Survey Incentives: What You Need to Know

Survey Incentives: What You Need to Know

Posted by Stephen Spiegel on Nov 22, 2017

Offering an incentive for customer feedback is tricky, but profitable.

Most of us have been asked to take a customer feedback survey, but unless we’re blown away by a service, or angry as a badger, it’s unlikely we’ll justify taking the time to submit to the request. That’s where incentives come in – you scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours.


So, does promising a free gift in exchange for customer feedback really work? The answer is it depends. Like any other tool in your arsenal, improper usage is likely to cause more harm than good. For example, renown throughout the survey-world as, “satisficers,”people who’ve never even used your product might complete the survey just for the reward, which, as you’ve probably deduced, damages accuracy.

The bottom line is: incentives can work, but, if you don’t approach them mindfully, you’re probably going to waste time and resources. Here are 5 things to watch out for when trekking along the incentive path.

5 hidden pitfalls of offering survey incentives 

  1. Neglecting to research. One of the first things you’ll want to identify is exactly who you’re targeting (e.g. existing customers, or potential?), and what types of rewards are most likely to entice them. Also, consider if an incentive is even necessary; in some situations respondents, may benefit personally by providing their input, such as if a restaurant is considering new hours of operation.
  2. Casting too broad of a net. A common mistake is to offer the reward to anyone who takes the survey, which, as you’ve probably guessed, invites those pesky satisficers in to foul things up. If you’d still like an more inclusive survey, consider offering coupons to your business so the reward only has value to those you’re targeting.
  3. Going over budget. This comes into significant play when offering gifts. Setting quotas will not only keep you from overspending, it can prevent angry respondents when you run out of reward resources.
  4. Duplicate respondents. If you offer a valuable incentive, some people might try to collect on it as often as possible. Fortunately, this can be easily remedied by software programed to block repeat respondents.
  5. Offering after instead of before. While it might seem like a bad idea, offering incentives before the survey is completed actually increases responses. It’s a trust factor – respondents don’t know you’re going to deliver until you do, so they’re less likely to donate the time if the reward is pending completion.  

Using the right software

Survey incentives are becoming more and more popular, and with good reason – they get results. But without a carefully thought-out plan, the data you get may just muddy the waters and not provide actionable insights you can use to improve your customer service.

Topics: managed service providers, customer feedback, surveys

Recent Posts

View More