| White PapersWeb Surveys Buyer’s GuideIf you are searching for a technology solution to manageyour feedback initiatives, you are not alone. Given thecomplexity and infrastructure needed, it makes goodbusiness sense to work with a technology providerfor your online survey, enterprise feedback, andmarketing system, instead of shouldering the expenseof building a system in house.
Web Surveys Buyer’s GuideIf you are searching for a technology solution to manage your feedback initiatives, you are not alone. Given the complexityand infrastructure needed, it makes good business sense to work with a technology provider for your online survey, enterprisefeedback, and marketing system, instead of shouldering the expense of building a system in house. Most organizations havefound it is not just the expense of building a custom system that is prohibitive, but also the cost and resources needed tomaintain the technology over the long term. In addition, custom-built systems are designed by people with limited expertise.Consequently, the features and support cannot compare to established provider whose systems have been proven to increaseparticipation, eliminate redundant tools and facilitate reporting and analysis out-of-the-box. There are several technologysolutions to help organizations collect feedback from key constituents. When choosing a provider, there are a number of keyquestions to identify the right solution for your needs.There are several technology solutions tohelp organizations collect feedback fromkey constituents. When choosing a provider,there are a number of key questions toidentify right solution for your needs. SURVEYsales@cvent.comUS: 866.318.4358 | UK: 0808.234.4540 | Australia: 1800.502.529 www.cvent.com 2
Feature FactorsHow does the provider compare to systems onthe market?Not all software is created equal. There are many online survey and enterprise feedbackmanagement solutions out there: basic solutions, mid grade solutions, and high endsolutions. Low cost tools don’t offer the flexibility, customization, or level of automationrequired to create effective feedback campaigns. On the other hand, high end solutions oftenhave too many features, are difficult to use, and are costly, even for Fortune 500 organizations.Many providers offer all three or a combination, so when you searching for a solutionmake sure you have a clear understanding of your needs and your provider’s capabilities.The right online survey and feedback management solution for your organization isdependent on the complexity of your feedback program – from a design and reportingperspective, the internal importance of the initiative, and amount of flexibility andcustomization you require. Being able to automate processes is key even if it’s a smallchange such as email reminders sent automatically to increase responses or improvedreport dissemination and quick access to data, the time savings across the feedbackprogram can be significant. Low cost tools don’t offer the flexibility, customization, or level of automation required to create effective feedback campaigns.Does the provider allow for targeted andpersonalized communication?Nothing tells customers you don’t care more than sending an email communication withthe greeting “Dear valued customer/client. Email marketing is one of the easiest and ”most effective ways to collect survey responses. However, with the increase of SPAMand email abuse, it’s harder to capture your respondent’s attention. Personalizing andtargeting your message helps separate your email from the unwanted ones.In addition to sending personalized messages (“Dear John, Thanks for your recentpurchase of XYZ product…”), you should take the time to create engaging, personalizedsurvey experiences. This is easy by employing various survey logics so respondents onlysee questions relevant to them either based on prior responses or contact information,as well as adding customized messages within the questionnaire. Make sure yourprovider has the capability to tap into your contact database and pull information into thesurvey. Personalizing both the communication and respondent experience dramaticallyincreases survey firstname.lastname@example.orgUS: 866.318.4358 | UK: 0808.234.4540 | Australia: 1800.502.529 www.cvent.com 3
Does the provider offer a comprehensive contactmanagement system?Address book management is the life blood of successful feedback program. Withoutcorrect contact information for customers, employees, or panel members, surveyresponse rates suffer. With a systematically managed contact database, survey authorscan keep contact information updated, automatically cleanse bad data, comply with CANSPAM laws, and implement segmented, personalized email campaigns. It’s critical yourweb survey and feedback management solution is fully automated. Surprisingly, manyfeedback systems lack basic contact management functionality to properly segment andtarget your database.If you already have a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place you’dlike to use, investigate integration options that will tie into your CRM. Many enterprisefeedback management solutions have integrations with major CRM solutions, such asSalesforce.com, or they offer an application programming interface (API) to enable two-way data transmission. By integrating your systems, you’ll spend less time moving databetween systems giving you more time to focus on analyzing data to make informedbusiness decisions.Does the provider allow you to brand yoursurveys and survey communication?Surveys are an extension of your brand. As such, you should demand a system which Professional lookingallows you to fully customize the look and feel of your survey, as well as any survey surveys have provencommunication. Settling for a solution without the flexibility to customize the lookand feel of emails and surveys to match your brand could seriously damage your to increase surveyrespondent’s opinion of your organization. Furthermore, customizing each touch pointsignals to your respondent the survey request is legitimate. Professional looking surveys participation rates.have proven to increase survey participation rates. Employee Survey Employee Survey Employee Survey Employee Surveysales@cvent.comUS: 866.318.4358 | UK: 0808.234.4540 | Australia: 1800.502.529 www.cvent.com 4
Does the provider have sophisticated emailmarketing capabilities and deliverabilityreporting?Email has been proven as the most cost effective means of customer and employeecommunication. However, not all survey systems include robust email marketing.In addition to promoting immediate responses, email is the best way to managecommunications and track delivery. In addition to personalization, attractive emails canhave a huge impact on participation rates. A business-grade technology solution willprovide survey authors with the tools to create compelling survey invitation. This shouldinclude not only professionally designed invitation templates, but also a robust HTMLeditor allowing the author to create their own invitations without HTML knowledge.A professional grade survey and feedback management solution will come equipped withsophisticated features like automated email scheduling, ability to send HTML or plaintext, delivery and open-rate tracking, reporting, and automatic address book updates.Survey performance will suffer without these basic features, making it harder to haveconfidence in the collected data.Does the provider have a breadth of question 1.types? 2.When crafting a survey, it’s important to utilize multiple question types to keep thesurvey engaging and reduce respondent bias. No one wants to fill out a boring 15question multiple choice survey. We’ve been seeing that format since kindergarten 3.when we took our first test. Make sure your provider can offer a multitude of questiontypes so you can make the survey more interesting. Some of the must have questiontypes include single choice, multiple select, matrix (single and multiple choice, 4.spreadsheet, and side-by-side), rank order, constant sum, open text box, and datalists. If the provider provides interactive question types, such as sliding scales or dragand drop, including these questions will increase the respondent engagement whencompleting the survey, thereby reducing abandonment.Does the provider enhance your feedback collectionthrough survey logic? 4a 5aSurvey authors are able to drill deeper and collect more detailed feedback by utilizingsurvey logic. While there are a variety of logic types, the must haves include sub- 2a 3aquestions, skip and branch logic, pipe logic, and advanced logic based on contact andresponse filters. A survey employing logic tailors the respondent experience by skippingpast irrelevant questions and exposing additional questions to better understand 1 4 5responses. Using logic in the survey design decreases respondent abandonment andgives the survey author more actionable feedback to share within the organization. 2b email@example.comUS: 866.318.4358 | UK: 0808.234.4540 | Australia: 1800.502.529 www.cvent.com 5
Can the provider alert you when questions areanswered a specific way? Customer SurveyThe key to surveys is to make sure your audience knows you are listening. Imagine youwere reviewing customer feedback and a customer had a truly negative experience withyour support center. After their call, they completed your customer satisfaction survey.You need to solve this problem immediately! Ensuring your survey software providercan send you automatic alerts after someone completes a survey is essential. Makesure the survey provider supports various versions of this feature allowing notificationfor a specific question answer or contact field, based on a respondent’s score, or allcompleted surveys. If you have different people in charge of various departments orproducts, you may even want to make sure the provider supports multiple alerts on thesame survey. Utilizing survey alerts allows you to notify the correct parties and respondquickly when necessary.How robust is the provider’s reporting engine?This is by far the most important survey feature. This is why you started surveying in thefirst place. It’s important to select a feedback management provider that’s going to giveyou more than just the raw data. If you accept just the raw data, you’re going to spendhours tabulating and analyzing data to draw conclusions, create professional reports, anddisseminate findings throughout the organization. Look for a survey provider that haspre-built reports so you can spend more time on strategic decisions and less time tryingto create the report.In addition to looking for a provider with pre-built reports, it’s helpful if the providerallows you to customize the reports to slice and compare the data the way you need tosee it. Good technology providers will give you the ability to “park” the reports to easilydisseminate the information on demand, and even make it eyes-only if the informationis sensitive. Instead of having to re-run reports every time someone asks, you can runthe report once, park it, and allow others to view the report on demand. Parking reportsmakes it simple to share results, in real time, with anyone in your organization. Parking reports makes it simple to share results, in real time, with anyone in your firstname.lastname@example.orgUS: 866.318.4358 | UK: 0808.234.4540 | Australia: 1800.502.529 www.cvent.com 6
Does the provider offer integration with yourCRM system?Not all survey solutions will allow you to integrate with your customer relationshipmanagement (CRM) system. It may seem like a little thing, but streamlining the flow ofdata between your CRM and survey system impacts the entire organization. If you’reconducting a customer survey of any kind, it’s critical to have that information in yourCRM system for the customer history.Is the provider’s system user-friendly?The balance between functionality and accessibility of your chosen technology solutionis important. Again, the right fit is a crucial component here. Many providers claim theirsystem is easy to use but their limited functionality cannot satisfy the most commonsurvey and feedback management needs. Although more sophisticated systems requirean initial investment to learn about the range of features, the accumulated time saved onautomating administrative tasks can be staggering when you know how to use a capablesystem. In addition, the best providers offer survey building support, taking you and yourteam through the process for the best results possible. Many providers claim their system is easy to use but their limited functionality cannot satisfy the most common survey and feedback management needs.Will the provider go the extra mile to make sureyour feedback initiatives are successful?Your web survey and feedback management technology provider should offer assistancein a wide variety of areas such as building surveys for you, proposing effective surveymarketing plans, designing impressive survey invitations, and general consultation onhow to make your feedback program successful. Look for a system provider that wantsto work with you to ensure improvement and long term email@example.comUS: 866.318.4358 | UK: 0808.234.4540 | Australia: 1800.502.529 www.cvent.com 7
Company FactorsHow long has the provider been in business and To safeguard yourare they profitable? success, hard-earnedIf you trust your feedback management to a third party, it is essential to make sure the dollars, and survey data,provider has a stable business model. A few critical questions to ask the prospectiveprovider: how many full time employees are on staff, what is their credit rating and be sure your system ofmost importantly, are they profitable? Most survey programs are ongoing, with projectshappening every year and sometimes multiple times per year. To safeguard your success, choice will be around inhard-earned dollars, and survey data, be sure your system of choice will be around in theyears to come. the years to come.Does the provider have enough support staffand training to ensure your success?When selecting a technology provider you need to find a provider who can work withyou long-term. It is vital to understand the capacity in which the provider can and willsupport your organization. Do they have a skilled service team to answer the phone andprovide assistance in a timely manner? How do they plan to improve their technologysolution over time? It’s important to know what an organization has done in the pastand determine whether they have the aptitude to maintain their product and provide theassistance you need. Ask your provider how many people they have on their supportstaff, what is their ratio of support staff to number of customers, and if they charge extrafor customer support.In addition to ensuring there is enough live support staff if you have a question, youshould ask about training. Do they provide training? If they do, is it mandatory and isthere an extra cost? Even if you choose a user-friendly tool, it’s important to make surethere’s training available to help you refine your process overtime and learn how to utilizenew features. It is vital to understand the capacity in which the provider can and will support your organization.Will the provider offer a dedicated account manager?An important ingredient of the client-provider relationship is service. It is essential to bea valued client and not just a number in the support queue. The buyer should be givena single point of contact and/or an account executive to work with to achieve long termstrategic initiatives. It is frustrating to have to explain who you are, the nature of yourprogram, and the issue at hand each time a problem arises. Make sure your provider hasdesigned the proper channels for clients to obtain immediate quality product support. Inaddition, successful providers will provide a resource to continue to educate you on waysto improve your program and help you achieve your business firstname.lastname@example.orgUS: 866.318.4358 | UK: 0808.234.4540 | Australia: 1800.502.529 www.cvent.com 8