Are you interested in using surveys to learn more about your customers, users or newsletter subscribers? Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the different survey tools, especially some of the more popular ones that seem to come with a countless number of confusing special features?
There are over 80 survey tools, all one upping each other with unnecessary features, complex pricing strategies and lot’s of marketing gibberish designed to lock you into long contracts.
If you’re not careful, you could end up with an annual contract and hundreds of useless features that will gather the proverbial dust.
If you’re in the process of reviewing survey tools, we’ve got you covered.
Listed below are some of the most important features, which we’ll call “the basics”, to look for when searching for a survey tool.
Keep this list in mind and you’ll have a much easier time deciding what kind of features your survey tool needs and which ones you can pass on.
Surveys provide a lot of benefits to business owners. The following are some of the main reasons why you may want to start using them:
You can also use surveys to increase customer engagement and generate new business from word of mouth.
You don’t need a complicated online survey tool with a million different features in order to gain information about your customers, users or newsletter subscribers. A simple survey tool will do the trick for almost any business.
Here are some basic features your survey tool needs — anything beyond these features won’t be necessary for the average business owner or entrepreneur:
Don’t have time to design (or figure out how to design) a survey from scratch? Look for a survey tool that comes with pre-created templates for you to use. Read one or two to make sure they are grammatically correct, use proper english, and aren’t too formal in tone. Several survey tools are made in non-english speaking markets, so it’s important to check one or two pre-created survey templates.
The survey templates ought to include options for three different types of questions: open-ended questions, multiple-choice questions, and star/scale ratings. Having different question types available will help you tailor your survey to get the specific information you’re after.
Open text will give you that rich “qualitative” feedback, multiple choice provides great graphs and is easy for customers to answer, and scales/stars allow you to get important benchmarks like NPS scores and customer satisfaction.
Several of the established tools (like SurveyMonkey) will brag about having dozens of survey question types, but odds are that you’ll never need more than 3 or 4, so you shouldn’t feel pressured to pay for them!
The tool ought to have a simple, clean design that doesn’t take away from the user experience or make the survey difficult to complete. It should be mobile-friendly so people can take your surveys on the go, too.
Of course, the design and user experience should also be super simple for you, the survey maker, as well.
Often times, survey tools fall short on either quality design for the survey taking or survey making, and we would suggest this is a basic survey feature you should require. One of the pioneers in this space is Typeform.
Look for a basic survey tool that includes an easy-to-read results dashboard. It ought to use charts and bar graphs to help you analyze your data more easily.
Often times, you’ll see survey tools showboating about advanced statistical analysis and integrations with power tools like SPSS, but you’ll probably only need something you can quickly get a high level feel for the results, share a few pre-made charts with your colleagues, and dig deeper when you find an insight that tugs at your curiosity.
Most customers prefer email communication over other options. To increase the chances that they’ll actually take your survey, make sure it’s possible for you to email it to them and personalize it with the help of “mail merge” tags.
Most tools will have this basic feature, but some may only allow you to create a “open link” that requires you to share.
Be wary of survey tools that require an annual fee or loop you into a long-term contract with a bunch of fine print. The pricing ought to be straightforward when you’re making use of such a simple survey tool.
A lot of survey tools only provide “once off” value to businesses so they know that offering a month-to-month plan will allow you to come and go as needed, so they’ll hide features and try their hardest to lock you into an annual contract.
We (BigTeam) believe this is a huge problem and the onus should be on the survey tool makers to provide enough value and ease of use that you’d want to use the tool more than once.
One of the biggest complaints and challenges with surveys, especially when you’re a small business owner or busy entrepreneur, is making use of the data after you get customer feedback via survey.
It often just sits in the survey tool, and after you spend some time reviewing, becomes outdated and not actionable.
The best tools try to help you overcome this by integrated with your existing email or CRM tool. For instance, BigTeam (that’s us!) plugs into MailChimp allowing you to seamlessly send surveys to your MailChimp contacts through BigTeam and then send survey responses back to MailChimp as tags, allowing you to follow up based on their answers.
Have you been feeling overwhelmed by all the different survey tools out there? Do you not know how to begin your search?
If so, keep these guidelines for the essential survey features in mind. They’ll help you narrow down your options and stay focused on which basic features ought to be top priorities.
If you’re looking for a basic survey tool that checks all these boxes, check out BigTeam today. It’s easy-to-use, includes all the basics mentioned in this article, and gives you everything you need to learn more about your customers.