Surveys can be a good tool for getting feedback from our customers, but we need to correctly choose the option that best fits our needs.
This is not a list of only online questionnaire tools, given that this option isn’t always the most appropriate one in all cases. It’s also important to note that the skills of those who have to design and fill in the survey will limit the options available.
This is certainly the easiest tool. Yet many companies don’t know how to properly create forms with Word. Besides its simplicity, Word offers a second advantage: we can give our forms the format we want.
However, those customers who have an older version of Word will be unable to properly fill in the form. Therefore, it’s better to use the ActiveX controls on the Control Toolbox toolbar and save the document as Word 97-2003.
Another disadvantage is that we have to manually enter in the responses in an Excel or SPSS spreadsheet in order to analyze the results. This can be really annoying with long surveys.
Mainly, Word forms are useful for companies that need to create long surveys only occasionally or where employees are unable to use more complex tools.
With Adobe Acrobat Pro we can create PDF forms from a Word document. For this, we need to save our document as a PDF and then convert it into a form. This way we are assured that there are no incompatibilities and our survey has a more professional look.
Another advantage over Word forms is that it isn’t necessary to manually enter in the answers because they are automatically collected in a table. In this way, customers don’t need to send us the form as an attachment and they can save the PDF with their responses.
The big disadvantage of this tool is its complexity and price (about $700). With the emergence of Adobe FormsCentral I don’t recommend using Adobe Acrobat if we only need it to create forms.
Adobe has recently launched an online tool (monthly subscription rate of $14.99) to create forms that simplifies the method used with Adobe Acrobat, including some interesting features.
The FormsCentral drag and drop editor simplifies the design, we can automatically send confirmation emails with a personalized message and we can view results in summary reports. Furthermore, it includes skip-logic features easy to manage from which we can jump over questions and pages, based on the customer’s answer.
At the end, we get an online form that can also be downloaded as a PDF document (which, however, doesn’t allow skip-logic features). This point is very important, especially for very complex and lengthy surveys, where the customer may need days to fill the form.
From Google Drive, we can create free online forms of high quality. Designing forms with Google is really easy and it offers one of the most complete range of question types. From the latest updates, it’s also possible to insert images and videos. However, we cannot select the font, add bold or italic or change the color.
It includes basic skip-logic features (Go-To page based upon an answer) and we can include scripts to send confirmation emails, although this may be only possible for advanced users.
I recommend this tool for those companies that often need to send short surveys with complex question types.
SurveyMonkey has a free plan, but it only accepts 10 questions and 100 responses per survey and it isn’t possible to download the answers. If we are not willing to spend money, Google Forms is a better option.
The premium SurveyMonkey plans, however, are very complete. We can upload our logo and it offers the greatest variety of question types. It also includes page and question logic features.
We can download our survey as a PDF document, but we’ll have to manually enter in the responses.
The only advantage of SurveyMonkey over FormsCentral is the answers collection system, much more complete, especially useful if we need to perform advanced data analysis. Moreover, with the Gold plan we can download the answers in SPSS format.
Typeform is different from any other questionnaire tool we have seen here. Rather we could consider it as a marketing tool. Its design allows us to create attractive surveys aimed to engage customers.
Typeform has a very interesting free plan, but it doesn’t include skip-logic features. Its special design that allows us to create amazing forms can be, however, an obstacle to lengthy and complex surveys. I only recommend the free plan for very simple surveys.
By contrast, the pro version, with the help of its logic features, can be spectacular, particularly recommended if we want to surprise our customers and make them enjoy filling in our survey.
Typeform includes some types of questions that cannot be found in other survey tools (eg, image choice). However, it needs to improve in some aspects, such as Matrix of Choices, Rating Scale or the inclusion of linked content.
For complex surveys, I would choose FormsCentral of SurveyMonkey, if we are willing to pay for it. If we prefer a free tool, Google Forms and Word are the best options.
Obviously, there are many other tools. Some of them, such as www.formpl.us or www.instant.ly haven’t been included here because I think they aren’t user friendly enough. With other tools, such as www.questback.com it’s necessary to request a demo and, therefore, aren’t included either.