Want to Increase Response Rate to Surveys? Check-out Dunkin Donuts

Michael Beauchemin —  January 16, 2014

Dunkin Donuts Has Learned How to Increase Response Rate to Surveys, Have You?

They are not good for you: They increase your cholesterol and add weight to your mid-section that most of us are trying to avoid, but we still love them.  What is even better is when you have a source of free donuts.  My source of free donuts – Dunkin Donuts.  Yes, they keep me in my supply of free donuts.  It is not just me, but Customer survey most that shop at a Dunkin Donuts store can benefit from free donuts.  Next time you are in a Dunkin Donuts store take a look at your receipt.  At the bottom is a web address you can visit, fill out a survey and receive a special code that entitles you to a free doughnut on your next visit.

I don’t always complete the survey, but at least once per month, when I have that sweet tooth craving and feel I need a sugar boost in the morning to get me going I’ll complete the survey.  On the rare occasion I have a bad experience or if I have exceptional service I provide immediate feedback to Dunkin Donuts.

What Dunkin Donuts has done right is they provide an incentive for customers to provide feedback whether negative or positive.  The feedback is channeled back to the franchise owner so they can take corrective actions and complete the loop and improve customer service and the performance of the store.

The customer realizes an immediate benefit…a free doughnut.  The cost per completed survey – a free doughnut. An added benefit is the free doughnut gets that customer back in the store and the next purchase most likely will include at least a beverage and other purchases for their children or other family members. So while they give away a free doughnut per survey to complete the survey they capture additional sales with the customer feedback system they have in place.

How often are you sent an email, receive a letter or called to complete a survey?  The company you purchased from, wants you to sacrifice your valuable time in exchange for feedback to help them.  It’s great companies want to be proactive and receive feedback, but when you get several requests per week to complete a survey it becomes disruptive and annoying.

As a marketing company, we are sensitive and want to walk a fine line between reaching out and getting good feedback while respecting and valuing the time of customers.  I firmly believe if a company values my time and feedback, they should recognize and acknowledge the feedback I provide to them and provide something of value in exchange for helping them.

My experience lately has been companies expecting me to provide feedback, because “it will improve my buying experience with them in the future.”  If your response rates are low and you want to increase your response rate to surveys consider implementing some of the following suggestions.

Improve Your Response Rate to Surveys

Provide something of immediate value to the customer. If you deliver something of immediate value to a customer, your response rate will increase. Customers will be willing to take the time to fill out your survey and provide feedback if the perceived value of your gift is greater than the value they place on their time.

Contests can work, but only if the chances of winning are not perceived to be as slim as winning the lottery. Home Depot runs a contest for customers to enter, in exchange for filling out a survey. Very rarely do I bother taking the time to go on-line and provide them with feedback. I realize that the likelihood I will win a $5,000 gift card to Home Depot is about as likely as winning the lottery. If that is the case, then why bother spending my valuable time filling out their survey.

If your customers perceive the odds of winning are slim to none, why would they be interested in participating? The goal, is to get meaningful feedback you can use to improve your process, delivery of service, customer satisfaction and create loyalty. Home Depot would be better served if they decreased the pool of contestants to each specific store and maybe gave away a $100 gift certificate every other week. Is $2,600 for each Home Depot store really going to impact margins? Additionally, if I received a $100 gift card, my spend would probably be a few hundred dollars additional to the $100 gift card.

Don’t be an annoyance. There is nothing worse than being asked for feedback with no recognition of the value of my time. In the past Hilton has requested I complete a survey after a stay at one of its Hotels. There is no offer to compensate me for my time in exchange for providing them feedback.  What’s worse is they send out multiple emails to the point of just ticking me off.

Like everything else in business, your customers want to know the W.I.I.F.M. (What’s In It For Me). Is Hilton hurting so badly, they can’t offer a few thousand Hilton Points or at least run a contest for a free weekend getaway? The response rate would improve and the annoyance factor would decrease. 

Your customer’s feedback is invaluable for improving customer service, your process, your products or services.  Obtaining that feedback, should not be taken for granted.  Recognize the value of your customers’ time and reward them for taking that time to provide you with their feedback. Like building your database, you will not be successful if you have a do it for me sales attitude.

Your value or reward to them can be a free coupon like Dunkin Donuts, a contest they feel they have a valid chance to win, a VIP pass, additional customer loyalty points or any other reward that recognizes the value you place on receiving their feedback and the time they set aside to help you improve your business.

We’d love to hear from you.  Add a comment below and share with others how you reward your customers for providing you feedback or completing customer surveys.

Michael Beauchemin

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Certified Inbound Marketing Consultant committed to helping businesses grow sales through measurable, accountable marketing metrics.
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