Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Surveys and Their Discontents

Just this morning, a new survey from San Francisco Symphony popped into my inbox. Even though the email said it would take 20 minutes, I was game.

I got 75% into the survey before I quit. I quite because the survey is focussed on everything except the music. There are approximately ten or so questions asking you about the "experience" you want before, during, and after the concert.

There is absolutely nothing about the music.

Folks, I go to concerts to hear interesting repertory played by good to great performers. That's about it. I don't care about the lectures before or after, I don't care about special food options, I don't care about personalized offerings, I don't care about digital and interactive exhibits in the lobbies (which are so jammed I have no idea where there is room for such exhibits), I don't care about ride shares, I don't care about lounges.

Just give me good programming and performers. That's it.


D. said...

Of course surveys are not about the music. Surveys are about whether the marketing is successful and with whom.

I often wonder who classical music venues think their audience is.

kalimac said...

Hey, I'm an SFS subscriber, but I didn't get a survey.

They could ask me about the music, but their questions would be unlikely to elicit what I really want to tell them about my preferences, which is a mix of music I know and love, music I don't know but would love, and music that will stretch my ears. Too much of any one of these would imbalance.

But I'm interested in the rest of the "experience" too. Everything from parking to the pre-concert talks to the helpfulness of the ticket clerks to how smarmy the e-mails are is of interest to me.

Steve Hicken said...

You don't want much, do you. ;)

kalimac said...

No, I don't want much. I didn't issue a list of demands, after all. But if they're going to ask subscribers their preferences, I'd like to be asked mine. That's what I want.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

I also received the Symphony survey. I disagree with you about the value of surveying the audience on non-musical matters (and there is a note at the beginning that none of the questions will be about repertory), but this survey still struck me as very odd, particularly the interminable section with lists of “enhancements” arbitrarily lumped together in three different groups without even the choice of "these are all bad ideas” - I usually ended up choosing the one whose changes I could most easily ignore. As a result, this survey thinks that I want “communal seating” even though I’m not sure what exactly they mean by that though I am pretty sure it’s something I would run from. And not a single question about start times or ticket costs! Both of those are major factors for me. There were a couple of questions about how much I pay for various live performances, but no follow-up on whether I was interested in continuing to pay that amount or whether I thought it was good value for money.