Why Use Survey Software?
The top performers in our review are SurveyGizmo, the Gold Award winner; SurveyMonkey, the Silver Award winner; and Zoho, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a software application to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of the top 10 systems.
If you want your business to grow, you have to know your customers. You need to understand not just where they shop and what they buy, but also what they want. The more you understand your customer, the better you can meet their needs and communicate with them in a way that brings them to your store or website.
One of the most efficient ways to learn about customers is through surveys. Not only can you use them for information gathering but also for gleaning feedback on specific products or services or for doing market research to help you determine your next Big Thing.
Survey software makes it easy for you to create useful and attractive questionnaires that your target audiences will be glad to fill out. It also does the number crunching for you, analyzing the data and generating reports to use or share. These survey tools enable you to carefully monitor and track what your stakeholders are saying, so you can implement business policies or create or improve products based on accurate observations.
What Makes the Best Survey Software?
There are many types of survey makers. Some let you to make simple surveys to send to your friends or followers, such as the polls you see sent out via Facebook apps. Others are full-service creation-and-management programs good enough for professional researchers conducting studies on behalf of large organizations. Most likely, your needs fall somewhere between these two extremes.
Nonetheless, the best software gives you room to grow while still being basic enough that you can build and send out surveys with minimal training. In addition to tools that help you create questions that get to the heart of an issue in a way you can quantify, the program should also include adequate tools for tracking responses as they come in. They should also provide several ways to download the data so you can run reports or use the information in other ways. For example, they should have the ability to export the email addresses of respondents so you can target them for special deals or advertising. For more ideas, read some of our articles for more information about survey software.
All of the survey systems we reviewed are available online and are hosted through secure cloud servers. This makes it easy for small business owners, solopreneurs, or individuals, because you don't need to maintain the software or purchase upgrades.
We looked at packages and services that best met the needs of small business owners. Therefore, they are more advanced than packages that would be used for personal websites or blogs, but they're also less intense than those used by a large research corporation. Most services on the lineup allow you to upgrade to a higher plan at any time, so they are scalable as your business grows.
What Are the Most Important Features for Survey Makers?
Prices for these plans range from about $20 to $50 per month, but all of them offer a free trial or basic services with the main tools you need to make professional and useful surveys. To provide the fairest comparison between survey tools, we evaluated each application using the basic professional plan each offered.
The two keys to successful surveys are how easy it is for you to create the survey and how easy it is for your customers or target audience to take it. For your audience especially, ease of use must take into account how well the survey works on a mobile device. Certainly, each company included tutorials and help and support for their services, but you want something that you can handle right off the bat, so we tested how well they worked for someone new to the service as well as for survey takers in general.
We conducted our comparisons of survey tools with an eye for applications most helpful for small businesses. Using the trial version, we evaluated its layout and looked for things that would make the platform easy to learn and user friendly. For example, are the icons easily identifiable? Is it apparent where to go to begin to build a survey and distribute surveys to users? How easy is it to create or change a survey? We found that the best survey builders allow you to quickly edit questions and rearrange the order of your survey without many additional steps. One survey-creation site that did this exceptionally well was Typeform.
How We Tested the Online Survey Programs
We created surveys using a range of question types, then sent it out to a test audience. We measured distribution methods and the analytics provided by these survey tools as responses came back in.
In addition, we evaluated the experience of those taking the survey. You want surveys that are easy for people to view and complete so that more people will finish it, giving more meaningful and complete data. To measure audience experience, we considered how the surveys performed on different browsers and what design flaws came up that would frustrate potential customers and employees.
During this test, we found that respondents appreciated surveys that provided a progression bar and did not require them to continuously click through another screen to answer the next question. One survey creator that did this well was QuestionPro.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. The companies had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Survey Software: What Else Is Important?
Ease of use both for you and your respondents are the most important aspects for any survey software, but they are not the only considerations. In many cases, if you are only looking at ease, you may find several survey-creation sites will work for you. To narrow the choices, ask yourself these questions:
Is Design Important to You?
Every survey design service we evaluated had design features to arrange your survey questions and tweak the layout. However, others offer additional tools to make your surveys visually appealing and are designed to promote your brand.
Typeform impressed us with its survey-design tools. In addition, it provided extra instruction on the best practices for designing a survey. We found the clean design and additional icons for rating things especially appealing, as they allow you to add a fun and personal touch to your surveys. Meanwhile, SurveyGizmo offers customizable templates in all its paid plans and customizable URLs for its higher-priced plans. This gives you many ways to brand the survey to promote your company in look and in SEO.
Are Extra Analytics Worth More to You?
Each service on the lineup provides survey tools that track responses and evaluate the data from your surveys. If you are looking for especially in-depth information and additional ways to utilize this data, then some services provide more amped-up analytical tools than others do. SurveyMonkey, for example, offers filtering and cross-tabbing that lets you narrow in on the information that most matters to you. You can also customize the reports for presentations or collaborations.
Does Your Industry Have Special Needs?
Some industries have unique aspects that influence their software needs. For example, if you are in the health care industry, you need a survey maker that is HIPAA compliant. Typeform's basic package is HIPAA compliant, and other software providers, such as Survey Monkey and Survey Gizmo, offer HIPAA-compliant packages above their basic offerings. If you run a non-profit, SurveyMoz provides discounted services. Zoho, however, offers a wide range of business programs and applications, which gives them an edge over other online survey tools that cater to individuals or groups rather than companies.
Survey Software Verdict & Recommendations
SurveyGizmo, SurveyMonkey and Zoho stood out as the best survey software services we reviewed. They outperformed the competition and provided the most complete set of features to help you build, distribute, and analyze surveys to gain insight from your key stakeholders. Meanwhile, QuestionPro receives an honorable mention, as it just missed the top three, and offers excellent usability for both survey creators and survey respondents.