey on the website or product guarantee that the user is not taken away for filling out the surveys. This, in turn, promises you a higher completion rate. Another good news that embedded surveys bring to the table is the effortless lead generation. You get to strike up a conversation with anonymous visitors. You get to filter them out to know whether they are qualified leads.

And embedding surveys onto the website is not as tedious it sounds. Even a very non-technical person can do it. With an effortless survey tool, all you gotta do is copy and paste the embed code in your website’s code. This should be on the must-have list while choosing an online survey tool for your company.

3. Recurring Surveys

Scheduling surveys are the way to go when you have so much more tasks in your hands.

A recurring survey is a survey that can be scheduled to go out in a regular frequency. It is totally up to you to decide the frequency. The survey could be set to go out daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. An automated recurring survey could save a lot of time and helps you to improve the customer or employee satisfaction index. It should be definitely something that the Online survey tool should have.

78% of the employees said that being recognized motivates them to do their jobs, according to a research. Employees know your company inside out and you would gain you a lot of insights if only you care enough to listen to them. Employee turnover can hurt your company financially too. It is highly advised to keep these turnover rates under control. Most of the times you will never know that your employees are not very happy until you find that resignation mail in front of you. Conducting annual surveys might not prove to be very effective for these kinds of scenarios. It was found that the companies that implement regular feedback experienced 14.9 % lower turnover rates.

Scheduling surveys are the right way to go when you have many tasks in your hands. You can schedule the surveys to go at the pace you want and then sit back and relax or tend to other responsibilities without having to resort to alarms that remind you to send the surveys on time. This is a huge advantage and you will thank for it every day. Automated emails also ensure that all the non-active customers are reminded automatically aiding in to achieve a higher completion rate for your survey.

4. Personalization

How great would it be to have a survey that changes according to the survey-taker? Well, it is possible. 79% of the customers in a recent research said that they want the brands to know them on a personal level, thus providing them a tailored experience meant just for them. From email marketing to customer communications, companies are demanded to provide this personalization.

79% of the customers want the brands to provide them a tailored experience meant just for them.

Ranging from an email with the customer’s first name or an e-commerce site suggesting other products they might like, personalization has come a long way.  Asking relevant questions would make your surveys more compelling and short. This helps you to ask new questions or sometimes questions that need new answers. You would definitely annoy your customers if you ask them the same questions again and again. This would make you look careless and disorganized. Customer profiles are created along the way and the online survey tool should leverage this data to ask the right questions.

Other than making the customers feel special and appreciated, personalized surveys make the analysis much easier and hassle-free. You get relevant and accurate answers since these kind of surveys are more focused. You can make informed decisions and can better recognize new trends in the purchasing behaviors of your customers.

When 48% of the companies know the crucial role played by personalization, they don’t use it effectively. Personalized surveys are a tough challenge and this is why you need to make sure that the online survey tool that you have opted has what it takes to pull off something like this.

5. Multiple Channels to Collect Feedback

Getting to know how your product, service or company is perceived amongst the public is invaluable. The surveys guide your decision making and influence the future plans. If you are using an online survey tool to collect these data, relying on a single channel to collect this feedback is not enough. Apart from the most commonly used questionnaires, the online survey tool should also be efficient enough to collect feedbacks from website surveys and one-click email surveys.

The biggest challenge when it comes to surveys is the collection of data and analyzing it to shape meaningful information. The feedbacks collected from various channels such as from a website, email, mobile, or physical kiosks are aggregated. Encouraging such various feedback options makes it fuzz-free for the customers to share their experiences with your company. The 2016 NGCX Report claims 64% of companies have improved their customer services utilizing this multichannel approach. An accurate and precise idea about the customer experience within and across the channels would certainly help you to understand the trends and to stay up-to-date with the changing buying behaviors.

Be careful to not end up with heaps of soiled data, regardless of where your data comes from. You can expect this, especially with larger organizations. You are using different channels within different departments. If each department is using a different channel to collect feedback, insights, and information secured from one customer could be in multiple places in the same organization. It could lead to total chaos and prove to be strenuous to access data. Information is of no use if it is not actionable or accessible.

It is important to choose an online survey tool that offers multichannel feedback. When done correctly and methodically, this approach leads to improved response rates which can be further enhanced by automating the feedback program.

6. Dedicated Customer Success Manager

Having a dedicated Customer Success Manager can keep your survey alive for a longer time with an increased response rate. It can make you feel like a valued customer to have a dedicated person to reach out to at any point. I’d totally recommend that you check whether the online survey tool you selected offers one. Participation during the entire customer lifecycle is appreciated and expected from a company.

Close in hand is prompt customer support. Regardless of the plan you are in, you deserve to be helped out if you need assistance with a tool. Is the online survey tool notorious for ignoring customer queries or takes forever to get back to you? It can be very frustrating to not have active customer support when you need some.

Companies that implement regular feedback experienced 14.9 % lower turnover rates.

A Customer Success Manager receives usage reports weekly about customer behavior. When the usage is low, the manager gets in touch with the customer to understand why they are disengaged and do the needful to get them back into the stream. This would prove to be an incredible source of product input and helps you to create a set of best practices for the future.

They’ll get to the bottom of your obstacles and share with you the best practices to get the most out of your online survey tool.

7. Segmented Reports

Using segments in your reports would let you compare the data with other subgroups in the collected data. For example, you might need to compare responses recorded for males and females or age groups or other demographic characteristics. By default, segments are designed to be arranged in the order that they were created. But If you want to display your segments in a different order than this, an online survey tool that offers segmented reports will enable you to do so.

You can set up the segments using questions in your survey. You can add as many segments as you wish for. For example, if you wish to compare data between male and females, you will be asking the respondent to record their gender and then creating a segment for that question.

Many a time the respondents don’t complete the survey and leave it halfway. If you suspect the data to be different based on the response status, you can create segments for complete or partial responses and then compare the data.

In simpler words, segmented reports help the data to be pivoted globally for the whole report, or per individual element that you want to look into deeply.

8. Integrations

Integrations can be a life-saver! The Integration feature sported by the online survey tool simplifies the designing, implementing and analysis stages of a survey. You would be able to eliminate redundancy by integrating with a third party. You would be able to export data directly to services such as your dropbox without losing any information in between.

A full-featured API would indubitably integrate your survey into anything. API can be said as a way or channel for different apps to talk to each other. The main interaction with the API will be enabled through something called API access key. This is the way other apps can access your account without the password. And API call is used to fetch the survey responses for a survey based on the criteria provided.

There is another interesting integration feature called Webhooks. Webhooks allows you to be in contact with external web pages via the HTTP POST or HTTP GET standards. Webhooks action is used to retrieve the survey responses from these external web pages. In addition to all these, you have to also look out for some other important integration features that give hassle-free experiences such as Zapier Integrations, WordPress integration, and Google spreadsheets integration.

To each his own, I say. When you are out to choose an online survey tool, get one that lets you integrate it with your favorite apps.

Wrapping up!

There are a hundred other online survey tools out in the market. Choosing them because they are cheaper or has a million features listed is never a good enough reason to justify. How your survey is designed and deployed are totally owned by the online survey tool you choose.

Surveys represent your company. Do not make the mistake of turning it into a nightmare for your customer. Engaging surveys will be appreciated. The thoughts and efforts you have invested are clearly highlighted and there is nothing better than a customer who appreciates the lengths you went.

Go that extra mile and bag customer satisfaction. There is no other way than collecting feedback to get to the bottom of your customer’s perception about you. Know what your customer want, know where your shortcoming is, and know where you excel. Make informed and data-driven decisions, it would never take you to the wrong station.

These eight features would set you apart from the rest and fetch you a higher completion rate. And what does a higher completion rate means? More reach. More responses. More information! The more, the merrier!

Happy surveys!

Indhuja Lal

Product Marketer at SurveySparrow

A dilettante bohemian soul mesmerized with the magic of words, sworn to be unpredictable, and spellbound with the simplicity of humanity...

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