Selecting Your Survey Provider –
Decision Time

By Natalie McGarvey


In the world of online surveys, the software providers typically fall into one of two categories – self-service providers and full service providers. One of the key differences with a full service provider is that they offer a ‘total project solution’ where you are assigned a person to assist you to set up and run your survey, whereas self-service tools simply offer you access to their software to use on a ‘self help’ basis. Which approach is best suited to you and your circumstances depends on a range of factors including your skill set, the degree of quality and professionalism you want to portray, and of course your budget.

Three key elements to consider that can have a large bearing on the success of your survey project are 1) your survey content, 2) your invites and response rates and 3) data collection and reporting. Below I highlight some of the key factors to consider in these 3 areas when selecting your online survey vendor.

1. Your Survey Content

Things to consider about the Survey Software:

  • Will you have access to a bank of best practice survey questions and templates?
  • Does the software offer a range of different question types?
  • Does the software have skip logic (or ‘branching’) functionality?
  • Will you have the ability to produce professional and stylish looking surveys, branded in a similar style as your website?

Things to consider about the Service:

  • Will you be appointed an expert Survey Project Manager who is responsible for handling the complete survey process for you – from helping you develop the questionnaire, to building the survey/s online, to providing pre-survey advice to help improve your questions?
  • Will the provider design a custom branded survey template for you to match your corporate brand/style?
  • Does the provider have proven knowledge and capabilities in running feedback projects in your industry?
  • Will the provider give you ongoing survey content support and advice?

2. Invites and Response Rates

  • Will you have access to a bank of proven invite and reminder templates?
  • Will you be able to set up a personalised survey URL/link?
  • Will you have access to an online survey invitations module for individual and bulk distribution of personalised invites and automated reminders (making sure that reminders are only sent to those survey participants that have not finished the survey)?
  • Will you have access to email invitation tracker functionality to enable you to monitor survey invite activity in real-time? Such reports will show you the success of your email invites through each step in the process, from upload of names, to email bounce backs, right through to completion of your survey, giving you transparency over the success of each survey invitation send out.
  • Will you have access to automated respondent unsubscribe functionality?
  • Can you ensure that your survey participants are not required to fill in their demographic details in the body of the survey? Eg. can you preload their demographic details at the point of invite to then instantly pre-populate that data directly into your reports?

Things to consider about the Service:

  • Will the provider set up personalised invite and reminder templates for you?
  • Will you be given the option of co-branding your survey invitations with the provider’s name to help increase credibility?
  • For ongoing surveys, will you be given phone or face to face training on how to upload and send out your invites and reminders?
  • Will you receive ongoing response rate and completion rate suggestions and advice?

3. Data Collection and Reporting

Things to consider about the Survey Software:

  • Will you have the ability to preload respondent demographic data directly into your reports – such as department, location, gender, age group, etc?
  • Will you have access to real time and instant reports online?
  • Will you have access to comparative online reports as standard for all clients to slice and dice the data as you require?
  • Will you have the ability to filter your results by demographic?
  • Will you have the ability to compare trends over time by month, quarter, 6-month period and year?
  • Will you have the ability to use rules-based red-flag trigger notification emails to immediately alert Management of particularly low (or high) scoring answers?
  • Will you have access to exportable and editable Word/Tag Cloud images for easier analysis of free text / verbatim comments?

Things to consider about the Service:

  • Does the provider offer local hosting of your data?
  • Will the provider provide full phone or face-to-face training regarding your online reports and how to get the most out of them?
  • Will you have access to ongoing phone and email support and advice in relation to reporting?

Why not have a look at PeoplePulse today?

If you are interested in a demonstration of full featured online survey software offered by a full service provider, please request a demo.

Alternatively contact Natalie McGarvey, Business Solutions Manager, on ph +61 2 9232 0172.


Next Article:

Buying Online Survey Software- 5 Key Things to Consider

Don’t miss out:

Sign up for our weekly newsletter MobileMatters (mobile research best practice) using the form at the bottom right of this page.