Consumer Insights on Surveys versus Interviews

Vovici recently posted a blog entitled “58% of Respondents Don’t Like Surveys” (  They fielded the survey and describe themselves as, “the leading provider of intelligent online survey management and feedback solutions.”

As I have done since I began this blog, I recommend talking to customers and prospects rather than surveying them.  Surveys are cold and impersonal.  Interviews are a dialogue.

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 nearly 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 far 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 these things can be accomplished when you have a face-to-face, or even a 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.

Your sincere interest in what the respondent is saying will let the respondent know they are being helpful.

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.  However, the depth and value of the insights from the interviews were invaluable relative to what was obtained from the online survey.

What’s your experience with in-depth interviews versus other methodologies?


About Insights From Analytics

Integrated marketing professional who generates insights from analytics to increase revenue. Daily blog now resides at
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