Actually, there's no competition between the two. It's a matter of degree, not substance. Asking questions is necessary. But context is all important, especially where you believe building a relationship is relevant to intelligent response.
But here's the real question:
How to become more effective, more consistent and more organised, especially when engaging with multiple stakeholders over a period of time, in numerous stages?
Remember your challenge is not to create a survey.
Surveys are a response mechanism; they are not the problem-solving process itself.
Your challenge is to get informed, meaningful results from participants who trust your sincerity and intentions. And who believe that investing their time in helping you will be appreciated, acknowledged and be worthwhile.
Consultation is better
Here's a clear definition of consultation:
Consultation is a dynamic process of interaction between individuals or groups, characterised by a desire to genuinely share information, with the objective of enabling participants to influence decisions related to products, policy, plans or programmes of action.
So, Consultation uses surveys (and Forums too) because questions need to be asked. But it also does much more and is more appropriate when deliberation is sought, so that policy or plans can be evidence-led and come from informed participants.
The good news is that eNgageSpace empowers you to do both - extremely well!
But also see this link because neither surveys nor consultation exists in a vacuum. Management is required.