Tablet-Based Survey Software

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Every facet of life has been touched by technology. And although technology has been responsible for accelerating the speed of life, it has also brought amazing benefits to all who have been touched by it.
One area which has undergone a revolution due to technological innovation has been the field of survey data collection. That this field had to evolve was obvious. How this field was to evolve was the question. It was the vision of people who saw the deficiencies in this area and realized that together with the growth in portable computing, many of the negatives associated with survey data collection could be addressed and redressed.

An Essential Development

For decades survey data collection was the preserve of two methods – phone surveys and door-to-door surveys. For most people reading this article, the previous sentence is probably sufficient information as to why things had to change in this space. However, for those not in the loop, there are so many problems from both the surveyors and respondents perspective with these methods as to render them potentially more detrimental than beneficial.

From the respondent’s perspective they were:
• Intrusive
• Irritating
• Time-consuming
• Invasive (especially for door-to-door surveys)
• Responsible for leaving a negative impression of the party that commissioned the survey

From the surveyor’s perspective they were:
• Costly
• Inconvenient
• Cumbersome
• Often generating unreliable data upon which valuable decisions were based
• Alienating customers rather than engaging them

The New Frontier
It was probably apparent to all and sundry that phone and door-to-door surveys were not the way to gather information from customers and garner customer loyalty but there was no better alternative. Thanks to new technology, this was all about to change.

Advances in computing power resulted in smaller and more powerful computers becoming the norm. These days, the latest smartphone packs more computing capability than the average desktop computer from only a few years ago. However, it was to be the creation and rapid acceptance of tablet computers that would facilitate the revolution in survey data collection.

These devices have become essential daily accessories to many consumers as well as the tool of choice for many businesspeople. The development of Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) software, also known as mobile survey apps to be downloaded to tablet computer that was to provide the knockout punch to traditional forms of surveying and usher in a new surveyor and respondent-friendly method of survey data collection.

Why Tablet-Based Surveys?

Tablet-based surveys overcome all the major disadvantages of traditional survey methods.
From the respondent’s perspective they are:
• Inviting rather than intrusive
• Fun rather than irritating
• Quicker, easier, and enjoyable rather than time-consuming
• A fun encounter on neutral territory rather than invasive
• Responsible for leaving a positive impression of the party that commissioned the survey as a company that cares about its clients

From the surveyor’s perspective they are:
• Cheaper than traditional methods
• Easy to configure and amend
• User-friendly
• Generate reliable data upon which valuable decisions should be based
• Engaging customers rather than alienating them

Tablet-based surveys have additional benefits for the surveyor, including:
• The ability to follow a survey in real-time from a remote location due to WiFi capabilities
• The ability to request clarification of responses in real-time from a remote location
• The ability to both use and capture sound, pictures, and video in the survey process
• Easy assimilation and analysis of data collected due to the ability to export data to MS Excel or

SPSS
• GPS location capturing and map integration
• The ability to easily configure, customize, and alter surveys
• The advantages inherent in cloud based software such as scalability, security, and access
• Integrated quota management
• An end to end survey data collection service
• The ability to configure multiple users and groups with different permissions

Conclusion

Tablet-based survey software has been a panacea for the survey data collection industry. Like any disruptive technology it was met by cynicism from the incumbents but has quickly gained market dominance due to its compelling characteristics for all involved. And today, when engaging customers is more important than ever,tablet-based CAPI software is the perfect solution at the perfect time.

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