As survey programming experts, we’ve heard far too many horror stories from customers outsourcing their survey programming to offshore companies.

Some of these issues include:

  • Miscommunication
  • Availability
  • Data Privacy and Security
  • Cultural and Ethical Differences
  • Quality of Work

To avoid these problems, it’s important to be aware of the risks you take when outsourcing survey programming from offshore companies.

Miscommunication (Language barrier)

As you may expect, miscommunication in highly technical survey programming can be harmful to your project. You or your client could receive something completely different than what was originally communicated/expected.

Now imagine you are communicating regularly with someone who doesn’t speak your language fluently. Depending on their level of language proficiency, you will need to make sure your emails are simple and correctly worded. If not, there could be a miscommunication that will lead to more issues down the road.

For an optimal partnership, frequent and clear communication is essential within the market research industry.

Availability (Time Zone Difference)

As if this wasn’t enough, now imagine introducing time zones to the equation. Working under tight deadlines with another company in a vastly different time zone than your firm can introduce unnecessary barriers; particularly when you’re looking to expedite the survey programming process.

  • Near impossible to talk over a quick meeting because of the time zone difference
  • Every email sent takes one business day to receive
  • Your partners likely speak the same language

These barriers can lead to issues with the final product and could elongate the outsourcing process. Being that a key reason to outsource is to save time, why jeopardize your timeline by outsourcing to another country offshore.

To put this into perspective, India, Bulgaria, and Romania, are common survey programming outsourcing locations. If you are a US-based firm and you opt to outsource work offshore, you will range from being around 9 – 15 hours behind your survey programming company.

Your communication will be hampered by adding about a day to every message sent and received. As we previously discussed in our language barriers section, you will need to send more emails to clear up common language miscommunications.

Not only will you be struggling to communicate via email, but a phone call is near impossible to have because of the time zone difference. Coupled together, these issues will create serious flaws in your communication process; consequently, impacting your quality of work as a market research firm.

Data Privacy and Security

Anytime a 3rd party has access to data there is an inherent security risk. Surveys often contain sensitive and valuable information about the company conducting them and the respondents answering them. As such you must trust the company programming your survey.

However, you should not rely solely on trust, which is why rules and regulations around data security and compliance exist such as:

  • GDPR – European General Data Protection Regulation
  • ISO 27001– The international standard that helps organizations manage their information security
  • Non-disclosure Agreement – A legal contract to protect sensitive information from being shared
  • Privacy Policy – A document outlining how a company gathers and uses data

If you opt to outsource your survey programming, ask your vendor what rules and regulations they follow and how data is being stored and protected, particularly personally identifiable data (PII). Laws and regulations vary from country to country and compliance will vary from company to company, so be careful when using a fly-by-night programmer to cut costs.

Cultural and Ethical Differences

Developing a true partnership with your programmer is crucial if you are looking to reduce hiccups and increase efficiency. But that can be difficult to do if you do not match culturally with your survey programming vendor. Different cultures have different ideologies around workplace structure, values, and goals. If cultures do not align relationship building is difficult and can feel more one-sided as opposed to a true partnership.

Below you can see how the United States culture differs from the countries mentioned previously.

Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions Chart


Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions Scale


Quality of Work

The main benefit of outsourcing to an offshore company is lower cost. However, like most things when it comes to survey programming you get what you pay for.

While outsourcing your market research and/or survey programming to another country may save you money in the short term; in the long term, it will seriously impact your quality of work and even your reputation.

Choosing a high-quality survey programming company like Jibunu will not only eliminate these dangers but also increase your capabilities through cutting edge innovation and functionality in the survey programming industry.

And if you’re comparing costs, send us a few quote requests to compare to your current survey outsourcing prices!