According to Peter Drucker, guru of business management, the fax machine is a prime example of the influential power in our questioning techniques.
Before the fax machine came to market, U.S. manufacturers conducted market research asking, "Would you buy a telephone accessory for upwards of $1,500 that enables you to send, for $1 a page, the same letter the post office delivers for 25 cents?" You guessed it; the answers were no and U.S. manufacturers did not pursue the fax machine.
On the other hand, as Drucker pointed out, Japanese manufacturers asked a more straightforward question: “Is there a market for what the fax machine does?" And they realized fax machines could replace courier services like FedEx in the 70s. As a result of asking the right question, Japanese manufacturers were first to market and more dominant in fax machines than U.S. companies in the 80s and 90s. It was too late for many U.S. companies to follow suit.
Collecting feedback from our customers is beneficial, but only if we phrase our questions in such a way that allows them to be honest and think for themselves. If we are going to take the time to survey people, make it worthwhile. Prepare ahead of time, keep it straightforward, and take the bad with the good – because it all helps to better your business.