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QuestionPro – failing epicly

28 comments



QuestionPro - online surveys
QuestionPro used to be my favorite online survey tool:

I just wanted to contact QuestionPro and let you all know that your product is terrific. As a full time graduate student at Oregon State University, I have used QP to create and deliver 2 surveys with functionality that other free services could not provide.
Eric Stoller

Back in 2005, I created a couple of online surveys using QuestionPro for some projects while I was in graduate school. I was impressed with the overall functionality and flexibility of QuestionPro’s system. Years later, I noticed that the above quote of me praising QuestionPro was on their website. In October of 2008, I sarcastically tweeted that I should get some kickbacks for their use of my quote on their student research website. Shortly after I posted that tweet into the Twittersphere, I received an email from a QuestionPro representative asking me if I would like a “partner license.” I’m always up for trying out new levels of technology access, so I said yes and all of a sudden, I had a partner license to QuestionPro.

While my account levels for QuestionPro were being upgraded, it just so happened, coincidentally, that I was hired for a consulting project that required an online survey. I was excited about using QuestionPro for this project…especially since I now had a “partner license.” So I went to work creating a survey that had conditional branching, some matrix-based questions, and a few yes/no type questions. The survey worked like a charm…except for two major issues. The top portion of the survey (above my custom logo/color scheme) displayed the following text: “this free survey is powered by QuestionPro – try it yourself”. The bottom or footer of the survey displayed the QuestionPro logo with links back to QuestionPro. Initially, I figured that I could just pay QuestionPro for a corporate license for a couple months ($200) and send out a non-branded survey. I searched all over the QuestionPro website and wasn’t able to find any information about a non-branded (sans QuestionPro advertisements) survey option. I called the QuestionPro office in Seattle and was never able to actually talk with someone. I did receive an email regarding my branding issue:

This is how we hit that low price point – gotta have the branding on there. I recommend looking elsewhere – you won’t find this level of features at our price.

I could not believe it. QuestionPro does not have a non-branded survey option? A corporate license costs $99 per month. I was willing to PAY for a non-branded option and they were telling me to take my business elsewhere. Unbelievable. I posted a tweet on to Twitter announcing my disappointment with QuestionPro.

I received an email from QuestionPro the day after my “QuestionPro = epic fail” tweet:

We don’t think calling us a “Fail” is really beneficial here. I think I’ve gone out of my way to help you – anyways – Please go ahead and use any other vendor of your choice. I’ll be terminating access to your account.

Apparently, QuestioPro doesn’t allow for non-QuestionPro-branded surveys…no matter how much you pay for their service. If a customer complains about this issue (especially on Twitter), then their account is “terminated”. I tried to login today to my QuestionPro account and I received this error: “This account is currently blocked.” What!? Before I had a “partner license”, I still had access to my original grad student account and now I am blocked. Note to QuestionPro clients, it’s not a good idea to publicly voice your opinions about their services. Very disappointing…

However, stay tuned for my follow-up post where I talk about the survey solution that I ended up using for this survey project.

Written by Eric Stoller

March 22nd, 2009 at 8:35 pm

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  • http://blog.questionpro.com/ Vivek Bhaskaran

    Continuing the conversation – We gave you a partner license – This is reserved for strategic partners. The tools and services offered with the Partner license are not available to everyone. You then asked for customizations to the license. We said no. You went and told everyone we “failed” – OK – A FREE license holder asking us for customizations. Not really a partner. We moved on and I am sure you can too.

    And if the response if “I will pay” — Does’nt make any sense — From a business standpoint you are either a partner or a customer.

    Sorry it did’nt work out.

    Vivek

  • http://blog.questionpro.com/ Vivek Bhaskaran

    Hmm – If we are indeed that bad then why this???

    http://twitter.com/elaineschoch/statuses/1362324450

  • http://www.thechronicleof.com Jillian Reading

    After reading Vivek’s comments, I am not sure that I would want to deal with Questionpro either…

  • http://rhetoricalwasteland.wordpress.com Dennis

    *jaw agape*

    After reading Vivek’s comments, it would take a LOT for me to ever use QuestionPro. They sort of shot themselves in the foot on this one.

    Ouch.

  • http://www.edustyle.net Cody

    @Vivek You obviously don’t get it. It NEVER pays to beat up your users (free or paying) in public.

    A mature company would have treated Eric’s query about branding as a feature request, not someone trying to take advantage.

  • Fred

    Great customer service pal.

    As this blog entry goes viral it’s going to really make Vivek and QuestionPro look bad. I first thought you must have been some (soon to be fired) customer service rep but I see you are actually a Co-Founder and CEO. WOW!! I’d be embarrassed if I were you!

    http://blog.questionpro.com/vivek/

    Maybe you should leave the customer service to someone who’s trained in customer service.

  • http://rhetoricalwasteland.wordpress.com Dennis

    Co-founder and CEO? As my friend Melissa says, “Oh, EFF.”

    Eric, you have the best experiences =)

  • Fred

    Eric.. You should post something about QuestionPro on: http://www.pissedconsumer.com/

    I still can’t believe the nerve of this guy. He really has no clue!!!!

  • http://ericstoller.com/blog/ Eric Stoller

    I’m not angry with the folks at QuestionPro. I would say that I am bemusedly appalled by their lack of customer service and public relations tactics.

    I would definitely post something to bemusedlyappalled.com ;-)

  • http://www.proworks.com Loyan

    Mr. Vivek Bhaskaran, it is not too late to repair this. Please considder

    1. Acknowledging Eric’s perspective as valuable (you don’t need to agree)
    2. Share your perspective with Eric (and now others)
    3. Invite Eric (and others) to explore all possible solutions with you (must be genuine)
    4. If a solution does not exist that works for both of you, thank Eric for considdering you.
    5. Share (with others) what you have gained from the experience and how you can use it.

    While this is emotionally expensive it is a cost free soltuion for you. We are all human and we are endeared to people who trip and get back up.

  • http://itrookie.wordpress.com Tiffany

    I recently posted about what I would call mildly annoying lack of customer service. This is, indeed, an EPIC FAIL!

  • Chris G

    Interesting. We just talked to them and got the strong impression that the survey can be branded any way you want. We’ll go back and ask, specifically, because it was an important criterion in our screening of vendors. Come to think of it, non-knee-jerk-reacting executives are also a criterion. Cutting you off was a huge blunder. Somebody should review this guy’s decisions before he’s allowed to do anything.

  • Vivek Bhaskaran

    Whoa, OK, I officially feel like an AIG dude getting slapped around over here…I would agree, after reviewing the exchange between Eric and myself, that I was harsh. The customer has spoken and I am listening. Eric, your account is enabled and you have access to unlimited surveying without branding. Have fun with it.

  • Srsaw

    I am surprised about the AIG comment since they are one of your clients.

  • http://www.MarvelMoore.com Marv

    Could you tell me when it was that QuestionPro dropped their price to $99? They have been charging me nearly $200 a month. The person that I contacted in billing said that it changed at the start of May! Yet your posting is March 22nd and says that it is $99.

  • CP

    Hi
    My web professional account on Questionpro is kicking me out since yesterday. There is no one on chat support of questionpro to help; no one is answering the phone (I called Sales #s). I need to work on this data as am working on my dissertation. Can anyone help??? I’m dying of helplessness!!

    CP

  • http://marvelmoore.com Marv

    He should call the technical number. They can let the phone ring for a long time, but there are times where you can reach technical.

    Also, it is a good idea to check from time to time their prices. When I was an account holder, I was signed on for a couple of hundred dollars a month. They then lowered the price (I found out through this blog) and did not inform current accounts. When I asked for a recredit of monies, they said for weeks that someone would be getting back with me and no one ever did.

    So I cancelled.

    Their tech guys are very competent and also cover sales and accounts it seems. It appears that they may have some policies that disallow their service people to make decisions that are in consideration of the customer. I thought that it would be ethical for me to be recreditted the few hundred dollars that I had been being overcharged and no one in accounts could or would give me a decision; just referral to someone who never called back!

    But their tech guys know their software program and are good!

    I am now using survs.com and find it very pleasing. I think that there is a free price still available. The interface is very much simpler than questionpro.

    QuestionPro is an excellent example of a great tech product with very inflexible policies in re: customer service.

    Marv

  • http://marvelmoore.com Marv

    http://twitter.com/vivekbhaskaran

    Vivek is one of the founders. Maybe you can raise him!

    Dan

  • http://www.ireachonline.com oisin byrne

    Hi,

    Just wondering how all this ended…..we have recently subscribed to QuestionPro and seem to be going back in time with issues aound Branding, Customer Service etc. almost exactly 1 year later. Appreciate if others out there are in the same boat?

  • http://ericstoller.com/blog/ Eric Stoller

    It ended with me discontinuing my use of QuestionPro and going to another online survey provider – Survs.

    • Craig Daly

      Eric, you should be looking at Qualtrics. Oregon State now uses that University Wide. Let me know if need anything there.
      Craig Daly (craid@Qualtrics.com)

  • http://www.imsglobal.org/ Rob

    We just went through a situation with QuestionPro that you would want to avoid. They tried to increase our annual fees from $4999 to $12000. The way we found out about the increase was that they tried to charge the credit card on file for the annual renewal. Luckily, the card had expired. However, QuestionPro locked up our account. This is after some 6-7 years working with them. And, they will not allow us or anyone else to downgrade to a more cost effective solution – threatening to delete all the data.

    We are disgusted with QuestionPro. We checked out Survs but it did not have enough power for what we do. We found SurveyGizmo – http://www.surveygizmo.com/ – and we are very pleased. It has more sophisticated features than QuestionPro, is easier to use, and is reasonably priced. Most importantly – they don’t attempt to lock you in – you can switch plans at any time.

    So, I have to say that the behavior of QuestionPro in our case was despicable and maybe even fraudulent. Please do not make the same mistake we did by going down the QuestionPro route. Check out SurveyGizmo, Survs, or any of the many other great tools out there. Don’t let QuestionPro lock you in and screw you down the road!

  • Anna

    Yes, apparently Questionpro would rather lose customers than allow them to subscribe to a less expensive package.
    I was their customer for years. With my latest surveys I had continuous trouble with my survey respondents being constantly dropped off the surveys in the middle of their answers. Tried to have the questionpro staff look into this issue but despite my multiple trials to communicate with them, they never followed up. Also, they do not allow downgrading your service to a cheaper version once you upgrade to a more expensive service. I did not want to continue paying $100 (or actually $99 :)) per month for a service that did not work. Instead of allowing me to keep my surveys active at the cheaper Web Professional rate ($15 per month) they made me cancel my account. I won’t miss their “service”.

  • Michelle

    I am using QuestionPro to send a customer satisfaction survey to a select group of our partners. The Tool is quirky and it not intuitive and full of BUGS! Many of the advertised functions don’t actually work such as the security feature to lock the survey with a unique password for each participant or with a global password. Also after you enter a survey with skip logic and then copy that survey, the tool doesn’t reliably copy the survey; many of the questions went into error and the skip logic had to be reprogrammed. The staff at QuestionPro said that is a known bug and there was nothing that could be done about it.
    Other things that I don’t like include the fact that you cannot customize the reminder email. You cannot also put the logo on just the first page of the survey.
    Additionally QuestionPro has a feature to allow a survey participant to save their survey and finish it later; however if you have questions with skip logic; the save & continue function does not work reliably; when the customer tries to pick up where he/she left off, the questions are presented but none of the possible answers are visible so the customer cannot answer the question. If that question is mandatory, then the customer has to restart the survey all over all. When I asked the online chat support person for assistance, they once again said that this is a known bug.
    The tool has a 15 minute idle timer. If the customer stops to answer a call or talk to someone for more than 15 minutes, the survey tool cuts them off and they have to start all over again. You cannot customize or turnoff this automatic idle timer.
    In summary I do not recommend this tool to anyone.

  • Craig Daly

    Check out Qualtrics. Within 3 rings you’re talking to somebody. It’s an award winning experience. Email me or call if you need anything.
    CraigD@Qualtrics.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Irina-Voskanova/1116991164 Irina Voskanova

    that is why i use CreateSurvey, http://www.createsurvey.com

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