Finding the right tool to organize your customer research can be a challenge for your team. Depending on the type of data you use, the other applications you use, and the space you have in your budget, different products will work for you.
One of the less costly alternatives to a product like EnjoyHQ is a manual research repository, such as Google Drive or Airtable. That type of product relies less on rules and tends to require manual data entry rather than collecting data through integrations. The difference in functionality between those two types of products can make a direct comparison seem counter-intuitive. That being said, their core functions of aggregating and arranging data are similar. For many teams, EnjoyHQ and the manual research repositories are substitutes.
If your team is dealing with fairly simple data in small quantities, a manual research repository will do the trick. If not, going for one of the cheaper options could create problems down the road.
The data you need may come from many sources and in many forms. A customer research product that integrates with as many different applications as possible and is compatible with as many file formats as possible can be a valuable asset. You might be using video or audio recordings from interviews or customer search or purchase histories. You might need to draw your data from a raft of applications like Trello, Asana, or Dropbox. The wrong tool will cost your team more time than it saves.
These three products are a mixed bag when it comes to gathering data. Google Drive stands out for the wide range of file types it can upload, while EnjoyHQ offers support for a somewhat narrower range of file types but better integration with third-party apps than either of the manual research repositories.
All three products allow text and image uploads, but that may not be enough. If your team is handling data like interviews and usability tests, you will need to upload audio and video files as well. Google Drive allows uploads of audio and video files; EnjoyHQ supports video but not audio.
- EnjoyHQ and Google Drive support most video file formats, including .mp4, .mov, and .avi.
- Google Drive supports most audio file formats, including .mp3, .mpeg, and .wav.
Airtable, meanwhile, does not support audio or video. If the data you are dealing with cannot be expressed solely through text and images, a product like Airtable will hold you back.
Whatever form your data takes, most of today’s teams will be collecting it from a raft of other tools. You will almost certainly need a product that can integrate with those applications easily. For this purpose, Google Drive and Airtable rely on Zapier, a third-party application that allows other products to pass data to each other.
Useful as it may be, integration with Zapier can create problems for your team down the road. Customer research tools with native integrations that pull data without relying on another tool as an intermediary can simplify your work. A product with native integrations will not make you reliant on third-party software, which might drop features you need or otherwise break your workflow in the future. Only EnjoyHQ allows native integrations in addition to integration through Zapier.
Automatically tagging and sorting data can be a vital force multiplier once your customer base gets reasonably large. Neither of the top manual research repositories offers much functionality on sorting or segmenting data, but EnjoyHQ does.
EnjoyHQ allows your team to define custom user properties and use them to sort your data. Neither Google Drive nor Airtable includes that feature.
Flexibility around tracking user properties can be a valuable tool. Some teams will need to know the difference between the behavior of younger and older users. Others will need to measure the ways users who live in different cities behave. Working with a tool that provides a hard-wired set of properties to apply to users can hold you back, as the developers for your customer research tool probably do not know exactly what properties you need to track.
Segmentation can complement this sort of user property feature. Breaking your users into segments can help your researchers prioritize certain data points or measure interaction effects. EnjoyHQ includes a robust segmentation feature, allowing your team to build segments based on any property that you can use to describe a piece of data like a user or document. You could, for example, create a segment that includes any documents your UX designer has seen that your lead engineer has also seen.
It also allows you to build segments from multiple overlapping properties, meaning you could, for instance, group every user who expressed a positive reaction to your product in the last six weeks under your most expensive plan. This way, you can avoid sifting through a pile of irrelevant information to find the data points you need.
The tools Google Drive and Airtable provide for this purpose are minimal. Airtable’s views feature behaves somewhat like segmentation in EnjoyHQ, allowing you to examine and edit data selectively. Unlike true segmentation though, views do not stick to your data such that any member of your team can call up, at will, a subgroup based on multiple properties.
Creating rules to automatically tag data can be a lifesaver for your team. Google Drive and EnjoyHQ both include automation features, but Airtable does not. With EnjoyHQ, for example, you could automatically mark any document that mentions SMS so that the relevant engineer knows to look at it. Rules in EnjoyHQ can use any property, including properties that your team created specifically for your project.
To turn your raw data into something that will help your team solve problems, having ways to query your data and build reports from it can be a serious advantage. EnjoyHQ includes devoted search and data visualization tools, but the manual research repositories are a mixed bag. Google Drive comes close to EnjoyHQ in search features and visualization, while Airtable offers little functionality.
Google Drive and EnjoyHQ both support data visualizations and reports. With those tools, you can display information like trends in user retention over time or differences in user feedback based on age. Airtable, on the other hand, is not built to be a data reporting or visualization tool. If your team is not doing much data analysis, or the analysis you are doing is simple enough not to require built-in reporting, this might not be a major concern. Otherwise, a product like Airtable is unlikely to meet your needs.
The ability to search your data will also come in handy once you are dealing with a reasonably large customer base. Nearly all customer research tools include a search feature of some kind, but not all such features are alike. EnjoyHQ allows you to join criteria in a search with and/or operators and build those criteria around any property.
Google Drive also includes a committed search feature, although it’s less flexible than search in EnjoyHQ. With Google Drive, your team can only search along a few hard-coded options, such as strings in the document text or file name. It will not allow you to use more specialized criteria, such as which team members have viewed a document.
Airtable’s search feature is more rudimentary even than Google Drive’s. That being said, Airtable is only about seven-years-old. It is quite likely that the company will build on this part of the product in the future. For the time being though, Airtable’s functionality on search is limited.
EnjoyHQ further sets itself apart by offering advanced query language support, which neither of the manual research repositories does. This tool allows your team to further narrow their searches, using criteria like file type or which folder a document is saved to.
Return on Investment
The advanced features that EnjoyHQ offers come at a cost. While pricing varies depending on the size of the team and the range of tools you use, EnjoyHQ is significantly more expensive than manual research repositories across the board.
Airtable is, on average, the cheapest of the three. Its simplest plan is free, and its more robust plans cost up to $20 per user per month. With its free plan, Airtable provides unlimited “bases” or collections of tables team members can use to organize projects.
- It limits team members to 1,200 records per base, and 2 GB of space for attachments per base.
- It allows team members to revisit a history of changes for each record going back two weeks.
Airtable’s Plus plan, priced at $10 per user per month, raises the cap on records to 5,000 per base, ups the space for attachments to 5 GB, and offers a revision history going back six weeks.
Its Pro plan, at $20 per user, further raises the cap to 50,000 records per base, with 20 GB of space for attachments and a revision history going back a full year. It also offers some extra perks like password-protected shares and early access to new features.
Airtable also offers an Enterprise plan that pushes the cap on space up to 1,000 gigabytes and provides a three-year revision history. That plan’s cost and some of its specific features will vary based on your team’s needs, but it will be pricier than even the Pro plan.
Google Drive’s plans range from $6 per user per month to $25 per user per month. Its Basic plan, at $6 per user, includes the bare bones of the product. With it, your team can create, edit, and share documents, and it includes 30 GB of cloud storage. It also includes built-in communication tools such as business email and secure messaging between team members.
Google Drive’s Business plan, raising the price to $12 per user per month, offers unlimited cloud storage, or 1 terabyte per user if your team has fewer than five users. It also adds smart search, allowing your team to search across all the G Suite services, like Gmail and Calendar. On top of that, it adds the low-code app development environment, helping your team build apps with features like a drag-and-drop UI editor and built-in templates.
Google Drive’s Enterprise plan, at $25 per user per month, adds administrative controls and data retrieval features onto the Pro plan. With it, your team can monitor what Google staff are doing with your data and control where it is moved. The Enterprise plan also adds security checks for your data and encryption to let your team send more secure emails.
EnjoyHQ’s plans differ in price based on the number of team members and the number of data integrations. A ‘Mars’ plan for a 50-person team with only a single integration would set you back $514.55 per month, roughly $10 per team member. The same type of plan for a five-person team with five integrations would cost $740 per month, almost $150 per team member.
The Mars plan includes unlimited read-only users and unlimited research projects as well as Google SSO and 20 video uploads per month. The more comprehensive ‘Jupiter’ plan adds on import and export APIs, with any number of integrations and unlimited video uploads. The price of the Jupiter plan will vary based on your team’s needs, but it will nearly always be more costly than the Mars plan.
You Get What You Pay For
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and no customer research platform will change that. EnjoyHQ provides a broader set of features than either of the top manual research repositories and can cost significantly more depending on which of its features your team needs. Google Drive provides somewhat better functionality for automation and analysis, such as its data visualization tools, but costs slightly more at the low end. If your data sets are large and you need laser-precise tools to get the insights you need, the higher price tag on a product like EnjoyHQ will pay dividends in staff time saved and headaches prevented.