Salesforce is probably, all around, the best CRM suite available to date. With its cloud infrastructure, platform independence and deep, rich extended programmability, it has a lot to offer. With Salesforce, its limitations are ultimately only the limitations of your own ingenuity. With the app exchange providing a plethora of extensions by professional developers, though, even your own limits of creative power don’t entirely cap its capabilities anymore. Survey Force is an example of that fact painted quite clearly. Sometimes the data being fed into your CRM needs to be fleshed out a little more than the default forms provide, of course. This results, in many cases, in assigning some poor sap with the task of manually copying large amounts of data from other sources into the CRM one at a time. Talk about tedious and inefficient, right? And when it comes to the most data-heavy and intricate records – those of customer feedback (which even using standard forms, manages to utterly destandardize due to the human element) – well, it’s a migraine. Survey Force aims to remedy this. The question, of course, is … does it? We went into this really hoping we wouldn’t be disappointed, because finding a way to marry customer feedback of useful design with the power and parallelism of Salesforce CRM is something that’s been sorely needed in CRM in general, since the advent of that software niche. There’s no denying that customer service and support has longed for the self service movement to offshift customer input into something a bit more automated as well, so they didn’t have to handle calls where they simply interpret gripes or applause into tangible data in CRM themselves as well. So, we were cautiously hopeful when we began putting this extension to the test, that it’d fill the role it claimed to, with gusto. It’s a bit of a spoiler to say this, but it mostly did. Tethering to the already powerful and flexible form system that Salesforce natively offers, to create feedback and survey forms, this isn’t quite the same as an integration app to bring in another software structure, but rather a way of adding functionality to Salesforce itself. This means that the annoyances of mapping fields in two disparate applications to exchange properly isn’t an issue here, which is a great first impression. The interface for creating these is quite simple, with a drag and drop system to create and order questions. Deploying them is as easy as just piggybacking them over the email templates and sites that Salesforce already supports for other data capture. Itemizing the data captured is easy, using contacts, cases and reports, and allowing the use of Salesforce’s dashboard to do analysis just as easily as campaign tracking or book management has been since Salesforce’s inception. While it lacks any technical support or service from its developers or Salesforce themselves, the forum and review channel for this app already has an active community that is mostly willing to help when legitimate questions or issues come up. That prevents the lack of support from being nearly as damning, but it is a major issue to bear in mind. All in all, the simple, intuitive design of Survey Force, using what Salesforce already does skillfully, to add another native form design and data capture channel to the system is well worth the purchase and installation if you, like many companies, need that customer feedback in a defined data form.