Author: Frank Lucer
More business owners than ever are realizing the advantages of surveying their customers. A decade ago, creating and executing a survey project required thousands of dollars. Making matters worse, collecting and analyzing the data was grueling work. There are now many survey tools that make the job much easier and far less time intensive. The challenge is finding the solution that can meet your unique needs. Here are the 5 key factors you should consider:About the Author:
#1 - Features and Flexibility
You will want access to a broad range of features when creating your surveys. That allows you the flexibility to tailor them to your audience. Over time, you may have a series of ongoing projects designed to solicit feedback from different slices of your customer base. A robust feature set that offers multiple question types, integration with other popular applications, and customizable permissions lets you extract as much value as possible from the data you collect.
#2 - Generating Usable Reports
Your data is only as useful as your ability to analyze it. The survey tool you choose should provide reports that deliver results in an easy-to-use format. You should be able to glance at the reports and immediately understand the graphical presentation of your audience's responses. Whether pie graphs, tables, or cross tab reports, they need to make your job of taking action on the data easier, not more difficult.
#3 - Hosted Versus Installed Solution
Today's survey tools are available in two main formats: hosted and installed. The main perceived advantage of an installed solution is knowing the data is secure. However, it's worth noting that third-party hosted solutions are just as secure as installed applications. Plus, they're far less expensive and less-maintenance to use.
The provider of a hosted solution is also responsible for troubleshooting issues, so there's no need to hire IT employees. Another advantage is scalability. A third-party provider will often scale the software to accommodate new technology and features. As a result, all members benefit from the increased flexibility.
#4 - Pricing Considerations
Cash flow is a finite resource, so the pricing models used by survey tool providers play an important role in your choice. Some require long-term contracts while others don't. Some providers offer one or two pricing options while others offer several based upon access to features and usage levels. Ideally, you'll want to use a solution that lets you "test drive" their service before committing. Then, you should have the option to upgrade your account, according to the growing needs of your business.
#5 - Responsive Customer Support
Customer support remains one of the most overlooked facets of choosing a survey provider. A lot of business owners either believe their future support needs will be minimal or they completely neglect to consider them at all. Sooner or later, you'll want the benefit of being able to reach a knowledgeable, helpful representative. For example, you might have questions regarding how to use a provider's advanced reporting features. Or, you may need expert guidance on using an API for integrating the service with other applications. Don't underestimate the value of responsive customer support.
Making The Right Choice For Your Needs
In the end, the survey tool you choose should fit your company's needs. But, it should also give you the flexibility to expand as those needs grow. Look for a rich feature set, easy-to-use reporting tools, and flexible pricing options. Also, consider the advantages of using a hosted solution versus an installed application. Finally, choose a provider that offers a helpful support staff who can respond to your questions. The right solution will help you access and harness the crucial feedback your customers can offer.
SurveyGizmo is a leading innovator and developer of survey software, for more great ways to use surveys to enhance your business check them out online at http://www.SurveyGizmo.com
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/management-articles/how-to-choose-a-survey-tool-828172.html