Most Surveys Don’t Work, Here is why.

Recently, we had a situation where a business owner was very frustrated. He owned a wine bar and he had what he thought were really good salespeople working at the bar, but there was a problem as the orders came in, the wine was not going out. Buckets of other alcohol, beer and all kinds of other things.

But not the good wine. He couldn’t figure out what was going on. So he went out and found a marketing company, the expert there said, “well, you know, we can fix you up. What we need to do is a survey. What’s the problem?”. Our frustrated owner told the marketing person, “I think we have the wrong wine”. So she set out and created a survey. But the truth is the survey was much like going to school and asking little kids for an answer.

Everybody knows the right answer. When they see the survey, they know what the restaurant wants, they know what they want, but they sort of go in the middle. They don’t always tell the truth because they might like very expensive wine, but they may not pay for it.

If you ask little children, Hey, can. What would it take to get you guys to say, I don’t know, buy more cake. Do you think you’ll get the right answer? It’s kind of like asking little Sally, which is your favorite and putting a whole plate of items in front of her cookies, cakes, cupcakes, jello, and each of them at a dollar, but the cake is at $7.

No one ever asked what the problem with the cake was. Maybe she’s only got $2. In the case of the wine restaurant. It turned out that people like certain types of wines there and the person selling the wine, the sommolier was trying to get them to upgrade wines. They sort of felt like they weren’t getting a good deal.

They’d sit around and wonder how come they’re pushing this other wine when it isn’t nearly as good. The good one is cheaper too. So what is the problem? And how does that show up in a survey? Steve jobs didn’t ask us what we wanted in a phone. When he created the iPhone, he just told us we have a phone that is a browser and a music player, all in one.

The real problem with surveys is what they give you are insights, not understanding. Understanding the customer is absolutely critical. The bar owner didn’t solve the problem. He actually was creating another one. The survey really didn’t help. When you need insights. Of course, survey. When you want to grow your business.

Call us at the Bourquin Group (949) 272-0611. And we’ve been serving California businesses since 1970.