Real-time survey analytic tools: The Closest Thing to a Crystal Ball

Real-time survey analytic tools and their contribution to market research: The Closest Thing to a Crystal Ball

Imagine a scenario where you are on the phone conducting a customer satisfaction survey when you reach a disgruntled customer. After the completion of the survey you ask the customer if they would like to be contacted directly by a customer service representative to speak about the dissatisfaction. Almost immediately, a notification is sent and the customer service representative calls the respondent to make amends.

Crystal BallNow imagine that you work for a public relations firm anxious to be the first to talk to people about the latest hit television series. You put an online survey in the field and within just a few hours, in the middle of the night, you have the top-line results to release to the press.

Real-time survey analytics tools are sweeping the market research industry. Not only do they allow researchers to watch their studies while in field, but there are a lot of potentially hidden benefits as well, like the two scenarios mentioned above.


Real-time survey analytics software allows researchers to see their data quickly and clearly. With minimal set up in most cases, researchers can begin monitoring key variables almost immediately after fielding begins. With some software, trend analysis can also be viewed in real-time allowing researchers to identify trends much quicker than having to wait for fielding to finish and the final data to be pulled. Therefore, if there are sudden changes, or trending increases or decreases in key measures such as satisfaction or awareness, the researcher can make timely associations with actual events or make on the spot decisions.


Traditionally, researchers had to wait for the study to finish and analyze the full data set. Since survey analytics tools make the data is up-to-the-minute, researcher can make decisions or take action much quicker. For example, as mentioned in the first scenario, customer services representatives could connect in a timely manner to ensure the best chance at remediation; all because of the ability to look at the data in the “now” rather than later. Likewise, if a marketing campaign tests the response to a new product, service, or advertisement and the initial results are not promising, a decision can be made quickly to either change the campaign or let it run its course. The possibilities are endless.


Data analytics tools offer up-to-date information – rather than waiting for full data file – which makes the data fresh and more significant to the task at hand. In some instances, data collected a week ago is not nearly as valuable as the fresh real-time data. In our second scenario, the PR firm would not have the success or the “breaking” news if they had to wait for even a top-line view of the data.


Most survey analytic tools are customizable, meaning that researchers have the ability to build their data in the way that best fits the needs of their research project. Cross tabulations are easily run and filters are readily available based on the information collect from each respondent. For example, a company may want to look at customer satisfaction data on a regional level, then on a store level and even at an  employee level.

In addition to adding custom filters, survey analytics software also allows researchers to segment data with ease based on an algorithm built into the survey – a specified response variable or demographics. This view is helpful if there are specific variables that need to be monitored more closely than others or if the researcher finds a need to over recruit to a certain segment mid-field.

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Quick and Easy Top-Line Reporting

As mentioned in the second scenario, real-time survey analytics provide prompt and trouble-free top-line reporting when information needs to be disseminated quickly. This makes the tool perfect for political polling, PR firms, market testing, customer satisfaction surveys and more. The best part is that in many cases, the survey analytics tool works with all modes of data collection whether it be telephone (CATI), face-to-face (CAPI), or online / mobile.

SSI’s Data Express™ tool provides real-time access to survey data, as well project details like incidence, cooperation and interview length. In addition, Data Express provides analytical tools like cross-tabulation and advanced filtering that is unparalleled the industry. Additionally, data can be downloaded directly from the site in Excel and SPSS format to give users the flexibility to access important data when it’s needed the most.

Download PDF: Survey Analytic Tools: The Closest Thing To A Crystal Ball

By Kristin Cavallaro, Knowledge & Data Analysis Specialist


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