Deciding what survey software to use?

Being a market research, we make extensive use of market surveys, to measure market/customer needs and sentiments. For years I was outsourcing the programming, testing and hosting to outsourced survey houses. However, driven by the current economic conditions and reduced market research budgets, this year I decided to do try the survey programming/testing exercise myself.

My survey software solutions requirements are more complex compared to the standard small consumer type survey. They are usually long (30-40 questions each with several options), with complex and branching, follow-on questions based on previous responses, etc.

Finding the right survey software could be a hard task. There are a large number of vendors to choose from, a cursory look at any of them give an impression that most of them are almost alike. One needs to consideration several factors before picking the right solutions. Some of things you need to know and look for before deciding:

  • Survey tool features (considering the complexity of your survey)
  • Ease-of-programming and hosting
  • Cloud-based or on-premise server based
  • Price (use of software and survey hosting)
  • Reporting functions
  • Performance of solution, especially when reporting
  • Training provided
  • Support (both telephone, web and user forums)

After evaluating numerous survey tools from several vendors (Checkbox, SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, Vovici, Zoomerang, QuestionPro, NoviSystems, SurveyCrafter, etc.), I selected SurveyGizmo solution for my fairly complex survey needs.

SurveyGizmo is very easy to use; value priced and provides the most extensive set of features among all the survey software solutions I evaluated. It has a simple user interface with an extensive list of question types and survey action that makes designing and testing survey very easy. The reporting functions are also very good. Several other vendors that I evaluated had very poor performance, especially when using the reporting and analysis functions. They also provide very flexible pay-as-you-use pricing, without the need to commit a significant amount of capital upfront (as some of the other vendors do) – this is especially important in the current difficult economic climate.


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