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Tools for Survey, both offline & online in India

Before we dive-in, do read how surveys are mostly done by outsourced agencies (in this case in-house for Dilbert, and his HR team.) Please click on the image, enlarge it and read it.

We recently came across one of our customers running a gigantic survey, and they were struggling to find the best way to do a good survey with existing tools available in the market. They wanted to get to know the “Pulse” of their consumers directly, and were not interested in outsourcing this to a 3rd party data collection, or market research firm. It was great to see a fairly well reputed organization trying to understand their consumers themselves, and hence an honest search started with them to find the right products and tools to help them with the survey.

This is how we/they tackled it:

1. They focussed on “Why” they were conducting a market survey-cum-research, and some of the basic reasons for most companies are:
– To collect data points
– To mobilize people towards a single objective point
– learn from existing behavior and clients/customers
– get feedback from customers

2. Once, they figured the “Why”, the focus was on “What is the Goal” of the survey, a single mission point:
– They nailed it to finding whether X is something is interested in.

3. Goal nailed, next target was defining the audience, segmenting them and understanding where they reside, and what would be the easiest way to reach out to them:
– This was a study around Indian consumers, which meant not only Urban, but also Rural India, and this was concerning, because getting real data was difficult, apart from the government reports (which are great) being readily available.

4. What “Tools” to use, so that “real data is reported” and measurable from the start. This brings us to a good discussion around what can an Indian company focussing on doing a survey, market research, data collection use to capture information from across Indian users, both Urban & Rural, we did a lot of research ourselves and came down to the following types and tools:

Pull & Push techniques and/or In-site & Off-Site tools-

If your audience is online, there are a few very good tools you can use to engage with existing audiences (smartly) from your website, social networks and e-mail push surveys, and if your audience is offline, there are ways to tackle this as well.


1. WebEngage (A #madeinIndia SaaS Product) and as Avlesh puts it has mastered the art of running “Context based targeted surveys”, and this gives companies with good traffic or any traffic to ask the right questions, to the right people.

2. Survey Monkey is a popular tool, and is used by many companies and organizations for its ease of use and setup. This product allows you to setup a simple questionnaire and now reach out to a set of e-mail database you will have of your existing users/consumers or customers.

(this helps cover your online traffic and there are more tools possible, with many more suggestions of online tools, but I would say with these 2 you are covered well)


3. Engaging people on Social Media channels is a great way to also collect data, and there are some successful experiments on twitter, Linkedin and Facebook and in most of these social networks, you can embed the above online tools also to engage with them.

In a country like India, the Offline & Mobile will be also very important:


4. Exotel! 🙂 – A lot of India is on mobile, but might not have complete access to Internet, and this was the case with our customer, so they decided to use 2-3 applications within Exotel such as

a. SMS (Outgoing and Incoming), sending a simple blast out, and also asking them to respond either on the website or via an SMS reply to an Incoming SMS enabled phone number.

b. Also, they utilized the push IVR Voice services to call people in rural areas within their own language, and this made it easy for them to leave a 1 (Yes) or 2 (No) answer over the phone itself, and it was an incoming call.

c. Missed Call to register for the survey and support the goal.

5. Offline kiosks, feet-on-street and data survey collection agencies – since I/we have no personal references here in this space, if any of you do come across any reliable, good one’s, please do share.


6. Touchmetric is a great mobile based survey tool you can use to reach out to internet mobile users in India, and conduct quick surveys via this product.

7. Mobile-ad networks such as Google, InMobi have plans for large people to utilize their mobile ad-network programs as well, and reach out to custom audiences on the right devices, in the right region, and if you have more concise data on your user, then even further!

Do let us know what else has worked for you/your company in the Indian context, and we would love to try it out, and share it with our existing users.

Most importantly – why we insist on using tools, is so that you can “track” digitally, and not have to go through a painful process of fighting over a pile of useless forms, and not make it difficult for your end consumer either.

Also, if you are an NGO, or any organization looking for quick free tools, check out this link

Manisha Mishra

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