Vovici recently posted a blog entitled “58% of Respondents Don’t Like Surveys” (http://bit.ly/dWhQwz).

Vovici fielded the survey and describe themselves as, “the leading provider of intelligent online survey management and feedback solutions.”

As I’ve gained more experience garnering insights from different target audiences, I recommend talking to customers and prospects rather than surveying them.

Surveys are cold and impersonal. Interviews, ideally one-on-one, are a conversation.

There were some positives in Vovici’s research:

  • 13% of respondents want to voice their opinion
  • 10% like to be helpful
  • 9% like interesting topics
  • 7% want their answers to make a difference

Having conducted quantitative and qualitative research for more than 30 years, my experience is that one-on-one, in-depth interviews consistently yield far more actionable insights than focus groups or surveys.

This methodology is also a much better way to build a relationship with a customer or prospect.

Consumers, B2B and B2C, want to express their opinions, like to be helpful, like interesting topics and want their answers to make a difference.

All of this can be accomplished when you have a face-to-face, or even a personal phone, conversation with a respondent.

Not only will you get feedback on the topics you want to discuss, you’ll find out what’s important to the respondent that you hadn’t even thought about.

I highly recommend completing every interview with the question, “Is there anything I failed to ask you that you think I need to know about this topic?” Frequently the respondent will provide additional thoughts on an earlier question or make a suggestion that no one had even considered.

Your sincere interest in what the respondent is saying will let the respondent know they are being helpful. When the respondent sees this, they’ll be more open and give you their in-depth thoughts on the subject rather than the canned answers they think you want to hear or the socially acceptable answer that’s frequently provided in a focus group.

It’s much more interesting to speak with a real person than to complete an impersonal online survey.

Your follow-up questions, and ability to answer the respondents’ questions, will affirm that their answers will make a difference.

I conducted one-on-one interviews with 15 customers and prospects of a client and followed it up with an online survey of another 800 respondents. The answers to the standard questions were consistent between the qualitative and quantitative research.

Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional