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Dick’s vs. Marriott: Putting Value in Follow-Up Surveys

April 3, 2008

Dick’s Sporting Goods I recently shopped at Dick’s Sporting Goods for some running gear. As a reluctant if cranky retail shopper, the experience was made tolerable by an on-the-ball associate who saw me lusting after the sports watches, actually knew something about them, and coulddick’s coupon answer my questions. As I left, she gave me my receipt and told me if I went to their website and answered their survey, I would get a $10 coupon on my next purchase…which I could apply to that watch if I still wanted it. Like I said, she was pretty sharp.

So I went home and with visions of a new watch dancing in my head I filled out the survey (which took about 10 minutes, maybe less). Sure enough, up popped my coupon, which I printed, and am saving for my next trip to Dick’s.

Compare this experience to a similar online survey I was asked to fill out for a Marriott Courtyard in Milwaukee where I recently stayed. (Marriott almost always sends me one of these surveys.) It took every bit of 10 minutes and I got a ‘thank you’ for it.Marriott Courtyard

I have filled out my last hotel customer experience survey (or anybody else’s) that doesn’t offer me something of tangible value for my time. Though I don’t recommend giving me a discount on future stays (since businesses usually pay the freight and it’s hard to pass coupons on to them), Marriott could have offered:

  • 500 (loyalty) points
  • Free breakfast/lunch/drink at my next stay at the chain
  • Music to download
  • A book about travel
  • Donate something of serious value to the underprivileged.

Just to name a few. And don’t give me a contest to enter.

How hard is this, People? If your customers’ opinions are that important to you, wouldn’t it be worth it to offer something of value in return? In my experience, you don’t usually appreciate the advice you get unless it costs you something anyway. Chances are: Marriott isn’t paying particularly close attention to the surveys.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2008 1:33 pm

    Once a survey is incentivized, I wonder if the value is tarnished because there is an automatic skew toward people who like coupons and away from those who hate coupons — no matter how much value is put on them.

    Was reading an Apple case study recently. Steve Jobs has basically thrown out pre and post product research and surveys as worthless. Of course, his sales pitch is more futuristic.

    I’ve had a few good intentions of feeling out the online surveys to get a discount on my next meal, but never have gotten to it.

  2. davidpleach permalink
    April 10, 2008 2:58 pm

    Mark, I’m not sure about tarnished value and I certainly understand the weakness of coupons: just because I’m proud to have one doesn’t mean I’ll get around to using it. And I have yet to do the survey-for-a-free-meal either.

    BUT…if the value was appealing enough…both of us would. And that’s the catch, isn’t it? We can add all the cool/expensive value we want to a promotion, but if the customer doesn’t see it as a value TO HER, then she doesn’t bite. Perceived value isn’t just about dollars; it’s relative to fulfillment of need.

    Jobs is probably right about SOME surveys. My guess is that the data isn’t usually all that bad. But the information is only as helpful as the vendor chooses to actually do something with it.

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