If you have found yourself with the daunting task of researching survey software, then hopefully we can be of some help. Checkbox Survey Solutions has come up with a simple, logical, and objective 3 step guide that will help you and your organization make the right decision.

Step 1: Identify Candidates – Make a List
Create a list made up of all potential candidates (even though you know full well that you will discard most of these names in time). This list should be built up using search engine findings, friends or colleague recommendations, and online directories that list survey software. When using search engines, be sure to specify the most relevant keyword phrases that appeal to you and your organization; this will help narrow down your search. If you are looking for Microsoft-based survey software, you might also try Google’s Microsoft focused search engine.

Step 2: Compare Basic Attributes – Its Spreadsheet Time
Now it’s time to compare products. Create a new spreadsheet that will become your ratings guide. Think of all the attributes that you are looking for in a survey software product and make these your column headings. For example, Company Name, Functionality, Cost, Support, Maintenance, Reliability, Performance, Scalability, Usability, Security, Flexibility, Customizability, Integration Ability, and Legal/License issues. Also put note down a couple of specific features that you couldn’t live without, such as “Multilanguage Support”, “Advanced Branching”, or “Available in software and hosted offerings”.

Using the ‘Company Name’ column as your starting point, put aside time to make calls, or send emails. Use email to make as much headway as possible before getting consumed with phone calls. Survey software websites should provide all the necessary information you need, however, if this is not the case, pick up the phone and direct your questions to a product expert, this will also give you a feeling of the company you would be working with if you decide to make a purchase.

Most survey software products offer you a free trial account which gives you first-hand experience of what that product looks like, feels like, and what it can deliver. If you do not have the time to download free trials for multiple companies, pick up the phone and ask your questions directly to a product expert. Phone calls will also give you a better sense of the people you would be working with if you end up making the purchase.

Step 3: Analyze Top Candidates in Depth – Pick Your Top Five, Then One
By now, based upon your conversations with the company staff and using your master spreadsheet, you should be able to quickly narrow down your list to the top five candidates. You might already know by now which company you want to support, but now you can dig that bit deeper. See if the companies will offer you a free trial of their survey software. Free trials will let you experience the look, feel, and usability of the survey software.

When you get closer to making your decision, compare the attributes you liked side by side. When looking at hosted and ‘market research’ oriented survey software packages, be sure to understand the incremental costs that will apply once you go over your response limits. Determine how many users you would have using the survey software and what roles these users would play, will the chosen survey software offer you user management control?

In summary, be as detailed as you like when choosing survey software. The amount of research put into this process will depend on the size of an organization and the level of software they need. More effort will be required if the survey software needs to be integrated with other systems within your organization, than an academic student looking to run a one-off survey for their final year thesis.

Checkbox Survey Solutions, Inc., strives to offer the best choice in professional survey and data collection tools by combining flexible pricing, choice of platform, a superior customer experience, and best in class features and interface. With a longstanding track record of helping businesses and organizations, large and small, implement high quality survey and data collection solutions, Checkbox Survey has developed relationships with top global companies in more than 30 countries with a continual emphasis on quality, performance, and usability.

To find out more about Checkbox Survey, visit www.checkbox.com or contact a product expert at 1-866-430-8274 (Int’l +1-617-715-9605).