August 30, 2014

Research Tool to Help Your Small Business Succeed: Review of QuestionPro

Most business owners have heard the statistic that 80% of new businesses fail within the first three years.  One of the biggest reasons they reportedly fail is because they lack the information and related analysis to make a good decision. You can prevent this by using free and low cost online survey tools. If you are looking collect useful customer data without hiring a professional market research firm, this review of QuestionPro is for you.

QuestionPro

I heard about QuestionPro from a marketing consultant colleague.  She explained that it had all the power and capability of high-end enterprise software but at a much lower price point that a small business could afford.  She liked that it was easy to use, had mobile survey capabilities (that few low-cost platforms provided) and offered  “killer reports” that impressed her clients and made her look good in front of those clients.

So I took a closer look myself. Here’s some of what I found:

When I got on to the QuestionPro site, I have to admit it was a tad intimidating.  The site looked more like something a big company would use.  Of course, they offer a free trial so I signed up.

Once inside the application, I have to admit that it wasn’t the sexiest consumer site – like what you’d find on other web survey tools. This is obviously a no-nonsense site.  The first thing you see is a screen where you can start a survey.  I’m not sure if I like that or not.  It might depend on what work style you have.  If you’re the kind of person who likes to read directions before you start something, then you might be disappointed.  But if you’re the type of person who clicks first and reads directions later, then you will love it.

As I started to create a survey, I realized that QuestionPro actually guides you through the process as you go.  The interface is fairly intuitive and you shouldn’t have any problems getting around and creating a good survey in short order.

What I Liked

  • Tons of options to create a wide, wide range of question types. I didn’t know there were that many options of survey questions!
  • Another interesting feature was the logic function which allows you to create highly flexible surveys based on how people answer the question.
  • The mobile feature is powerful.  Each QuestionPro account comes standard with their SurveyPocket app that allows you to give and take online surveys without an Internet connection.  I can see how valuable this might be.  My first thought was to create a survey and install the SurveyPocket app on my iPhone and take it to conferences and networking events where I could use it as a fun way to  qualify prospects love to find out what’s important to my prospects.
  • On the mobile page, I also could see that they allow you to upload your reports to DropBox and Google Docs (now called Google Drive).  This is super smart and very useful.  It makes it easy to share reports with colleagues and clients.

What Can Be Improved

  • The user interface is really “techy” and not as good looking as you might find on some consumer-focused online survey tools.  But what QuestionPro Lacks in looks, it makes up for in its ability to collect and generate data.

There is a fairly complete help file and some video tutorials, but it’s clear that this tool is targeted to someone who has some basic knowledge of creating online surveys.  A small business owner who has never done a survey might find it somewhat overwhelming.

If you have made a commitment to do more market research and customer research so that you can make better decisions — then QuestionPro is a terrific tool that you can use. The 30-day free trial will give you plenty of time to create, run and analyze a survey – and if you need more time, the basic plan is only $15 per month — so it’s not a huge investment to try. Online customer service is available and I’ve found the reps to be very helpful and responsive.

Overall, I believe QuestionPro is a service that a small business owner can use to discover more about their customers and prospects.

11 Comments ▼

TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue is the Product Editor for Small Business Trends and an entrepreneur who publishes Tech Biz Talk. TJ is a former Wall Street Journal columnist. He also writes for Forbes and American Express OPEN Forum. He loves learning about technology apps and software services - share yours with TJ.

11 Reactions

  1. TJ,

    If you’re okay with it, I’m going to try this tool out.

    Sounds like it would be a perfect fir for the way I roll.

    Great review!

    The Franchise King®

  2. Yo Joel! Thanks for the kind comments. I think you should buy at least 3 subscriptions to use and give out to your customers… ;-) I’m definitely okay with it.

  3. Full Disclosure : I am founder here @ QuestionPro.

    Tim – thanks a lot for the review. I think the UI/UX is something we are constantly working on – will try and do a better job!

  4. Hi Guys

    This looks an interesting tool. I have used companies in the past to do this, and have outsourced also. You can buy reports but they can be incredibly expensive, and not always sure how up to date the data is. Research is the one thing many small businesses don’t bother doing which is crazy. I’ve seen it where people sit there thinking “Hmmm, what type of shop could I open”, instead of thinking about what their town needs.

    I wish you success with your product, it should mean people aren’t taking shots in the dark.

    Best wishes,
    Phil

  5. TJ: The main feature is a survey tool? Could it be integrated with your other social media activities, e.g., imbed a survey into a blog post, share on Facebook, etc.?

  6. Here is a list of features, Martin. Short answer is yes.
    QuestionPro Features

  7. I’ll give this a try, $12.50 a month for the paid plan is very little.

  8. The review makes it sound like a nice step-up from other free online survey services. Thanks TJ.

    I used surveymonkey for a long time and have recently swtiched over to google forms. Works very well, but not quite as flexible as I’d like. $15 sounds like a nice price point for somehow who is doing surveys a number of times a month, but seems a bit steep if you’re only doing it 2 or 3 times a year (my case). I wonder if they’ve considered micro-payments. cc Vivek

  9. I simply made an equiry to Question Pro regarding pricing, and suddenly I was automatically signed up for an account that I didn’t ask for, and was receiving marketing emails I certainly didn’t want. This after the person respoinding to my pricing enquiry tried to up-sell me on an over-priced subscription I didn’t need. I have ended up choosing a different company.

  10. Yes Questionpro is doing great. I really appreciate the work they are doing there. Kudos to Vivek Bhaskaran.

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