Are you a store owner in the U.S.? Do you know one? I want your opinion on a few things.
I’m working up some data on small stores and payment plans and local loyalty programs for some friends of mine. As part of that, I’ve worked up a quick and easy survey — only 10 questions, no names, no email addresses, no sensitive data, just your opinion — that I’d like you to take.
Yes, there are some amazing tools for doing market surveys quickly and easy. I use SurveyMonkey myself, very happily. And I know of (but don’t have reason to use) cool tools to send surveys to selected groups of respondents.
But there’s a problem with that, especially if you overuse it. Most surveys are seriously flawed. I’ve posted my problems with surveys here and here, but for today, you could read the lingering question of the survey revolution for a thorough and thoughtful treatment of some deep problems. That was posted today over at questionpro blog.
I suggest that instead of the quick and easy survey, get on the phone, or better yet in person, and have real conversations with real people. I bet you learn way more about your business by actually listening to 10 live people than you’re every going to learn in a market survey.
Of course this only works if you listen. Talking is essential, yes, but what really matters is asking the right questions and actively listening, keeping your mind open, to what people say. And that they think. Otherwise, without the listening, it’s just more wasted time.
Ask yourself: do you prefer sending an email to talking to a person? Would you rather deal with your computer and keyboard than a live human person? Do you call a phone hoping to get voicemail instead of the person? Is this what you’re doing with the quick and easy market surveys? Avoiding real conversation?